AFL Round 12: Essendon v Melbourne: It was worth it to see Jurrah make debut

By Steve Healy

There aren’t many good things about the second week of the split round. No Saturday afternoon footy is the main worry. But it wasn’t worrying me when I came home from school on Friday. I was confident that Melbourne could give the Bombers a shake and Jurrah would star on debut. If only it were that simple. That is the sort of stuff I tell my friends at school during the week. I love going to the footy on Friday night. For me, it beats going to the footy on Sunday afternoon any day.
The Demons ran out on to the ground in their white guernseys for the first time ever. I know that arguing about clash jumpers is a pointless exercise, but what ever happened to the days when Melbourne could play Essendon in their normal strip? No.48 Liam Jurrah ran out on to the turf and started on the bench with Jack Watts. Just for the record, he is the third debutant this year to wear No.48, after Greg Broughton and Adam Cockie.
Like a lot of Melbourne games this year, there wasn’t a score in the first 5-6 minutes. Essendon defender Cale Hooker kicked the first of the game, and his first for his career, at the six-minute mark. Lloyd got a goal from a free kick and the Bombers had two on the board.
The ball went down Melbourne’s end and Jurrah picked up a loose ball at half-forward. With lightning pace, he ran to 45 and kicked a goal! No, touched on the line by Dustin Fletcher.
For the second week in a row, Cameron Bruce kicked our first goal for the game. Matthew Bate kicked one from a set shot after the Bombers had opened up a 23-point lead. A few Essendon supporters around me were calling him “The Ranga”. I’ve never been a fan of Bate. Too slow, too sloppy, and he can’t hold a mark. When he is the club’s leading goalkicker, it is a reality check of where our forward line is at. Lloyd kicked three for the quarter (albeit from a couple of turnovers and a soft free kick) and the Bombers led easily at quarter-time.
There was a man sitting next to me, who seemed to be a Melbourne supporter but wasn’t wearing team colours, but he could have easily been a neutral supporter. He was bald and in his forties. He was with a group of half a dozen guys who drank about 48 beers (12 trays) for the night. We discussed certain things like umpiring and empty forward lines during the game. The Demons came back in the second quarter but then faded.
Jurrah kicked a goal which was the most incredible first goal you have ever seen, a high fly that was dropped and then kicking the goal from on the ground. That put me on my feet.
The Bombers led by 16 points at half-time, and the margin only got bigger throughout the second half. James Frawley kept Lloyd quiet but it was our forward line that was really struggling. Jack Watts kicked his first career goal earlier but he just needs to work on endeavour for the ball. Robbo kicked our only goal in the third quarter and the margin was 58 points at the last break. It would be sad to see a huge loss after an OK first half effort. I pointed out to my brother that Heath Ryan umpires Melbourne games too often. The No.14 midget, who gave Essendon most of their 27 frees (Melbourne had 12).
The Demons strung a few together at the start of the last quarter. “Only nine more,” said one of the half-dozen next to me. “Only eight more,” came two minutes later. “Only seven more …”
It stopped there. Essendon won by 48 points.
I came home on a packed train and noticed that a lot of Melbourne supporters were standing around me. Very strange.
And why do we always get Heath Ryan?

Essendon 6.3 10.7 17.13 19.17 (131)
Melbourne 3.2 8.3 9.3 13.5 (83)

Essendon: Lloyd 3, Lucas 3, Skipworth 2, Monfries 2, McVeigh 2, Lonergan 2, Davey 2, Watson, Winderlich, Hooker.
Melbourne: Bate 2, Watts 2, Robertson 2, Miller 2, Jurrah, Martin, Bruce, Jetta, Grimes.
Essendon: Watson, Monfries, Prismall, Winderlich, Ryder, Skipworth, Lucas, Lonergan.
Melbourne: Moloney, Green, Davey, Bruce, McLean, Sylvia.
Umpires: James, McLaren, Heath Ryan.                Crowd: 45,740 at Docklands.
My Votes: Watson (E) 3, Monfries (E) 2, Prismall (E) 1.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.


  1. forget Watts (for a few years), Jurrah looked like a real beauty. The way he played reminded me a bit of James Hird – clean, no fuss, calm. If the Dees get sick of him send him to Geelong. Either that or we’ll get him off 7 metres at Stawell and clean out the bookies.

  2. johnharms says


    Keep me in the know there.

    I have seen a little desert footy – great to watch. And you can tell from that performance that Liam Jurrah comes straight out of that tradition. Everything is about getting the footy, and then showing what you can do with it. Superb athleticism, great affinity with the footy, good kicking and handballing skills.

    I love how on Friday night his object was the football itself in every contest. Pure. Unaffected. If you look at a slo-mo of the goal he kicked, he would have taken that mark (a screamer) had Dempsey? not spoiled, yet he still had the ball sense to find the crumb and kick the goal.


Leave a Comment