AFL Round 18 – Essendon v Hawthorn: Buddy Hell

In a One-Versus-Two, ‘Top-of-the-Table’ clash, it’s a depressing realisation to know that your team is completely and utterly rooted at quarter-time.

And it’s even more depressing to know that it’s mostly because of one player.

‘Buddy’ Franklin – as is his wont – beats up on Essendon for fun.

It all started in 2007, where he racked up 18 touches and 9 goals.

The following year, he decided he really liked those figures. 18 more touches, and 9 more goals was again the result. He even threw in Goal-of-the-Year twice for good measure. Cale Hooker probably still has nightmares about chasing Franklin down the MCG wing.

2010 brought about 26 touches and 5 goals. And another 5 goals in the return clash. Because really, why not?

Somehow the footballing gods saw him sit out Essendon clashes in the past two seasons.

Small mercies are much appreciated.

This brings us to Round 18.

Returning to the line-up after two weeks off through injury, every single Essendon supporter was hoping that he might be a bit rusty, that he might ease back into proceedings.

Maybe – we thought – just maybe, his influence would be completely negated. Heck, we have Jake Carlisle and Cale Hooker in the side – two of the better performed key defenders in the competition.

Others though that with any luck, the return of Howlett, Zaharakis and Hocking would mean that Sam Mitchell & Co. wouldn’t get enough of the ball for Buddy to kick a bag.

Only problem was, no-one told Lance about those possibilities.

The quarter-time siren rung with Buddy already dobbing three majors.

He slowed in the second and third quarters (with just one goal in each), as he let Roughead slot a few to maintain his lead in the Coleman.

With the game out of Essendon’s reach at three-quarter time, Buddy decided to start taking the piss.

Three more goals followed – with the main interest on whether Buddy could reach double figures.

Time ran out – thank Christ – but not before he’d amassed 19 touches, 6 marks and 8 goals 3.

Finding too much space on the lead, too agile when the ball hit the ground, and too clinical in his finishes, Franklin did pretty much as he pleased.

Mitchell (31 touches), Hodge (30 touches & 12 marks), and Lewis (21 touches, 5 tackles and 2 goals) had reason to be miffed. Their quality performances were largely overlooked thanks to the Buddy Show.

Along with their team-mates, they shut down space in the middle and prevented Essendon’s run off half-back.

Plan B was non-existent.

Goddard, Heppell and Melksham tried hard to fight the flood of Hawthorn goals, and Hurley tried to have an impact up forward – bagging three majors.

It’s not good signs for the finals.

Three times we’ve come up against ‘flag-fancies’. Three times Essendon has fallen well short.


Jobe is back soon.

And Hird seems hell-bent on solidly sticking the finger middle up to all his detractors by leading Essendon to victory.

Maybe we’ll be OK.

Just so long as we knee-cap Buddy next time we play Hawthorn.

Essendon: 4.3.27; 5.4.34; 9.6.60; 13.9.87

Hawthorn: 6.1.37; 10.6.66; 16.10.106; 22.11.143


Essendon: Hurley 3, Bellchambers 2, Myers, Ryder, Stanton, Colyer, Dell’Olio, Goddard, Kommer, Jetta

Hawthorn: Franklin 8, Roughead 4, Lewis 2, Puopulo 2, Gunston 2, Breust 2, Rioli, Hale


Essendon: Heppell, Melksham, Goddard, Hurley

Hawthorn: Franklin, Mitchell, Hodge, Roughead, Lewis, Puopulo

Votes: Franklin (3), Hodge (2), Mitchell (1)

About Sam Laffy

Thirty-something year-old Essendon supporter. Winning the flag in 2000 when I was 12 was supposed to kick off a dynasty I could boast about for years. Still waiting for that 17th flag.....

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