Bombers well and truly belted

I wasn’t sure whether to go to school or not. Friday the 13th, who knows what could happen in the schoolyard on this black, spooky date. Something did happen, but not to me. Four year 12 students lost all the hair on their head’s in our yearly ‘Shave for a Cure’ fundraiser, while the teachers chipped in with an extra $150 to get the hair and beard shaved off our groundskeeper, a mad Collingwood supporter. Was this some sort of omen?

The Bombers were promoting the 40th year of compulsory seatbelt-wearing in Victoria, with the red sash forming a buckle at the end of the jumper, a nice touch. The seatbelt would need to be adjusted to perfection for the match-up against arch-rivals Collingwood under the lights at the MCG. It seemed they had buckled up early, with Jay Neagle kicking the first goal, before Travis Cloke marked and, in an ominous sign, confidently went back and slotted the goal with a good kick. Cloke’s kicking had been the centre of much debate for the week, and he would’ve been looking for a big game to silence some of those critics. David Hille, the seatbelt ambassador for the AFL, took a good mark and kicked the goal, but Essendon quickly crashed and burned. Leigh Brown took a good mark and converted from 50m out, before kicking his second from a free kick against Michael Hurley in the forward pocket. Jarryd Blair showed why he was rated so highly among the Collingwood selection table, chopping the ball off, before running through the middle of the ground with a couple of bounces, dummying around an opponent before getting the handball off to Dale Thomas, who duly snapped the goal. Dane Swan took a contested one-on-one mark against Brent Stanton and kicked truly from the top of the goalsquare, before Blair got his name on the goalkickers list with a terrific kick from 45m out on the boundary line. Brown marked strongly on the lead before putting through his third of the quarter, and a final goal to Swan after Paul Medhurst perfectly corralled Cale Hooker on the boundary line saw Collingwood lead by 38 points. Angus Monfries snapped a late goal, and at quarter time the Magpies led by 32, 8.2 to 3.0.

First gamer Stewart Crameri was impressing, but it was Cloke who kicked his second to start the second quarter, before Darren Jolly took a good mark and got his first. Cloke gathered the ball in the forward pocket before snapping the ball around his shoulder, and turned to watch the footy dribble along the ground through the big sticks. The big guy was on. Speaking of big guys, Chris Dawes laid a brilliant tackle on Courtenay Dempsey, earning a free kick and converting from 50m out. Even when shooting for goal, Dawes looks scary. He then took a good mark and put through his second from the pocket, before Jake Carlisle joined the elusive ‘first kick first goal’ club, then Paddy Ryder kicked Essendon’s fourth. Jolly booted his second to finish off a scintillating first half, Collingwood equaling the biggest half time score of 2010, 14.5 to Essendon’s 5.0.

I was looking forward to a complete obliteration of the Bombers in the second half, and even thought of the possibility of Collingwood passing the 30 goal mark, something that hasn’t been done since Geelong started ‘the streak’ against Richmond in 2007. It looked like Collingwood were on their way to breaking the 200 point barrier, with Brent Macaffer gathering at half back, giving the ball off to Heath Shaw. Shaw ran through the middle of the ground and kicked to Dawes, who handballed to a running Macaffer, who had kept on his bike to receive the ball and snapped the goal in an inspiring piece of action. Dayne Beams goaled from a Ricky Dyson free kick, before Dempsey replied with his first major. Cloke marked uncontested in the goalsquare and booted his fourth, and Macaffer started to get in on the action with his second from a good mark. Jake Melksham showed his capabilities at a stoppage, gathering the ball at full tilt from a ruck hit-out before snapping the ball through for a goal. Collingwood finished the quarter strongly with Alan Didak kicking his first and Cloke booting an equal career-high fifth goal as the Magpies led by 87 points at the final change, 20.11 to 7.2.

As I couldn’t find my black pen before the game, I had to resort to using a blue pen. It made a difference on my notes, the blue just didn’t look right. I had to use it though as the final quarter started, with Monfries snapping his second goal, and Travis Colyer goaling on the run from 10m out. Essendon trailed by 78 points, but the Magpie army were intent on a 100 point thumping. Blair took a good mark and kicked his second, capping off his best game with many more to come, before Macaffer received at close quarters in a pack close to goal, before skillfully angling the ball across his boot, guiding through his third as the margin crept out to 93 points. Didak received a free kick and converted, before rubbing his hands in the side of Henry Slattery’s face. Bad taste. Sure, it was just a humorous joke Didak was playing, and Slattery found the funny side of it, but the much-maligned Essendon defender had kept Didak in check for much of the game, and didn’t deserve to have anything rubbed in his face. It’ll come back to bite Collingwood. Melksham kicked his second, before Cloke had a chance to kick the elusive sixth goal after his kicking boots had betrayed him in the final quarter as he sprayed four behinds. He gathered the ball running towards goal, with a defender hot on his heels, he kicked the ball along the ground, and the ball was just going to make it over the line, but Heath Shaw gathered it and put it through, just to be safe. Cloke was surely a bit peeved off with that, but another goal went up on the scoreboard, and you can’t argue with that as Collingwood missed out on completely humiliating Essendon by 100 points, but still did a pretty damn good job of it, 24.18.162 to 10.4.64.

What does this 98 point belting tell us? It tells us that Collingwood will definitely finish on top of the ladder, they are in the best form any side has showed this season and are as dangerous as Geelong were in 2007/08. As for Essendon, tonight was a large blip on the radar of Matthew Knights’ coaching career, with the past two Friday night games resulting in 174 point losses to Collingwood and Carlton. The stats don’t lie, Essendon are in real trouble, but have unearthed some good youngsters, with Crameri and Carlisle almost certain starters along with many more for Round 1, 2011. But tonight, the young Bombers’ just didn’t have their seatbelts on correctly.

Essendon 3.0—5.0—7.2—10.4.64

Collingwood 8.2—14.5—20.11—24.18.162


Essendon-Monfries 2, Melksham 2, Carlisle, Neagle, Hille, Ryder, Dempsey, Colyer

Collingwood-Cloke 5, L. Brown 3, Macaffer 3, Dawes 2, Didak 2, Jolly 2, Swan 2, Blair 2, Shaw, Thomas, Beams


Essendon-Hille, Slattery, Crameri, Watson

Collingwood-Cloke, Blair, Dawes, Pendlebury, Swan, Beams, Macaffer, Sidebottom, Jolly, L. Brown


59,277 at the MCG


3: Travis Cloke (COLL)

2: Jarryd Blair (COLL)

1: Chris Dawes (COLL)

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. good report Joshy :)
    just had a glance at your votes,
    so different to mine! lol

  2. Thanks Danni, I think we’ve established that our votes will always be different.

    By the way, my MSN royally stuffed up, so I made a new one. I added you so yeah, don’t ignore it thinking it’s a random add lol.

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