AFL Round 8 – Essendon v Brisbane: Not so fast, Bombers

Someone, an Essendon supporter, had suggested to me that Essendon were such odds on to win that Brisbane would not even be able to beat the Bendigo Bombers. And to be fair Brisbane were at twelve to one. Yes I know that spruiking sporting odds is seen not to be de rigueur at the moment but it adds to the story.

These thoughts must have scrambled my mind because when attempting to locate our seats we immediately found ourselves in the middle of the Bombers cheer squad. I didn’t care, these were our seats and I was determined to stake our claim even though our Lions scarfs weren’t the quite the right look. A nice member of their number advised us that we were supposed to be on Level 2, not where we were now, Level 1. As we slunk out, a bloke in Essendon garb leaned forward and said significantly, “don’t go yet, it hasn’t even started”.

I would love to report how I was immediately onto the flow of play, the identity, the whole vibe of the thing (“The Castle”) as Zorko kicked the first two goals for the Lions but the truth was that to see the play properly from one end of the ground to the other was a bridge too far for me and I craned my neck trying to identify the player on the “big” (and for me it wasn’t big enough) screen. At least with that first Zorko goal I saw in relief, as it were, how he had charged down and gathered a kick off Watson and scored that first major.

This was the start of a truly great game in which there were 18 lead changes and in which Brisbane would mostly not give their opponents any space to break free, indeed because of that it was a very physical match. The crowd kept waiting for Essendon to get going and take charge, as had been their want for most of this season. There had been signs though in previous games that Brisbane weren’t total easy beats. Oh, and it was great to see them wearing their “real” “guernseys” again.

The crowd watched spellbound and then with a degree of real anger particularly in that first quarter at the sling tackle laid by Merrett on Hurley. From our vantage point we saw that very clearly, it was an almost instinctive action by Merrett in the course of play but the way the game is played now, inexcusable. I actually thought though that the late bump laid by Justin Clarke on Elliott Kavanagh was much more dangerous and would have deserved more censure as the latter had no way of defending himself having just taken a mark. At least in the latter case Jobe Watson was able to goal from the resultant free kick

One of the moments that stand out in my memory were Brown’s first goal, Brisbane’s third which went through as straight as a die from about fifty out. It is certainly not the prevailing orthodoxy but I was frustrated at the number of times that Brownie seemed to be outmanoeuvred but the way the experts saw it his mere presence and ability to get behind and or crash packs was causing problems for the Dons.

Other moments were; Essendon’s David Myers’ great goal in the first quarter from 60 metres out which soared through the posts, Leuenberger’s in the third when a grabbed ball from the pack, wheeled around just out of the square and kicked truly and Heppell’s will of the wisp goals.

Simon Black was fantastic in the first quarter, he just gets hold of the ball and then disposes to advantage.

My first reaction to that Brown mark in the last quarter was that he was over the line and I was surprised that he was given the kick.

Fletcher is still the great champion he always was, he is always in the right place at the right time.

I think that the sealer was Staker’s goal, what a way to cement a win from a player who has gone through so much to get back into the game.


Brisbane Lions 3.4 6.5 11.7 14.12 (96)

Essendon           3.1 7.6 10.9 12.14 (86)




Brisbane: Zorko 3, Brown 2, Leuenberger, Redden, Black, Lisle, Hanley, Raines, Polkinghorne, Moloney, Staker

Essendon: Bellchambers 2, Heppell 2, Crameri 2, Watson, Meyers, Kavanagh, Hocking, Ryder, Howlett


Brisbane: Zorko, Leuenberger, Polkinghorne, Hanley, Rockliff

Essendon: Heppell, Watson, Hibberd, Zaharakis

Umpires: Wenn, Pannell, Fisher

Official Crowd: 33,915


Our Votes: 3 Zorko (Brisbane) 2 Heppell (Essendon) 1 Watson (Essendon)

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer


  1. Peter Schumacher says

    “Tim” Watson was of course Jobe Watson

  2. Andrew Starkie says

    Peter, listened to the 2nd half at work. Loved it. Was almost screaming for the Lions at the end. Hope springs eternal. Great to see the W’bool boy still getting a kick.

  3. Peter Schumacher says

    I was sitting in a sort of stunned silence barely believing or being game to believe as it were to believe what was unfolding. The next test is against the Blues, this will be tough even at home.

Leave a Comment