AFL Round 6 – Essendon v GWS Giants: Bring Back Kyle Reimers

The first time Essendon played the Gold Coast in Melbourne, they romped home by a staggering 139 points – largely on the back of an extravagant 15-goal first quarter. Leading the charge that day was the flashy, inconsistent, and often maligned Kyle Reimers. Wreaking havoc in the forward line in his fluorescent boots, he racked up 20 touches and 8 goals, thoroughly dismantling the Suns. Considering the rest of the output in his 60-game career, the outburst was truly a one-off (although maybe his 12-kick, 3.4 return in Round 14 against the Doggies last year deserves some recognition too).

I tried hard to like Reimers when he played, but his attitude and truly dreadful tattoos made it difficult. What his performance represented though, was the opportunities afforded to fringe players in matches against the expansion teams. An open invitation to lift your profile for a week. After all, even Melbourne managed twelve goals in a quarter against GWS. Was it to be Leroy Jetta’s turn to shine on return? Or maybe Jackson Merrett would explode? Whatever the case, with the Bombers 5-0, $1.01 favourites with the ever-present bookies, and players ‘rested’ with ‘soreness’ the result was surely as close to a foregone conclusion as they come these days.

Sitting behind the goals in the third tier of the Fletcher End at the ‘Dome, I confidently announced that a 15-goal win was the bare minimum, and the only bad point of the day was that Joe Daniher hadn’t been afforded a gentle entry into the competition. My brother – a fellow Essendon supporter – looked at me slightly bemused, told me to stop jinxing the result, and reminded me that there was no Reimers to beat up on the new kids this time round.

This startlingly accurate prediction soon came to fruition, as Essendon produced perhaps the worst half of football we’ve ever played. In the very least, it was the worst 58 minutes of football I’ve had the displeasure of watching. The Bombers panicked, fumbled, miskicked, didn’t talk, lead, tackle or support, were mentally brain-dead, and generally dismal. Sensing their opponents hadn’t come to play, GWS swarmed around the ball with youthful intensity, and after mopping up the haphazard forward entries from the Bombers, were able to break out of the backline and convert far more effectively than Essendon.

Jeremy Cameron completely outplayed Tayte Pears on his way to four goals in the first half, Tom Scully even was enjoying a successful half, and at the long break the Giants held a 21-point lead. The GWS cheer squad – all nine of them – even dared to break out into a “Giants *clap clap clap* Giants *clap clap clap* Giants” chant. Such was the state of malaise that Bombers fans didn’t even try to drown it out. The one saving grace was that because of a lack of polish and some iffy decision-making from their opponents, Essendon was only 21 points down.

It’s a strange sensation to feel the frustration and disbelief of 30 000 spectators slowly build over the course of a half of football, intensifying with every turnover. Matching the lack of build-up to the clash, the crowd lacked their usual voice and passion in the early minutes. With their ladder-leading boys continually making mistakes and the expected avalanche of goals failing to appear, this silence dissipated amongst increasing groans of disbelief. With a plethora of missed handballs, shanked kicks and free kicks against, the crowd’s anger grew. After a while, some simply resorted to booing. Essendon players, Giants players, umpires, it didn’t matter.

The question had to be asked at half-time – who would be our Reimers today? Who would deliver us the win we had expected to be handed to us?

Fittingly, Alwyn Davey (a former fringe-player-but-now-livewire-forward) and Stewart Crameri (a strong-marking forward who served a three-year apprenticeship in the VFL) stood up and delivered. Four goals from each of them ensured that Essendon’s blushes would be spared. They made the most of the space allowed them from tiring opponents and presented strongly to a reinvigorated midfield, with the Giant’s youngsters simply running out of puff. Michael Hibberd – another who served his time in the VFL before getting his chance in the big-league – was another stand-out for Essendon, continuing his good form across half-back.

The likes of Adam Treloar, Tim Mohr, and Toby Greene all showed that in the future GWS will be able to deliver four quarters of football instead of the two-and-a-bit they are capable of currently. And when they do, it won’t be enough for teams to rely on fringe players having break-out games; they’ll need their guns to step up.

Essendon: 1.5.11; 3.8.26; 10.15.75; 17.18.120

GWS: 5.2.32; 7.5.47; 8.9.57; 12.9.81

Goals:

Essendon: Crameri 4, Davey 4, Gumbleton 3, Hille, Baguley, Bellchambers, Hocking, Goddard, Hardingham

GWS: Cameron 6, Adams 2, Scully 2, Bruce, Treloar

Best:

Essendon: Hibberd, Davey, Goddard, Crameri

GWS: Cameron, Treloar, Scully, Greene

Votes: Cameron (3), Hibberd (2), Davey (1)

About Sam Laffy

26-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.....

Comments

  1. Kath Presdee says:

    Sam

    I also think that bringing on Hocking after half time helped too. It gave you guys some more grit and oomph in the midfield at the right point which meant that the ball could get to the forwards.

    Funny to be so pleased about a loss, but our house certainly was.

  2. I completely agree Kath – with Hocking missing from our midfield in the first half we lacked the strength and hardness at the ball needed to kick-start our game! Hopefully Hirdy doesn’t try to experiment like that again…..

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