AFL Round 17 – GWS Giants v Essendon: Dons do enough in enemy territory

It’s a Saturday afternoon and it’s ten past two, and you wouldn’t believe it, a footy match is about to start.  I can remember going to the footy with my parents many years ago, six games were played at this time every Saturday afternoon and all the games were completed before five o’clock.

A bit of a difference today though, The Dons are playing this new Sydney club called Greater Western Sydney Skoda Mountain Shark Giants or something like that, at the Sydney Showgrounds. GWSSMSG hasn’t had a lot of success this season, as a matter of fact they have had none, they are sitting winless at the bottom of the ladder. Essendon are third and despite a few problems with allegedly taking too many Asprins last year, are having the best season for about ten years.

I haven’t heard of most of the Sydney players before, I do remember they got a bloke from Melbourne for a truckload of money for this season and it was reported his “old man” got a job with the club too! What I do like about them is that some of their players have great numbers on their backs. There’s 50 on the back of Brogan and 51 on Williams. The Dons have some goodies too, Dell’Olio back for his first game this year is 47, Baguley 46 and one of my favourites Nathan Lovett-Murray is 42.

It’s a beautiful day in Tinsel Town for the game according to ABC Radio, down here in “sunny” Melbourne it’s about 7c and its been raining heavily all day, great for listening to the match at home on the couch.

The game starts, and even though GWSSMSG seem to be playing with more intensity than The Dons, we get the first goal through Kommer within three minutes. It’s a bit of a goal fest, both sides play attacking footy. Brogan and Williames, the lads with high numbers are in everything. Ever young Dustin Fletcher unloads a torpedo “bomb” from the centre and Dell’Olio finishes it off with a goal.  Hurley is having a shocker and cleans up his team mate Melsham just before quarter time.  The Sydney side deserve their lead of a couple of points at quarter time, I reckon it should be a bit more.

Obviously Sir James Hird is not happy with the team, he gives them a proper talking too at the break. The Dons have a lot of under performers today, Hurley, Goddard, Ryder, Crameri and Bellchambers to name a few have not done a great deal this afternoon. GWSSMSG are hassling and harassing and more than matching the Dons who are playing “too cute” and only seem take the game seriously when they feel they have too.  GWSSMSG are playing “slingshot footy”, according to the commentators, what ever that means, but they are still right in the game. Essendon with at least half a dozen missing are up by twelve points at half time.

The crowd has swelled to about seven thousand after the break at the Sydney Showgrounds, and commentators are suggesting it could be early comers for the Man. United v A League All Stars, next door. This new Sydney team has had a struggle to attract interest, I guess it would be a bit like setting up a Rugby League team in Geelong.  But back to the game, the Dons seem to be more focused and none more the Colyer, Melksham who has recovered from some friendly fire, Stanton and Dell’Olio. The Sydney based radio commentators seem to have trouble recognising Essendon players, and they may have a point, this young side north of the Murray are giving their all early in the quarter. Cameron seems to be having the better of Jake Carlisle, even stealing the footy from his boot for a goal.  Suddenly the Dons hit their straps and Hurley manages a major, Colyer and Jetta score majors and I’m feeling better. One person who isn’t feeling happy is Goddard. He never looks overjoyed at the best of times but today he must have taken an overdose of angry pills before the game, and today he is having a shocker. Somehow Essendon are up by thirty-four points at three quarter time.

Melksham creates a great goal to start the last quarter, but Cameron who has been a thorn for the Dons scores another, then misses an easier shot. Myers blasts a sixty metre bomb for The Dons. He has an amazing kick.  From a couple of steps he boots it a mile. The crowd has made it to about ten thousand and the ABC commentators are “over the moon” with all the people at the ground. GWSSMSG squander a number of easy shots while Essendon is far more accurate. Even Goddard manages a goal, I wonder if he smiled? GWSSMSG have nine scoring shots for two goals seven to Essendon’s six shots, for four goals two.  The final quarter staggers on until the siren eases my pain, Essendon by thirty-nine points, if GWSSMSG had been more accurate it could have been closer. A pretty disappointing game for this tragic Don.

Final Scores Essendon 18.8 (116) GWSSMSG 11.11 (77)


Goals    Essendon Colyer 4 Stanton 2 Melsham 2 Hurley 2 Goddard Dell’Olio Hooker Myers Kommer O’Brien Bellchambers


Greater Western Sydney etc etc   Cameron 4 Giles 4 Tomlinson Treloar Whitfield


Best       Essendon Colyer, Melksham, Stanton, Fletcher, Bageley, Myers, Hibbert, Dell’Olio


Greater Western Sydney etc  etc.  Adams Cameron, Giles, Williams, Brogan, Shiel, Bugg.


Votes    Colyer 3    Melksham 2 Adams 1



Rod Oaten.

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