AFL Round 2 – Essendon v Melbourne: A comedic adventure in football

It was revealed in the Melbourne dailies in the days prior to this clash that the Dees have won just 7 of their last 64 games against other Victorian sides: Four of them against Richmond, and their last three on the trot against Essendon.

Last year’s loss to Melbourne was a horrible turning point in our season, with the six-point loss kick-starting a slide down the ladder from 2nd position with an 8-1 record, to 11th and 11-11.

That night I watched the first half of the game before heading out into the city for a friend’s party. With just 2.9 on the board at the long break the signs weren’t good, and whilst drinking $8.50 schooners of Carlton Draught frequent score checks on my phone indicated that my half-time fears of a loss had come to fruition. I’m still undecided whether the drink prices or the result made me more upset.

Fast forward to Round 2 of 2013 and pre-game I’m confident.  Week one of action saw a gritty 35-point win over Adelaide – a sign of the boys putting the tumultuous off-season behind them perhaps. Or maybe we’re just taking the proper Peptides this year.

It’s off to the Comedy Festival tonight however, so the viewing experience will once again be via score updates. The Victoria Hotel is playing host to ‘Set List – Comedy Without A Safety Net’. Comedians improvise 10-minute sets of comedy based on a series of prompts that are delivered to the performers and audience simultaneously. Its real sink-or-swim stuff, a far cry from the scripted routines we’re used to.

When compared with the plight of Melbourne in Round 1, there’s a distinct similarity. The idea of going ‘without script’ mirrors the Dee’s 79-point capitulation at the hands of Port Adelaide. When you watch a quality side play there’s the feeling of 22 individuals acting out a series of finely-tuned scenes. Each player keenly aware of their role and their place; set-plays rehearsed endlessly to ensure a positive result. Melbourne is a different story.  Their efforts resemble a bad sketch comedy outfit, 22 individuals desperately hoping their efforts produce a cohesive, effective performance.

Pre-show dinner and drinks at the European Bier Café featured two score checks. The first – halfway through my second pint of Erdinger Weisbier (a quality German drop) – removes any chance of another dismal loss to Melbourne with a scoreline of 51-19 in Essendon’s favour. An indication that the Bombers more-fancied midfield is on top.

Just prior to heading down Little Collins Street to the Victoria Hotel the second check occurs. As we head out the door I glimpse the opening score of the third quarter. A goal to the Bombers puts us up 90-29. Looks like it will be another long night for Melbourne supporters. A 15-minute sojourn in the upstairs bar saw a pricy schooner of Fat Yak consumed whilst watching Essendon streak to a massive lead nearing three-quarter time. Bombers midfielders streamed into space unchallenged and bombed the ball long to invigorated forwards, their Melbourne opponents unwilling or unable to chase.

Taking our seats at Vic’s Bar, a high-quality sextet of comedians put their skills to the test, and Wil Anderson, Celia Pacquola, Ronny Chieng, Felicity Ward, Matt Okine, and Simon Munnery don’t disappoint. It’s a fascinating thing to watch; comedic gears whirring frantically as the performers scamper to create humour based on helpful topics such as ‘Shower Coach’, ‘My Password: Racist3’, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Golf, Jesus’, and ‘Gay Time of the Month’. It’s a recipe for rambling, vaguely-connected, mostly-offensive, hit-and-miss stories. More often than not though, the performers hit their straps and deliver non-stop laughter. Considering it’s how they make a living, the hilarity shouldn’t come as a surprise.

A check of the final scores upon leaving the venue confirms that perhaps some of Melbourne’s players might be forced to find new modes of employment in the near future. 28.16.184 to 5.6.36. Skimming through reports upon getting home it was apparent that apart from some brief moments of magic from Aaron Davey that the Dees struggled horribly. The ladder positions made for stark reading. Essendon on top, 2-0, a percentage of 255.08. Melbourne dead last, 0-2, percentage of 28.39.

Seems as though Melbourne’s script-writers have once again gone missing. For their sake, I hope they turn up soon.

Essendon:  6.2.38; 13.6.84; 21.11.137; 28.16.184

Melbourne:  2.1.13; 4.5.29; 5.5.35; 5.6.36

Essendon Goals: Crameri 6, Bellchambers 4, Watson 3, Davey 2, Howlett 2, Stanton 2, Heppell 2, Merrett 2, Hurley 2, Goddard, Dempsey, Ryder

Best: Watson, Heppell, Crameri, Fletcher, Zaharakis

Melbourne Goals: Davey 2, Grimes, Clark, Jones

Best: Jones, Frawley

Votes: Watson (3), Heppell (2), Crameri (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.....


  1. Western Parks man of mystery says

    That was a good read. Keep up the good work Sam.

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