Almanac Football – JLT 2019: Geelong v Essendon

Venturing down to Kardinia Park I met up with my fellow Essendon supporters Leigh and his brother Ross full of anticipation for tonight’s JLT clash against Geelong.


Entering the ground we bumped into Zac Merrett’s folks, Cathy and Herbie,  and  had a brief chat with them about their boys and the upcoming game. It was nice to catch up with these fine people, both are very proud parents of their Bomber son.


Leigh and I taught at Cobden Primary School when both Zac  and Gary Rohan  attended the school there. To watch both graduate from primary school playing  fields to the big time in the AFL  has been a pleasure  to behold as their AFL careers developed and flourished over a number of years. Tonight they will play on opposing sides, Rohan making his debut for the Cats, and a mighty fine one it turned out to be.


Admittedly,  I was apprehensive  as to what the game would bring for Essendon fans. Beaten by last year’s wooden spooners, Carlton, in Round 1 it was not the auspicious start to the season fans were hoping for, and Geelong should be a more formidable opponent so prospects were not all that high.


I was keen to see how Dylan Shiel slotted into the Bomber team, and was happy with his performance. At times he displayed glimpses of his enormous talent but like any new player to a club he’s still learning the ropes in Bomberland. Undoubtably he is  a gun and will be a great asset for Essendon over the coming seasons.


I must admit to being ignorant of the trial rules being employed but noticably the pace of the game was very intense right from the opening bounce. A lot of slick, merry-go-round handball particularly from Geelong, and short daisy cutter passes to team mates overwhelmed me trying to keep track of where the ball was. Opponents were off-footed attempting to tackle or gain the ball, the intention being to move the ball around maintaining possession until the opportunity to move the ball successfully forward was opened up.


Dangerfield and Selwood had a huge game impact on the game and were prolific users of the ball setting up many forays forward to strong bodied team mates Ratugolea, Hawkins and Rohan who all proved to be handfulls for their opponents.


Ratugolea  brought many smiles to the faces of Geelong supporters with his return to the game after last season’s shocking injury. His soaring mark and eventual goal brought the house down.


Gary Rohan looked fit, very mobile and was a new avenue to goal for the Cats. If he can remain injury free he will be a real asset for his team this season.


For the Bombers it was left to the same olds to keep them in the game. Heppell and Merrett were always in the thick of things, and Jake Stringer displayed a lot of endeavour and tenacity and used his strength well. Ridley will be a player of the future and he has a very cool head on his shoulders. Except for a couple of clangers Francis showed he will an able assistant for Hurley downback.


Well, my Bombers didn’t win, I felt many players were down on form, particularly some who  supporters are expecting big things from this year,  such as Langford who found it difficult to get into the game. Others coming back from injury such as Fantasia needed the run but had little effect on the game. Joe Daniher struggled to get the ball but it wasn’t delivered particularly well to him and usually he was swamped by opposition players. He did take a typical Daniher speccy but unfortunately he couldn’t convert his shot on goal but it was at least encouraging to have him back on the ground.


One disappointing aspect of the game was the attendance figure of less than 10,000. I thought the Geelong supporters would have been out in force at Kardinia Park to support their team but not so.


Bring on the real footy season!


GEELONG            3.1          9.6          14.9        15.11 (101)
ESSENDON          3.3          5.3          9.5          11.7 (73)

Geelong: Rohan 4, Ratugolea 2, Hawkins 2, Menegola, Kelly, Ablett, Dangerfield, Dahlhaus, C.Guthrie, Atkins
Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Brown 2, Ridley, Myers, Stringer, Baguley, Smith, Heppell, Langford

Geelong: J.Selwood, Dangerfield, Dahlhaus, Kelly, Rohan, Henry
Essendon: Shiel, Heppell, Merrett, Ridley, Saad

Geelong: Nil
Essendon: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Fisher, Gianfagna, Mitchell

Official crowd: 9070 at GMHBA Stadium


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    I’m not fussed about Essendon being a bit below par during the pre season. Better to warm up slowly and be ready for when the real season starts!

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Totally agree Pamela. Obviously a few of the team were short of a trot, either returning after injury or late starts to pre-season training such as Fantasia and Bellchambers. Tom B did well but Orazio struggled all night. McKenna looked all at sea, just wasn’t given the space to run but give him time. Daniher, well it was just fantastic to see him out on the field. Took a fabulous mark but couldn’t goal from it. Like you, I prefer a build up to the season proper, the critical time for fitness and performance is at finals time, and hopefully we can make our mark there this year.

  3. Michael Lourey says

    Cobden punching well above its weight, head for head, in the AFL at the moment/recent times, what … 5 in all! What other small towns rival the contribution, numbers wise? Northampton area in WA comes to mind. Others?

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