Almanac (Fan) Footy: Ready to get hurt again


Image courtesy of Ged McMahon


It’s been a typically content-heavy AFL off-season and pre-season. You know you’re in deep when a minor calf strain to your team’s key forward in January warrants it’s very own headline and accompanying news article [Ed note: turns out Two-Metre Peter would only be on restricted duties for a week, never mind the first serious game was still 54 days away at that stage]. Alas, that is the clickbait world we live in, where entire ‘news’ articles can be created around a D-Grade celebrity’s Instagram post and the ensuing comments from people whose opinions you’d normally cross the street to avoid hearing.

The AFL’s obsession with staying in the news cycle for 12 months of the year certainly doesn’t help. They arguably reached the height of their pettiness in early December last year when they chose the usually-non-peak-time of 6am on a Sunday to announce the Round 1 fixture for 2023. By pure coincidence, at that exact time the Socceroos were playing their Round of 16 game against Argentina in the World Cup. It was needy, but undeniably on-brand.

Just over three months later, that Round 1 fixture is upon us. It seems like it’s gone really quickly but, as a life-long Essendon fan, I’ll borrow a line from Dunder Mifflin regional manager Michael Scott to say “I am ready to get hurt again”.

This attitude towards my team hasn’t always been so self-deprecating. I was a child of the 80s and 90s – halcyon days for the Bombers. I strutted confidently around schoolyards, never going more than a few years between finals victories and premierships. We were perennial contenders, and the afterglow of the 2000 premiership carried me well into my early adulthood in the mid-2000s. Indeed, youth is wasted on the young.

Call me delusional, but despite the long drought that’s set in over the last two decades, I’ve only recently come to accept that the club has become a bit of a punchline. I dismissed the many supplements jibes by grimly clinging to the club’s proud history. Yet slowly, that sense of pride started to be tested a few years ago. A little while after opposition supporters started testing their usually thin grasp of mathematics by counting the number of days since Essendon’s last finals win.

The messy end to last season didn’t help, with the callous dismissal of the coach, boardroom flexing, and then the CEO merry-go-round that threatened to turn full pantomime. All hope seemed lost, and the frequency of the jokes accelerated. I began to resent the relentless year-round AFL news cycle even more than usual.

However, as always, each new season brings hope. Footy clubs are built on hope. And that intangible feeling is never stronger than in the weeks leading up to Round 1. So, I’ve renewed my membership, reactivated my joy of going to the footy, and secured my tickets for the game against the Hawks this Sunday. No question about it, I am ready to get hurt again.


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About Ged McMahon

Ged McMahon has been a Bombers fan for as long as he can remember. With a Grandpa who grew up just a spiralling torpedo punt from Windy Hill he didn't have much choice. When his junior football career resulted in almost as many possessions as games he eventually had to bite the bullet and give up his dream of captaining the Bombers to a Premiership. So his weekly footy fix became confined to the stands. He yearns for the next Premiership.


  1. Ian Hauser says

    Our time will come again, Ged – just not for a while yet by the look of things.

  2. Malby Dangles says

    I hate Essendon but I feel your pain and I empathise! Great post. From a Carlton supporter.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Ged, you might have spoken too soon re Peter Wright.

  4. Ged McMahon says

    Haha, my thoughts exactly when the news broke today, Mark!

  5. Colin Ritchie says

    My friend and myself have decided to go to the match on Sunday. We both taught at Cobden PS where Zach Merrett attended and wish to see him in his first game as new EFC captain. Feeling confident then the news of 2MP came in left me wondering, like you Ged, am I ready to be hurt again. Go Bombers!

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