AFL Round 7: Bombers go on Hawk Hunt

By Pamela Sherpa

We’ve beaten enemy No.1 (Collingwood) and  enemy No.2 (Carlton) in thrillers this year. Now we face enemy No.3, Hawthorn. They beat enemy No.2 in a thriller last week and happen to be the premiers.

Despite always being a chance against arch rivals there’s an awful feeling that this week will be quite a bit tougher. The Hawks could be warming up at the precise time we are looking a bit injury ravaged. Scary.

We supporters always live in hope and I’ve noticed some possible chinks in the Hawks armour. Yep, that’s right, some flaws have appeared.

Buddy looks to be a bit out of condition. Other people think so, too. He has that look of having been in a good paddock over summer. He’s sure to run out of steam. Our Paddy Ryder looks much fitter. He may not play on Buddy but so what? He looks fitter.

Tough luck for us: they have that strong brute, Roughead, as a back-up. Wow, can he take a one-grab mark and kick?  How the heck are we going to stop him? Mmmm.

Never mind about them scoring goals, we have speedsters Lovett and Davey. They’ll make Buddy and Stuey Dew huff and puff. They can dob a few long-range goals if they like. We’re going to eventually wear them out. But oops! How could I forget? They have Rioli. I must admit, I think I’ll simply sit back and enjoy watching him play; in between our guys getting the ball, that is.

I’m sure Matty Knights has a plan. Don’t know what or how but I have the utmost faith that he’ll come up with something.

It’s probably not a good idea to compare the teams — and think about the game too closely, actually. Quite pointless, in fact. Just embrace what it brings and deal with any trauma it may cause. That’s life. Savour and endure. Ride out the bumps until the good moments return.

Here’s hoping enthusiasm whips us into a frenzy and they are more drained from playing against enemies than we are running ourselves ragged.

Besides it’s time for Lloydy to staighten himself out and kick a few. Here’s praying his mind and feet align this week and he teaches that young Hodgey a thing or two. “Experience will beat youth any day,” my mother used to say. Which is precisely why we might be in trouble tonight.

Of course we have the reliable Jobe Watson. And Jay Neagle is back. I’ll be happy if he’s half as feisty as his old man. Aah the ’80s. Memories come flooding back.

When there’s too much time to think too many thoughts flood through the brain.

After Bear Day at a school today the Bear Hunt song is still ringing in my head:

We’re going on a bear hunt….
We’re not scared….
We can’t go under it… ..
We can’t go over it…..
We’ll have to go through it…..

Waiting, waiting, until 9.30 pm for the telecast is a bit of a chore but I remind myself: I’m two hours better off than footy fans in Sydney and Brisbane. Be grateful I’m getting a game at all.

I could take a peek at the scores on the internet but that might scare me more.

There’s time to ponder my reply from Prime TV in Canberra: “… I understand your frustration that the AFL is airing at a later time in your area; however this is testament to its popularity … ”

By the time my teenage son and his friends have demolished pies and departed it’s already 8.30pm. Only an hour to wait. Midsomer Murders is on the ABC. Barnaby is investigating a pitchfork murder. Country England is a long way from the Docklands.

The telecast begins with flashbacks from 1984 and ’85. What an era that was. Apparently TD and Timmy have been talking to our youngsters during the week. Look no further for inspiration.

The push and shove starts as soon as the game begins. Our youngsters Pears and Hooker stand against Roughead and Franklin. Wishing them luck is the best I can do.

Buddy misses his first shot at goal. Hope is still on our horizon. The experienced Dew then outsmarts our youth and goals.

We show promising signs when Neagle marks strongly and Lovett -Murray bends one beautifully from the boundary for a goal. Monfries goals after a push in the back from Hodge.

Ryder leaps high to take a specky. Does anything excite fans more?

Smart play by Neagle finds Lloyd in the goalsquare. There’s nothing like a captain’s goal after the siren to boost confidence. The Hawks let us off the hook with their inaccurate kicking. We’ve weathered the first storm 4.2 to 1.8 and lead by twelve points at quarter-time.

It’s tempting to check the scores so I read an email instead. The siren sounding to start the second quarter saves me. In the excitement I’d completely forgotten to flick channels to see if Barnaby had caught his murderer.

The Hawks get their kicking boots on in the second quarter and kick five goals to our two. The Bombers are still running though and Nathan Buckley keeps mentioning how composed we are. We run, we make mistakes, but we keep moving forward undaunted.

The Hawks remind us why they are the champions. A mistake allows Rioli to weave his magic and  score a goal. Buddy tackles, gains possession and  kicks long to goal to put the Hawks in front by a point. We have the chance to go ahead just before half-time but Neagle sprays a shocker off the boot. I feel disappointed that we haven’t stayed in front for two quarters but to be still in the hunt at the main break is great.

Bombers 6.7 (43) trailing Hawks 6.8 (44).

I have my own mercy rule. If we are getting belted at half-time I’m allowed to check the scores and retreat to bed. Tonight I’m still wide awake.

It’s 11pm and I know it must be over in real time down south. I’m busting to know what happens.

In the third quarter we keep charging forward. Stanton, Winderlich and Co find the gaps and go through them. The Bombers are enjoying the Hawk Hunt. Our strong marking is a feature of the night and Matthew Lloyd, playing up the ground, leads the way. Monfries flies high and lands as steady as a gymnast. Great marks are so morale boosting.

Pears and Hooker, with fourteen games between them, continue to repel as the Hawks’ attacks.

My favourite moment of the game comes when little Alwyn Davey tackles big Stuey Dew. It defines what the game is about. There are no rules about size. You can have a go at whoever you want.  Davey has no hope of wrestling someone  twice his girth to the ground but his tackle is enough to stall Stuey’s progress.

Fortune favours the brave and we’re being rewarded for playing in front in defence and moving the ball forward quickly into attack. The Hawks swing changes; Roughead and Rioli appear in defence. Buddy bobs up again to goal to remind us that we can never relax.

Bellchambers takes a great mark in a pack of Hawks. He finishes off nicely for a goal. It’s a defining moment as the Bombers youth stands up: 12.10 (82) to 9.11 (65).

We’ve withstood the Hawks in the premiership quarter. Can we bring it home?

It’s almost midnight when the last quarter begins.  Cup of tea time. Stay awake and stay calm.

Tired bodies throw everything into it. Zaharakis scores a fourth behind for the night. The Bomber fans seem relieved when he eventually gets a goal — and joyous when he gets a second. He, like others, has found space tonight. The Bombers don’t dare slow down. There has been only one speed tonight: fast forward.

The Bombers win by 44 points.

We’re going an a Hawk hunt ….
We’re not scared ……
We can’t go under them……
We can’t go over them…..
We’ll have to go through them.

We did.

Essendon 17.14 (116) d Hawthorn 10.12 (72)

Essendon: Lloyd 3, Lovett-Murray 3, Neagle 2, Zaharakis 2, Stanton, Lovett, Lonergan, Hocking , Bellchambers.

Hawthorn: Franklin 5, Roughead 2, Williams, Rioli, Dew.

Essendon: Monfries, Stanton, Lloyd, Winderlich.
Hawthorn: Rioli, Birchall, Lewis, Franklin.


  1. Peter Schumacher says

    Hi Pamela, good stuff, really enjoyed the read,

    Peter Schumacher

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