AFL Round 23 – Carlton v Essendon: the trigomometry of a draw

Well, that came quickly! The final round of the season. My Bombers, after facing insurmountable odds, have seemingly made it! We have had our highs and lows. The drug scandal was an obvious low. From an Essendon’s fan perspective, I just want it over and done with. Just imagine what would have happened in this season if we didn’t have that overpowering burden on our heads. Now let’s look at the highs. The highs were the clutch of victories we snatched over Port Adelaide, Adelaide and West Coast. They also include being seventh at the start of Round 23.  We have slugged our way through the season, we have traded blow for blow with many top teams and we have matched them.

In the lead up to this match, I had an extraordinarily hectic week: debating finals at Williamstown, tennis, study and more tennis. I have a friend who is one of the maintenance men at my school. He is a fanatical Carlton supporte . We always have interesting debates before school about the week’s footy action and both our teams’ prospects. His predictions about his team have been going down while mine have been going up. So, in the lead up to this match we both made an agreement. We wouldn’t talk to each other about the outcome of the match. Funny how that changes…

So, it came around to Saturday. Saturdays are sadly being taken over by homework and study. It has gradually started to happen, bit by bit each weekend. I faced two options. Since Sunday was off limits because of my Australian Open ballkid training, I either could watch an exciting game of footy between my beloved Bombers and the Blues, or I could do three hours of maths homework. . Sadly, since my Math was due the next week I had to reach a compromise. I did my maths while I kept up the AFL live scores page following the action.  So I started on the vain quest to master trigonometry and SOHCAHTOA.

When the match started, gradually I spent more time on my maths than checking the score. Carlton’s score seemed to gradually increase a lot more then I thought it should. A guy named Watson kicked two goals in the first quarter. I thought he played in defence… “Glad I didn’t watch the game,” I thought to myself. I went back to my trigonometry.

I went on like this for half an hour (I exited the live scores in disgust).  I was finally starting to master the worded examples when I checked the scores again. My eyes nearly popped out of my head. We were winning! Now, I kept the scores open. I went back to my maths happy with the occasional glance at the scores of course. I didn’t look at the scores after we were 76 to 46 up. I assumed that we were going to win by a mile. I forgot Rule 1  with Essendon: Do not assume you have won until you are at least 50 points up in the last quarter. Little did I know, as I was doing my bearings in trigonometry, Carlton was clawing back.

I finally checked the score to see if we had won. We were only ahead by one point with three minutes left. Frantically, I left my maths and sprinted to the TV and switched it on just as Zach Touhy marked in the forward line. I prayed he didn’t score so we didn’t have to play Port Adelaide in Adelaide. What a nightmare that would be! He took up a lot of time in his run in. The kicked started left… veered right…. And missed! I was relieved. With a minute thirty left, we should be safe. Essendon kicked the ball out of defence and ran it over the boundary. Suddenly, Bryce Gibbs had marked the ball 50m out. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN! Surely we must have lost now…

Gibbs tossed the ball in his hand, flicked up the turf making full use of his fifteen seconds. He ran in and booted the ball with all the force he could muster. Somehow either by a sudden change of wind or extremely good fortune the kick didn’t make the distance. We smuggled the ball out of bounds before Carlton could rush a behind. Hurley kicked the ball out into open space and Carlton snatched the ball and ran towards the fifty… SIREN!!!!! We had drawn! Bring on North Melbourne next week!


  1. Hi Max – sound a bit like me in reverse keeping an eye on the scores. Was looking forward to watching the replay as Gibbs lined up for goal but then……

    Now, about this ball boy training for the Aussie Open – there’s an article in that surely?

  2. Pamela Sherpa says

    The last two Essendon- Carlton games I have been to have resulted in a draw. It was quite a bizarre game on Saturday. Nothing flash about it but at least the Bombers are there this year and get to play a final. Quite an achievement when you think about it. Good luck with the Maths .

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