AFL Round 20 – Essendon v West Coast: A day at the footy

The footy is always fun. That’s what it’s always been, even when I was five and we were bottom. You’d go, have a fun time and if you won well done and if you lost bad luck. Now it’s different. Essendon has had a very tough time especially James Hird who I admire. The headlines really annoy me and I don’t read them anymore. Still, life goes on and I was looking forward to the footy today with my dad, my brother and some of my dad’s friends.

My dad’s friends gave us a lift up to the footy, which was great and got us out of the hassles of public transport (since I went to London in the school holidays, public transport has never been the same!). It was great to catch up with them because I hadn’t seen them in a while. Both are avid Essendon fans, which made the conversation topic easy to pick. Cricket, especially the DRS! England and today’s game was the main topics of conversations. We parked in Crown Casino and went past the pokies and the food court (again, England has changed my perspective. Harrods!). We walked past Southern Cross Station and down the walkway leading to Etihad Stadium. That is one of my favourite bits of the football. I brought a record, which is a tradition for me. We went past the bagpipe player and struggled to find our way through the sea of red that was trying to get into Etihad. Wound our way up the ramps and got to our seat, which as it turned out was on level two and straight ahead of the goals, had cushions on it and also above the Eagles’ cheer squad. They were small, but they were very loud and the chant, “ Eagles, Eagles” was loud and clear.

For the day, I had bought out my Essendon scarf and my old VFL Guernsey, which is getting a bit small  (so I am trying to convince my dad to buy me a new one). I pigged out on the food we brought to the game, which my mum had prepared early, and then I was ready to see a good match.

The first quarter was very even. Eagles kicked the first two and their cheer squad was going berserk. Winderlich kicked one and everyone went wild. Then the teams traded back and forth the lead until quarter time when the Eagles were winning by two. Two instances of the AFL’s DRS were used and I was annoyed. Sometimes, there can be too much technology in sport and you just listen to the umpire’s decision and get on with it. I was optimistic going into the second quarter.

The second quarter was very similar to the first. Winderlich got subbed with an injury. So that was Dempsey, Crameri, Hurley and now Winderlich out. That is not good especially since we are now guaranteed in the finals. The margin was only two points at half time as Essendon was facing West Coast and their own minds.  I expected to blow away the Eagles in the third quarter so I was happy.

The third quarter then turned out completely the way I didn’t expect. We crashed. The Eagles started to run riot and we couldn’t take a mark inside fifty. Davey handballed it into the goal, Gumbleton missed a sitter. The margin was four goals and I still thought we could win it.

The last quarter was a whitewash. We kicked the first goal and I thought we were going to come back and then we didn’t kick another one. Our defence had been superb and then it cracked. Eagles kicked open goals, the ball flew through the air towards me and I touched the famed sherrin. My fingertips grasped it and then it dropped. My right hand has been blessed – first time I’ve touched the ‘real’ thing!

So my day at the footy ended. We didn’t get to wave our scarves. Even though we lost, I had a good and fun day. That is what footy should be about. Take the politics out of the game and make it fun. That is what footy should be.


ESSENDON        3.3   6.7      8.13     9.13     (67)
WEST COAST     3.6   6.9    12.10   18.12   (120)


Essendon: Goddard 3, Winderlich 2, Kommer, Bellchambers, Hooker, Baguley
West Coast: LeCras 5, Hill 2, Wellingham 2, Darling 2, Dalziell 2, Schofield, Priddis, Kennedy, Gaff, Cripps




West Coast: LeCras, Priddis, Wellingham, Cox, Darling


Essendon: Goddard, Baguley, Hardingham, Stanton, and Watson

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