Bombers maintain grip over the Saints

Essendon v St Kilda

As my alarm went off at the usual time of 7:07am, I groaned at the thought of another cold morning at school. But then I remembered. I wasn’t going to school; I was going to the Almanac lunch, so I sprung out of bed and had a spring in my step.

Leaving home just after 8:10, Dad and I (minus Mum, who’s in Adelaide) arrive in Shepparton to pick up a Waaia polo-shirt for fellow Almanacker Tony Robb, who kindly sent me a North Melbourne signed Guernsey by Adam Simpson. Hopefully he gets the shirt in the next few days. Soon, Dad and I approached Melbourne as the grey skies cleared out and the sun shined down. We soon found the All Nations Hotel in the little backstreet in Richmond, and ventured inside.

I was busting for the toilet, so that was my first destination inside the pub, but soon I was back out in the bar area having a drink (of coke) while trying to see if I could spot anyone I knew. I couldn’t, but Daff arrived so Dad and I thought it was time to go take our seats.

Sitting next to Daff’s lovely wife Jo, the three of us exchanged words as we waited for everyone to file in and eventually sit down. The noise of the people was deafening, and my scratchy voice still hadn’t recovered, so sorry to the many people that probably couldn’t hear me when I was talking to them. Tony De Bolfo, the guest speaker, soon took his place at the middle of the room and had everyones attention as he told the story of Ian Cervi (Ian Stewart to the few that know him by that name). No one spoke a word as Tony gave a detailed account of Ian’s troubled life growing up, and the start of his football career, meeting his Father for the first time since he was a baby and eventually admitting and coming out in public as being Italian, which led to his place in the Italian Team Of The Century, among the likes of Mark Ricciuto, Dipper, Peter and Phillip Matera and Saverio Rocca.

It was time to leave after hearing Tony speak, having some finely cooked meat (which actually wasn’t that fine) and quite a few drinks (of coke). I was going to pay for that later in the day; in fact I already was as I got into the car. I noted to myself that the time was 3:22, the exact time I would have been let out of school, the exact time I was just let out of ‘work experience’. Dad and I drove through the suburbs of Fitzroy and Carlton, going past the Clyde Hotel as memories came flooding back from last year’s launch, and we are soon back in Coburg, a place I really don’t like. It doesn’t look Australian. I see a school that is nicely cordoned off by barriers and walls, probably to keep the boys out of the all-girls school.

Dad and I decide to get Maccas, as neither of us can cook, as proved by me when I almost burnt the kitchen down a couple of weeks ago (don’t ask). I ring Mum and get her to go on my Supercoach, explaining how to substitute one player out for another. It was quite a process, but Bastinac was put out, and Hardingham was in. We are back home at 7:30, which is good considering the last time we went to a Lunch it was just getting to 8:30 when we pulled into the driveway. I put my dying phone on the charger, fed the animals and waited for the footy to start.

Despite Essendon winning the past two against St Kilda, I picked the Saints (although I forgot to put in my footy tips!!) to win quite comfortably. This looked like a good statement as Nick Riewoldt kicked the opener from a free kick. Nick Dal Santo was sporting a couple of black eyes from a broken nose, while Leigh Montagna copped an errant boot in the face, cracking his snoz. Cale Hooker also had black marks under his eyes, he must’ve broken his nose as well last weekend, or he was going tribal-style. Angus Monfries kicked Essendon’s first from a free, then Paddy Ryder marked on the lead to kick a goal. He then kicked his second from another free kick, taking the margin out to a surprising 10 points. Then a big build-up in the Essendon fifty which saw tackles, bumps, smothers, everything, resulted in a goal on the run from 50 to Mark McVeigh, and David Hille marked his presence with a good pack mark, before duly converting. Essendon had jumped out to a 22 point lead, and had no intentions of slowing down. Monfries received another free, before sneakily playing on and snapping a goal, then Jay Neagle gathered the crumbs from a Sam Fisher fumble and dribbled through the Bombers’ seventh as they led by six goals at the first break, 7.2 to 1.2.

The second quarter got underway with Bachar Houli taking a good mark and threading the goal from the forward pocket, before Riewoldt snapped a tight goal over his shoulder to reduce the deficit. Leigh Montagna kicked another, and St Kilda seemed to be on top, but Essendon reversed all the hard work with Houli wheeling around on his left boot to drill his second for the quarter as Essendon went into half time with a 37 point lead, 9.5 to 3.4.

The second half started and Monfries kicked his third from a 50m penalty, also his third from a free kick. Kyle Hardingham took a good mark on the lead and kicked the goal, before another great contested mark saw him boot number two, taking the margin out to 58 points. The Saints worked their way back into the contest though, Justin Koschitzke marking uncontested deep in the forward line and kicking the goal, then Brendon Goddard putting through a late goal. I was quite annoyed at Goddard handballing so much, as he was my captain in Supercoach. The highlight of the quarter was Kyle Reimers’ failed attempt at snapping a goal over his head from the goalsquare, hitting the post. You don’t have to be flashy ALL the time Kyle. The Dons still led by 46 at three quarter time, 12.10 to 5.6, but, strangely, I would have been feeling very nervous if I was an Essendon supporter.

The final quarter started and Adam Schneider showed why many Bombers’ fans were on the edge of their seats, slotting through a good goal on the run, before Neagle marked in between two St Kilda defenders and goaled with the checkside. Dennis Cometti put it perfectly: “He found the Neagle in the haystack!” Schneider again raised questions of Essendon’s durability, kicking his second to cut the deficit to 40 points, but another strong pack mark to Hille saw his second goal go through. Riewoldt marked on the lead, within range, but handballed to Goddard, who offloaded to Jason Gram, and Gram, with unusually coloured hair, kicked the goal. Jobe Watson received a 50m penalty and sealed the game with a captain’s goal, the margin was back out to 46 points. Farren Ray snapped a clever goal over the shoulder, before Gram kicked a nice goal on the run to reduce the margin to 34 points. Surely not. Monfries booted his fourth to stamp out the game, but a late goal from Brett Peake raised the heartbeats of many red and black faithful. Monfries marked on the final siren, and lined up for a career-best fifth goal. Fittingly, he hit the post, as Essendon won their third in a row against St Kilda by 33 points.

After recently doing a run-down of the next five weeks, I predicted that St Kilda would win the remaining five games to take top spot off Geelong and Collingwood. Already, my crystal ball needs tinkering with.

Essendon 7.2—9.5—12.10—16.12.108

St Kilda 1.2—3.4—5.6—11.9.75


Essendon-Monfries 4, Hardingham 2, Neagle 2, Hille 2, Ryder 2, Houli 2, McVeigh, Watson

St Kilda-Riewoldt 2, Schneider 2, Gram 2, Peake, Ray, Goddard, Koschitzke, Montagna


Essendon-Watson, Hooker, Hurley, Houli, Fletcher, Howlett, Stanton, Hocking, Monfries

St Kilda-Gram, Hayes, Goddard, Montagna


37,165 at Etihad Stadium


3: Jobe Watson (E)

2: Cale Hooker (E)

1: Michael Hurley (E)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Danielle says

    why did they build the Great Wall of China? To keep the rabbits out!
    Why did they build a barrier around Danni’s school? To keep the boys out!
    But that’s okay, Danni is graduating at the end of the year so she’s leaving very soon, yayyy!!! :P

  2. David Downer says

    Good one Josh.

    Sounds like I was a couple of seats away from you on the next table – but not knowing your face, and you not knowing mine …yadda yadda yadda. Next time. Agree that Tony’s talk was incredibly interesting, the whole room was transfixed. The Ian Stewart story is not widely known at all.

    I wish your match report spoke of better tidings for the Saints. I should have stuck to the cokes like your goodself, realised the writing was on the wall at Qt, and got the hell outta there!


  3. Josh, something from left field.

    What do you know about a Dookie United player (Coach) Dale Osborne?

    I am looking at potential players for Wynyard F. C. next season.

    I suspect you may be able to provide a critique on his capability as a Waaia supporter.

    Any assistance would be appreciated.


  4. Can’t tell you much Phantom, sorry, but here’s a report I did on a Waaia v Dookie United game from last year. He kicked five goals in that game, and is quite experienced, and would be very handy for any club.

  5. Greatly appreciated Josh.

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