Essendon continue their great form

As  young kid I went with my family to the Footsray Football ground  to watch Essendon take on the Bulldogs. on a number of occasions . One game in particular will always stay in my memory. On this particular day Footsray were giving Essendon a footy lesson, it was bitterly cold and very very wet with a wind that just about blew you off your boundary side “seat”. The seat by the way consisted of three planks of wood that circled the ground. The drips from people standing behind you always managed to find a way down the back of your neck, which didn’t add to the comfort. A gale blew right down the ground and at three quarter time the Don’s were well down. Quite a few Essendon supporters called it a day but we hung in there hoping for a miracle. At three quarter time a new player for Essendon came on, his name Alby Law, playing maybe his first game. The Dons had the assistance of the hurricane in the last quarter and they  kicked a few early goals , and then if my memory serves me correctly , Alby Law kicked a couple a remarkable goals from the boundary  line. Essendon were kicking goals from everywhere and  when the final siren went the Dons had triumphed by a few points. We all forgot how wet and cold we were as we headed for the train to take us home  and read about the game in the” final scores” edition of the “Sporting Globe”.

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the old Scraggers as we used to call Footsray. When the old VFL tried to amalgamate Footscray and Fitzroy all those years ago I was teaching at Yarraville Primary School and the effect on the  local community and the school community in particular  that they may lose their footy club was a truly emotional experience, for  all concerned.  Parents and grandparents of the students would sit around discussing the events with tears in their eyes. People who didn’t have” two bob” to rub together went out collecting for the footy club and would meet each evening to plan extra fun raising activities. I gave a donation and told the group it was so I could watch the Dons keep beating them for the next 50 years. So don’t get me wrong, I will never have a second club, but Footsray will always have good memories for me.   As it turned out the club that suffered was  the old VFL/AFL Fitzroy who were unceremoniously kicked north a few years later.

But for tonight’s game, there is a fair bit hanging on this game and a few questions to be asked. The first one on my mind is , can Essendon  really keep up the blistering pace and  ball skills  for the whole game ?   Can Footscray handle the controversy, of the ignorant press comments made by Akermanis?  And  just how good are the Doggies?  I was thinking at the start of the game that if the Don’s can  stay with the Dogs  until the last quarter who knows what can happen at the end.  I like the look of the Essendon side especially with  Leroy Jetta and Alwyn Davey marauding like sharks on the forward line, and Paddy Ryder and David Hille  great  around the ground.

As usual the game starts at breakneck pace, Essendon get the first two goals through Jobe Watson and Heath Hocking but the Doggies bounced back through Barry Hall and Lindsay Gilbee on turnovers. Another goal to each team and the scores were level at quarter time. The Don’s  tackling was ferocious  and their speed blistering, but somehow the Dogs who according to the radio were slower and looking tired, were still level on the scoreboard.  I reckon the Dons should have been in front so as the second term commences I’m feeling quietly confident. Our forward line is working well, Michael Hurley is contributing and Scott Gumbleton is repaying years of patience by the club, so all we need are goals, lots of them. And goals did come through that human dynamo Davey, and Ryder and the Don’s are keeping up the pressure with speedy movement of the ball  and great tackling. Not a lot in it at half time, can they continue with this great form.

The answer is a  resounding yes , The Dons really turned it on, playing great footy and reaping the benefits with a five goal lead before the Bulldogs got a couple of late goals so at the “orange break we lead by just over four goals. I tend to be a bit nervous in every last quarter of a footy match and tonight is no exception. Surely Footscray can’t play this badly all night or are Essendon really this good. The early minutes are hard pressure footy but then the Dons score two quick goals and we are six goals up. The radio experts are predicting an Essendon victory, but then the Doggies hit back with a number of goals but luckily for us they had left their run far too late. Dons by 9 points.

Essendon were certainly the better side on the night, faster, more committed, and were served extremely well by Scott Gumbleton( who earlier in the season had me more than a little concerned about his ability to play a centre half forward role) Jetta, Winderlich( hasn’t he come along this year) Watson, Davey.     Hang on, they all played well.

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