AFL Round 5 – Essendon v Collingwood: When landing a ticket is a dubious windfall

After not getting around to organising a ticket early in the week I decide to stay at home and watch the big ANZAC Day clash on the box. Until a phone call from my AFL boundary umpire brother in law with the offer of a ticket from one of his boundary mates. Of course I accept. You don’t knock back a ticket for a match as big as this.

It’s not often I’m alone in the car for a trip to the footy but the journey is enjoyable and seems to go quickly, listening to the ABC’s excellent coverage of the ANZAC March. Walking towards the MCG there are thousands of people making their way to the stadium, and being an Essendon home game it seems most of them are wearing red and black. And walking with a confident strut. I’m hoping they leave the game walking with a despondent slouch. I meet meet brother in law Adam, his partner and his umpire mates ,including the Buzzman who has provided me with my ticket, and we find our seats. Our area is highly populated with whistleblowers, its seems most of them who aren’t officiating today are here at the game. I must be careful what I yell out today. The pre-game for this special day on the Australasian calendar is always moving and well done by those involved. A full MCG is quite eerie when 93,000 people stand in complete silence.

Essendon start the first two quarters much better than us but we finish both quarters strongly. We should have a nice little lead at the main break but are four points down despite having 6 more scoring shots. Watching the Pies be so wasteful in front of goal is so frustrating. Lynch, Thomas, Sidebottom, Dwyer and Russell all miss very gettable shots from inside the 50 metre arc. Essendon don’t look like missing their set shots. Four goals early in the third to the Bombers and we are up against it. Watson is playing a great captains game, what a leader he has become, gets the hard ball and contributes on the scoreboard. Zaharakis is more than that annoying little player who sunk us with that late goal in 2009, he can really play. Darren Bewick is playing the best game he has played in years, though I work out after the Bombers number 8 kicks his second that it actually is a player called Jason Winderlich. The Essendon supporters are loud, very loud and they have every reason to be. But like he did in the second quarter, Pendlebury lifts and so do several Magpies, Goldsack is subbed on and makes an impact straight away and we are back in the game. That is until two terrible frees are given late in the 3rd quarter that gift Essendon 2 goals and a 24 point lead at the final break. It’s a different experience sitting amongst the umps, they quietly watch and don’t show any signs of barracking for any team. Unlike the 3 clear cut Essendon supporters officiating the game. I’m doing well though, haven’t yelled out at the umpires all day. Stayed quiet when frees were wrongly given against Cloke and Lynch early in the game. Loud grunts were all that came from me in response to the awful frees paid against Brown and Reid.

Elliott and Goldsack kick the first two of the last quarter. I think that we can win this. But that is the last yelp given by Collingwood. It’s all Essendon who run away with a 46 point win. Shades of the Hawthorn game. The majority of the Magpie army start clearing out midway through the final term and are given a rousing send-off from the Bomber fans. I stay until the end. The day gets worse when Alan Toovey badly injures his knee with minutes left in the game. He will be badly missed. Essendon are very impressive, they looked much bigger, stronger and faster than us. They will be a dangerous opponent at the business end of the season if all goes well for them with their current predicament. As for the Pies, Pendles, Swan and Siddebottom can’t continue to do it all themselves in the midfield. Russell, Sinclair and O’Brien will be lucky not to be in the VFL next week.

After the game I catch up with good mate A. Hewitt in a bar in Swan St for a quick beer before the journey home. A mad Essendon fan, he loaded up on the Bombers before the game and is now very much cashed up and in great spirits. Was good to see him, though I tried to change the subject away from the footy where possible. All losses hurt but a loss to Essendon or Carlton makes for a very sombre trip. Especially on your own. Stop for fuel at Little River and fill up for 126.9 cents per litre. Petrol is 149.9 in Colac. Good to have one win for the day.


Essendon:              2.3         6.4       12.8      18.13.121

Collingwood:       1.5          4.12      7.14      10.15.75



Essendon: Zaharakis 4, Winderlich 3, Merrett, Watson, Davey, Gumbleton, Bellchambers 2, Crameri.

Collingwood: Pendlebury, Cloke, Blair, Goldsack 2, Sidebottom, Elliot.



Essendon: Zaharakis, Watson, Bellchambers, Stanton, Winderlich, Heppell, Carlisle, Goddard, Hibberd.

Collingwood: Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Swan, Reid, Brown, Shaw.


Umpires: Meredith, Mollison, Rosebury         Crowd: 93,373 at the MCG


Votes:   3. Zaharakis (Ess)        2. Watson (Ess)       1. Pendlebury (Coll)

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134

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