Buddy Proves he’s the Friday Night Specialist

Seven weeks ago, the Bombers and the Hawks met at the MCG on a Saturday night, the first clash after Round 22 last year. We all know what happened then. That night, just seven rounds ago, the Bombers won quite comfortably. Now, just 48 days later, they revisited on a Friday night at the home of football, waiting for a specialist to grace its hallowed turf. The past couple of weeks had seen two Friday night specialists stand up. Lindsay Thomas kicked 7.5 against Carlton and Brendon Goddard was on fire against Richmond in Round 11 under the bright lights of Etihad Stadium. Who would be the Friday night specialist on this night? I said Luke Hodge, picking him as my Supercoach skipper for the second week in a row, despite agonizing whether to choose Lance Franklin instead, knowing he always tears Essendon apart. I waited to see if I had made the right choice.

Needing to beat a teacher and fellow Almanacker in Supercoach, both of my opponents sat in 4th position, while I was 8th in my school’s ‘elite’ league, and 5th in the Almanac league. A win this weekend would really boost my team, and possibly set up a top-four finish. I also planned to keep a keen eye on Michael Hurley, who had kicked eight goals in his previous two games against the Hawks, Xavier Ellis and Franklin, who are all in my SC team. The ball is held aloft as Matthew Lloyd keeps a keen eye out for Campbell Brown in the stands.

Essendon started well with Paddy Ryder showing great desperation to tap the ball out to Sam Lonergan, who banged home the first of the night. Mark McVeigh showed some great skill and poise, shrugging a tackle and wobbling a kick towards goal which bounced through from outside 50. Essendon led the inaccurate Hawks by eight points. Franklin opened his account with a long goal after playing on from a mark, a normality in his game. Beau Muston surprised everyone with a terrific snap goal around the body from a tight angle, but Alwyn Davey gave Essendon the lead again with a good goal from 50m out. Cyril Rioli was dazzling the crowd with his large array of skills. Clinton Young snapped a goal on his non-preferred, then Franklin provided something special, marking, playing on 60m out from goal and kicking long towards the big sticks, 55m out near the boundary line. It went through. Shaun Burgoyne drifted forward and kicked his first goal in poo and wee colours after the siren, Hawthorn leading by 18 points, 5.7 to 3.1. Franklin on, Hodge cold.

The second quarter saw Rioli stream forward and take the mark to kick the goal, before Franklin put through his third and the margin was 29 points. Essendon controlled much of the latter part of the quarter though, Nathan Lovett-Murray gaining some of the turf in his fingernails as he ran into goal and Jason Winderlich snapped a terrific goal, cutting the margin back to 16 points. A goal from a free kick from long range after the siren to Muston saw the Hawks go into the main break with a 21 point advantage, 8.9 to 5.6. Hodge still cold, and injured.

The second half began and Scott Gumbleton got onto the end of a terrific kick from Jake Melksham, kicking the goal with his first possession. Young kicked a pearler from outside 50 on the run though, taking the lead back out to 23 points. One man stood up though. Not Hodge, sadly. Tom Bellchambers. The tall, gangly Ruckman took a great pack mark and goaled, then he utilized his marking capabilities to full potential again, passing beautifully to David Zaharakis who popped it through. The margin was just 12 points. Davey found the ball in the forward line, in a hectic rush, he put the ball to boot, and watched it sail towards the goals. Essendon trailed by just six points going into the last change, 9.7 to 9.13.

The final quarter began. Hodge not performing for Hawthorn. Essendon with all the momentum. Ryder kicked the ball out of midair in a ruck contest and watched it bounce the right way through the goals. Scores were level. Who would stand up for Hawthorn? Buddy would. Gathering the ball on the wing, Franklin ran forward, leaving Cale Hooker in hot pursuit. But Hooker could not keep up. Franklin was out; he was striding along nicely, in characteristic fashion. He put the ball to boot at the 50m line, right on the boundary line, and turned to the crowd in celebration before the ball even hit the ground, skidding through the goals. Scores were level again. A contest in the Essendon forward line left free Dons, Davey was one of them. He received a quick handball from Zaharakis and slotted the goal, before Lonergan replicated his first goal with a long major on the run from 50m out, giving Essendon the lead. Hodge was hobbling, and struggling. But Buddy was energetic. Once again, he gained the ball on the wing, and took off on a three bounce run, taking him to the forward pocket with Hooker, again in chase, coughing up the trail of smoke Franklin was leaving. Buddy kicked the ball towards goal, through the air this time. It still had the same destination. He had just kicked two of the best goals of his career. Still, the job was not done. Scores were level. I barracked for a draw. Jobe Watson kicked a captains goal on the run, things were tight. The Hawks and the Bombers were going goal for goal. Muston kicked his second after the Hawks had a 3-1 in the goalsquare to their favour. Then Jordan Lewis grubbered through a ripper goal from tight on the boundary with plenty of pressure. Has a quarter of footy seen so many great goals? One more to top it off, how does that sound? Michael Osborne, playing a great game, marked right on the boundary line, 40m out. He looked inboard, before settling on the decision of kicking the goal. If he kicked it, Essendon were finished. If he kicked it, Hawthorn would be entrenched in the eight. If he kicked it, the Hawks would be one step closer to being up there with the other good teams of 2010. He kicked it.

Hawthorn 5.7—8.9—9.13—14.18.102

Essendon 3.1—5.6—9.7—13.8.86


Hawthorn-Franklin 5, Muston 3, Young 2, Rioli, Osborne, Lewis, Burgoyne

Essendon-Davey 3, Lonergan 2, Winderlich, Lovett-Murray, McVeigh, Zaharakis, Watson, Bellchambers, Ryder, Gumbleton


Hawthorn-Franklin, Osborne, Mitchell, Guerra, Renouf, Skipper, Burgoyne, Lewis

Essendon-Winderlich, Welsh, Prismall, Watson, Davey, Ryder, Bellchambers, Melksham


54,148 at the MCG


3: Lance Franklin (H)

2: Jason Winderlich (E)

1: Michael Osborne (H)

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.

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