Clash of the Titans

This is the Clash of the Titans, Dustin Fletcher vs. Gary Ablett junior. Both play completely different game styles yet both equally important for their team. Dustin Fletcher is Essendon’s hero in defence, always there to stop a goal, get a match-saving tackle or spoil the AFL best defenders. He played for Essendon seven years before I was born! This guy is in for the long haul. Gary Ablett junior is Gold Coast superman or superhero.  He is a legend. He almost single-handily kept Gold Coast in matches. This season is no different. Forty two disposals against Adelaide and 40 against St Kilda – will this guy ever be stopped? Will Dustin Fletcher 350th game be a win or will Gary Ablett inspired Gold Coast will spoil the party? That’s what I wanted to find out when I flicked on channel seven with my dad to watch this match.

The first quarter was frantic as four goals were kicked in four minutes. Jared Brennan kicked the first, Essendon kicked the next three. Unfortunately our kicking took a turn for the worse with only two more goals for the quarter and five behinds. Gold Coast pegged one back late, but Essendon lead by 21 points. This was going to be an easy win I thought. Just how wrong could you be?

The second quarter was all Gold Coast. Gary Ablett shrugged off his tag and dominated the midfield. Karmichael Hunt playing the game of his life and Essendon was not playing very well. RECIPE FOR DISASTER! We were only saved by two late goals and that it started to rain late in the quarter halting Gold Coast momentum. David Zaharakis got shut down, and Gold Coast was winning contests. It was only a matter of time before Gold Coast got the lead and they did via a Jarrod Harbrow goal. Essendon replied with Michael Hurley snapping to give Essendon a five point lead at the half.  A brilliant quarter by Gold Coast is not enough to take the lead. Essendon need to improve to get anyway near a win.

Gold Coast continues to play well and Essendon can’t pick up the ball. Leroy Jetta kicks one early, but Nathan Bock kicks two on the trot to put Gold Coast ahead. Rischitelli kicks one while Hall kicks his second. Gold Coast has Watson and Zaharakis under lock and key. Alwyn Davey is trying his best to spark the Bombers with a three bounce run then a perfect chip to Crameri who snapped a goal. Watson first disposal for the quarter was a goal with minutes to go. Ablett was on 34 possessions and was nearly the first player to get three 40 possessions games in a row ever. Gold Coast by seven at three quarter time and have a sniff at a huge upset.

This is where Essendon have the advantage, more legs. Hurley kicks one early, Crameri gives Essendon the lead then a Paddy Ryder special from 50 gives Essendon some breathing space. Dustin Fletcher saves two goals in as many minutes as Jetta seals it. The siren sounds and I sigh in relief. Imagine Essendon losing to Gold Coast in Dustin Fletcher’s 350th game.

Dustin Fletcher is chaired off the ground. A fitting way to end his 350th game as a Essendon player. Who won the clash of the titans Fletcher or Ablett? Well Ablett got 44 possessions and was easily the BOG, while Fletcher is Fletcher consistent. Stalemate I think.

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