Episode 2015 – A New Hope?

Sydney versus Essendon

4:30pm, Saturday 4 April
ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Tim Kemm

The Bombers taking on the Swans on Saturday was like watching the original Star Wars – albeit with an unexpected, unscripted and unpleasant twist at the end. Essendon would – after their two year long feud with the League – play the Rebel Alliance. This week the part of the Galactic Empire would be played by the AFL’s favourite son – the Sydney Swans.

With the match being held in Sydney and our household not having Foxtel, I was resigned to listening to proceedings on the radio. No matter – I’ve always believed listening to the footy on the radio to be a worthwhile and often exhilarating experience.

Joey Daniher slotted the first from a tight angle. I was looking forward to seeing him kick a few bags this year. From then on it was all Essendon. The lack of pre-season match day experience didn’t seem to affect our charges at all.

Former Bulldog Adam Cooney was mercurial, slotting a torpedo after the quarter time siren from halfway across the Tasman. His knee seemed just fine. Jake Melksham was having a blinder. Somewhat of a fringe player for a few seasons now, he seems to have turned the proverbial corner during pre-season. Swan Luke Parker was everywhere and looks set to have a very good year. Michael Hurley was heroic on Buddy Franklin, surely affirming the fact that although he can be a useful swingman, his best work is performed in the backline. Apart from losing David Myers early on to a dislocated shoulder, the Rebellion was going swimmingly.

We were 41 points to the good late in the third quarter – it seemed meant to be. I dared to dream. That’s not to say that I thought we had them. No, I’ve seen enough football to know that victory is only victory after the final siren – never before. At three quarter time we were a very healthy 34 points up. Luke Skywalker was deep in the trench of the Death Star, he just needed to strike the fatal blow.

Dad and I relocated to the pub so we could see the last quarter on TV. We arrived in the hope of witnessing something special from our Bombers. Well, we didn’t register a single point. Sydney scored 46, nearly tripling what they had produced in the first three quarters. After being magnificently held for most of the game by a resilient defence, Buddy Franklin and Kirk Tippett reared their very expensive heads in the last. The Empire had struck back in devastating fashion. Averting my gaze from the TV I turned my attention to the beer that was left in my glass, wondering if whatever they were drinking in the pubs of Sydney cost 9.8% more than the draught I was staring at.

A bloody Buddy goal had put the Swans in front. I had not lost hope of a late Essendon revival, however. A last minute messiah. A hero. Where was David Zaharakis? He must have been on the bench, because Academy recruit Isaac Heeney soon snuffed out any hope of a red and black Easter resurrection. His snap from the pocket put Sydney 12 points in front in the 35th minute. He looks to be a good player.

Once the siren sounded we left in some haste. I was distraught. Appropriately distraught, I insisted. Dad disagreed. I huffed and I puffed and tripped over a stool as I stormed out. Another painful reminder that not everything always goes to plan.

After the game Hirdy was upbeat and insisted we are a good football team. I believe him. I really do. I just hope the players believe him too.

Yes, this week the Rebels might have failed to overthrow the Empire, but the season is long.  Next week’s Empire is Hawthorn. The Rebellion Strikes Back perhaps?


Sydney                 0.1          1.7          3.8          10.12       (72)
Essendon            4.3          5.5         9.6          9.6           (60)


Sydney: Franklin 3, Tippett 2, Bird 2, Laidler, Jack, Heeney
Essendon: Cooney 3, Daniher, Colyer, Watson, Heppell, Melksham, Goddard


Sydney: Parker, Jack, Kennedy, Laidler, Grundy, Bird
Essendon: Heppell, Melksham, Watson, Hurley, Cooney, Hooker


UMPIRES: Dalgleish, Chamberlain, Armstrong

CROWD: 23,274

VOTES: Hurley (Ess) 3, Parker (Syd) 2, Melksham (Ess) 1

About Tim Kemm

25 years old. Red, black and nothing else. Masters Student at Australian National University, Canberra (where every week is an away game)


  1. ned_wilson says

    Welcome Tim, great report. Wasn’t sure about having the Dons cast as the good guys, but Hurley has a bit of the Liam Neeson Jedi thing going on I recon. Suppose Hirdy has the ears and popularity of Jar-Jar Binks too.

  2. Sadly Tim, our little X-Wing squadron couldn’t get the job done against the might of the Death Star that is ANZ Stadium.

    We always seem to cause upsets in Round 1 (Sydney at Docklands in 2006, Adelaide in Adelaide in 2012 (I think)) so I wasn’t surprised to see us lead over the Swans. Was equally unsurprised that the fitness levels let us down.

    Very nervous about this week vs Hawthorn. An almighty flogging could be on the cards as the lack of match fitness comes into the variables by the 3rd qtr.

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