AFL Round 22: Bombers charge down home straight towards the finals

So it all comes down to this. We must beat last year’s premiers to make the eight. Them or  us. Desperation is the name of today’s game.

The Bombers have made hard work of trying to make the finals. Winning thrillers against top teams but failing to consolidate against lower placed teams has placed us in this precarious situation.

Fittingly I’m going to the game with a friend, Bomber Peter. We haven’t been to the footy together since the eighties. Back then our Bomber group used to travel from Shepparton  to Windy Hill every second week for home games. We rejoiced in premiership glories and recovered from gut-wrenching losses together.

Life can be lived in a football time warp. Here we are again – playing Hawthorn for sheep stations.

The ground looks a touch greasy. Some players  slip and find it hard to bounce the ball  Cyril Rioli isn’t bothered by it . What a stunning player he is. Give him a paddock and he’ll put on a display. Give him a tight space and he’ll dazzle his way out of it. I wonder why we didn’t recruit him and then why someone isn’t wearing him like a skin today.

Jobe Watson is struggling. He can’t run and tackle. His ankle  is obviously a concern.

When the Hawks get the ball they pass well and are direct. Their skills are good. At quarter time they are ahead 4.5 to us 3.3

They go further ahead in the second quarter. When we score behinds they move the ball down and kick goals.

The Bomber fans express themselves.   When Stanton kicks another behind, “Why are you wearing number five?”  When McPhee fumbles “Get him off” I wonder who we have that is better and fit enough to bring on. Both teams are showing the effects of a long season.

At half time  the Hawks are 9.7 and we are 5.9. We agree that Lloydy needs to lift and do something in the second half. Do something he did – but it wasn’t scoring goals. He steamrolled Brad Sewell, knocking him out. Tempers flare on the ground and supporters are stirred off it.

Incidents like that can change the momentum of a game.

I hope that we will settle and it might be them who lose the plot.

Having lost a ruckman, Max Bailey, early in the game, the Hawks are now two men down. The Bombers had to start running.

We awake from our slumber and start scoring goals.  At three quarter time we are down by five points . Hawthorn 11.12 to the Bombers 10.13. Close enough. We are still in it.

Michael Hurley is superb in the second half, scoring four wonderful goals. Each time he does Bomber Peter declares that Hurley “has a football brain!” and  hopes that others in our team might observe that closely.

Because I am sitting with someone more stressed than myself I actually feel relaxed. Everything is relative they say. Peter’s daughter Alex shares his intensity.

When the Bombers hit the front they are like horses heading for home. Nothing is going to stop them charging towards the finals now. What a great experience that will be for our young players.

When the siren sounds we  sing our song and wave our scarves. Jobe Watson looks so exhausted he can hardly walk onto the ground. The excitement of being in a final will help him recover this week.

Essendon 16.20 116 defeat Hawthorn 14.15 99

After the game I meet up with my Richmond friend Patti and amidst the post-game excitement  I reflect on our poor kicking skills in the first half.

“Gosh, your skills are still much better than what I’m used to seeing with the Tigers,” she comments.

My Best”

Essendon: Hurley, Fletcher, Lovett-Murray.

Hawthorn:  Rioli, Mitchell, Bateman.


  1. Peter Schumacher says

    I wouldn’t write off Essendon this week either, no one expects them to win, Adelaide will have heaps of home ground pressure to bear and their less than brilliant reputation under Neil Craig for finals results. In addition Essendon are a fast team. Finally (sorry) I really hope that Adelaide get up which hope is almost certainly the kiss of death for them.

  2. Pamela Sherpa says

    Peter, I was just so pleased that the Bombers won so that our young players get the experience of playing in a final. It was fabulous to be there to see Michael Hurley. One of those
    ‘glad I saw him play’ days for me.

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