AFL Round 11 – Essendon v Richmond: Dreamtime at the G

Dreamtime at the “G”


It’s always very special to go to this game and celebrate the fantastic contribution of our Indigenous Brothers to footy. This year being the tenth anniversary of the Michael Long Walk made it even more special.


I am old enough to remember the great Norm McDonald playing for the Dons in the late forties and early fifties. Many years later Michael Long and Gavin Wanganeen set the Dons on fire.  Over the years Kevin Sheedy brought many indigenous champions to the club and I for one loved the way they played. Today it’s Courtney Dempsey and Paddy Ryder who continue this tradition in the “Ones”.


I got to the ground and saw the last ten minutes of the Aaron Davey Squad play the David Rodan Squad. What a fantastic game it was, less than a kick in it until the Rodan Squad got a goal with less than a minute to go and got another right on the siren to win by eleven points. This was followed by the Welcome to Wurundjeri country, a moving ceremony in the semi darkness of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.


I should have gone home then, because that was the most exciting thing that happened for the night.


Ball to be bounced at quarter to eight, yes quarter to eight, almost my bedtime. And I feel a few felt the same way, only about seventy four thousand at the game, I reckon that’s down about ten thousand for this special game. Lets hope some sanity prevails at the AFL next year with the fixture.


When the game eventually starts it’s obvious lateness doesn’t affect the ageless Dustin Fletcher, who receives a pass on the outer wing and bangs a goal through from outside fifty, within sixty seconds of the bounce. And from then on it got worse for Richmond.


Essendon had winners all over the ground, they were always there to back up, shepherd, and receive a hand or foot pass. The other rabble, and that’s putting it kindly, were insipid. At times it reminded me of last year’s game against Melbourne when Essendon completed a number of training drills to win by a bucket load of goals. Last year I almost felt sorry for Melbourne, but there is no sympathy for Richmond tonight. They were as bad as Melbourne were last year. No, I reckon they were worse.


There were a couple of high/lowlights for me on the night. With seconds to go before half time, after yet another Richmond turn over, Joey Daniher picked up the loose ball and from outside fifty launched a goal one second before the siren to stretch the lead to thirty nine at the big break.  The other, in the early stages of the third quarter was a “ripper”. A Richmond defender, Alex Rance, got a free kick deep in the Essendon forward zone and dribbled it to Ben Howlett in the goal square, who must have been in a state of shock, but nonetheless picked it up and kicked his third goal. You couldn’t blame the colour of the jumpers for this huge clanger either, Richmond jumpers looked as if they had been left on the clothesline and had faded badly, the Dons were resplendent in black and red, a beautiful combination.


The further the game went on, the further the Dons dominated. Jake Carlisle found a bit of form, Joey Daniher got a few kicks, Courtney Dempsey showed his old dash and the regulars like Dustin Fletcher, Brendon Goddard, Jobe Watson, Ben Howlett, David Zaharakis , Dyson Heppell and the other fourteen were  winning the ball with monotonous regularity.


What must Richmond supporters think of their team? I could only pick a few players who were up to playing at the AFL level. It made The Dons look so good, but it’s because Richmond were so bad that I’m not getting carried away. At the back of my mind is this awful drugs saga. I am sick of so-called expert commentators saying Essendon should have the results by the end of the week/month/year. This has been dragging on for so long, if it’s bad for Don Tragics like me, what must it be like for the players and their families?


Final Scores
Essendon   15.14 104

Richmond    7.12    54

Goals                 Essendon  Howlett 5, Daniher3, Merrett2, Fletcher(what a start to the game) Heppell, Hibberd, Chapman, Bellchambers

Richmond. Riewoldt 3 (and not a favourite with the crowd) Martin 2,Edwards, Cotchin.

Best Players     Essendon  Howlett ,Goddard, Watson, Fletcher, Hocking, Zaharakis, Hooker, Baguley  Hibberd, and apologies to the rest of the twenty two.

Richmond. Martin, Cotchin(loved his long sleeves) Jackson.

Man of the match. Brendon Goddard, I would have given it to Ben Howlett.

Crowd 73,664 at the MCG.


Rod Oaten


  1. Rod, yes , what must Tiger fans think of their side. As a kid i was in awe of the great Richmond sides from 1967-1980, with another GF appearance in 1982. Since then only three finals appearances in three decades. Everytime they make the finals, 1995, 2001, 2013, their supporters must feel it’s the start of a new era, then reality sinks in as they miss the finals the following year(s). Do they blame Hardwick,do they cull the list, serioulsy it’s a quandry what they can do to get beyond the predicament they’re in. I watched the match on Saturday, their decision making, their kicking for goal, their general cohesion was poor. Thank goodness i don’t barrack for them, but their demise since the early 1980’s is an intriguing event.


  2. Rod

    Fair call all round. Completely pathetic performace from the Tigers.

    If there’s been a worse quarter of football played than the first by Shaun Hampson, I am glad I haven’t seen it as he was unbelievably awful.

    We can’t chase, can’t tackle and can’t kick.

    When Houli and Ellis did hard work to get the ball, avoided tackles and looked to the forward line, they saw nothing.

    If this impacts Hardwick, that woudl be a travesty, as he’s about teh best thing we have. To be honest, if he’d put on teh boots, he’d have outplayed many on our side. Season well and truly finished, let’s look agressively at free agents coming available.

    Essendon played well, not brilliantly, but very well, and were kind to us in that they didn’t flog us by 15 goals. How we got within 50 staggers me


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