AFL Round 17 – Essendon v Collingwood: Just Another Game

 

On Sunday afternoon, in the blazing winter sun, two groups of supporters gathered at the MCG for the match of the day. One group of fans felt that the league bosses, 17 other groups of supporters, the media and pretty much the whole world were against them. The other group were Collingwood supporters.

As all fans took their seats, the Pies prepared to run through the banner. On entering the stadium, the players seemed surprised.

 

“Mate. I thought we were playing the Bombers? We get a crowd this size for Freo games”

“Tell me about it. And I read there is a spot in the finals at stake”

“Which finals? Top 4 finals or the bottom of the 8 finals?”

“Bottom of the 8”

“Can we make top four?”

“Nah”

“Well bottom of the 8 doesn’t mean anything. That just means we get another game at the G. Another game in front of a big crowd. We get those every week. We’re Collingwood after all. If it ain’t top 4, I’m not interested”

“Yeah you’re right. I think I heard Ed tell Bucks the same thing. Save Keefe for another time he reckons”

 

Plainly, a big game at the G just isn’t doing it for the Pies at the moment. With Watson, Goddard and Hibberd out and a history of letdowns after big wins, the Dons were there for the taking. Fortunately, a finals appearance that may have been passe at another place and another time is now worth considering.

Given that the Dons haven’t won a final since 2004 and were thumped in Elimination Finals in ’09 & ’11, you can’t help yearning for what was once a matter of course1.

This was an encouraging win for a team that regularly comes up short against the Pies. Usually it’s Pendlebury, but if it’s not him it’s Swan, if it’s not him it’s Beams, if it’s not him it’s Sidebottom. Cloke can be a bit hit and miss mind you. Even though Elliott was missing, I can’t say I thought we would win. I’ve seen more black and white excitement than a Herald Sun subscriber.

But let’s face it, the Pies weren’t up for it. Whether it was a one-off or whether it continues is for Pies fans to worry about. We’ve got our own stuff going on.

The Essendon players can only be praised for keeping their heads in Kipling fashion. For all the talk of Carlisle (and he was magnificently sticky), it should be noted that Stanton took the captain’s armband and delivered. The acquisition of Goddard, as well as the development of Zaharakis and Heppell have allowed Stanton to be the 4th or 5th banana he always should have been, but he stepped up when he needed to on Sunday. For a player that was derided for his Anzac Day game of 2011, I’d hope that this performance would bring him great satisfaction.

Who knows? Maybe he’ll ‘earn’ the number 5 after all? I think he will. I think he has.

My only pre-game prediction that actually came to pass was that Chapman would have a big one. I figured he was due. I was right. IF we do make September, and he does kick a few, then that pick 84 and ashtray cash will be more than truly worth it. Whether we also roll the Crows in the ‘most shameless embracing of a free agent award’ is admittedly still up for grabs, but I reckon we’re a shot. CHAPPPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

With the seagulls circling with Heppell-esque delicacy, the match became a rout. Though turnovers were consistent throughout the day, it was only Essendon that seemed bothered to clean them up.

As the lights took over, a group of elderly Pies fans sitting a bit further down from me walked out in disgust. They remarked to the person sitting behind them that they were leaving because of his ‘language’. They seemed dyed-in-the-wool fans to me. I can only assume they wore ear muffs to Victoria Park back in the day.

I think they left early because they were getting a 10 goal hiding…..and that it was just another game after all.

 

Final Score:

Essendon: I stopped counting

Collingwood: I stopped caring

My votes: Carlisle 3, Stanton 2, Heppell 1, CHAPPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEE

 

1 And did I mention a whole summer of hearing Blues fans say that they ‘finished SIXTH last year’? (Mind you, it makes their drop this year so utterly delightful, 6th to 14th….6th to 15th??)

About Andrew Else

Andrew has self-reported to this site as a lifetime Essendon supporter. He also played local footy for Lara and Melbourne Uni Blacks.

Comments

  1. Dear Andrew,
    I would greatly appreciate it if you could ask your players and the team’s style of play to stop being so attractive and likeable.
    They are undermining the narrative and making me ask difficult questions about what I love in footy.
    Regards,
    PB
    PS – Articles like this are very distressing to Peter Flynn’s dog. CHAPPPPEEEEEEEEEE…..indeed.

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