Expectations Overturned

First game of footy for me this season and you couldn’t wish for a better day.  After a cool foggy morning, the sun burst through just before eleven o’clock and we were treated to a first class day, warm  with just a hint of a zephyr, love that word zephyr.  And what a picture the “G” was, on this Saturday afternoon, the grass looked like a bowling green and the mood of the spectators was full of anticipation, Carlton supporters confidently parading in the navy blue and Dons resplendent in black and red. Not that this particular Don supporter was confident or optimistic about the outcome of today’s game. Last week against the Gold Coast Meter Maids they looked hopeless. If my memory serves me right, the Maids were actually in front just before three quarter time, before the Dons fell over the line at the final siren by an unimpressive 17 points.


And what about today’s opponents?  The Blues have captured the imagination of all the scribes and commentators this season. Undefeated  like the Dons, but with  much more impressive performances.  Last week they gave Collingwood a right royal thumping, and everyone has them as a premiership contender. I also noticed in “The Age ” no one gave Essendon a chance for today, so I’m really hoping for a good battle and not a blow out like Carlton gave us in last year’s final series.


The ball is bounced right on 1.45 and  I reckon a few fans were caught out by the early start.  Both teams mean business. It looked a bit like a series of rugby scrums, but at least the Dons were not allowing Carlton to dominate the ball ups, as a matter of fact Tom Bellchambers was getting more than his fair share of the hit outs and Jobe Watson and Brett Stanton were burrowing deep into the packs.  Tackling was fierce and I felt the Dons were tougher and stronger and had more desire.  Carlton had two off within a few minutes, Laidler with a knee and Carrazzo with a shoulder. By quarter time Carlton led by four, but I reckon on effort alone the Dons should have been in front.


The second quarter certainly had an effect on the cockiness of the Blue fans, Essendon added 5 goals 5 to Carlton’s 3 miserly points. And the Dons should have been further in front if Stewart Crameri had not missed two absolute sitters. Fair dinkum, I could have kicked them with my non preferred foot. Essendon continued with the pressure around the packs  and  had winners all over the ground, Carlton looked unsure and made numerous mistakes spilling marks , fumbling and kicking poorly. Essendon by 28 at half time.


I felt sure that Carlton would spring back after the long break, but apart from an Eddie Betts goal early on, the Dons  had real live wires up front with Alwyn Davey scoring goals ,tackling and breaking into space and Stewart Crameri adding to his tally of goals and points. I was finding it hard to believe that the Dons were still in front and the Carlton supporters were really giving it to the Blues for every mistake they made. And they made plenty. One barracker near me was pretty happy his partner had to have a toilet break, and really gave it to the Blues. I was relieved when she got back, I thought he was on his way to a massive heart attack. But he and all the other Blue fans had no effect, at three quarter time the Dons led 12.17 to 5.12 .


Could we really hang on and win? I wanted two quick goals, we got one, but they got one too.  Carlton looked dangerous many times, but poor disposal and poor kicking for goal did not help them. Jarrod Waite was great in the air but couldn’t buy himself a goal. As the last quarter continued the Dons hung on, a few “dead cat bounce goals” from Carlton were too late and the Dons sealed the game late in the quarter with a goal to Angus Monfries.  The nerves settled as we played out the last 2 or 3 minutes, siren,  what a great win.  No one gave us a chance, and to defeat the “old enemy” in such a way, is fantastic .   Essendon by 30 points.


I met the Carlton Four at the Rose Hotel after the game. This time it wasn’t me that had to eat “Humble Pie “. Liv, Michael,Rob and Rod greeted me with a congratulatory beer  and a fun time was had by all. Australian footy is a great game and through it you meet terrific people.


Best player for the Dons.  Bellchambers, Ryder, Watson, Stanton, Hibbert, Melksham, Lonergan, and the other fifteen.


Carlton. Waite, Henderson, Murphy and a very quiet Judd.


Goals   Essendon  Crameri 5 (should have been 10) Davey 3, Monfries Stanton Fletcher(what a goal) Zaharakis,Melksham,Hurley, Ryder.


Carlton  Betts 4 (can someone buy him some footy shorts) Gibbs, Mclean, Judd, Garlett, Murphy, Robinson and Hampson.


Rod Oaten




  1. da da da da da, da da da…………………………….d’ohhh!

  2. Don’t sell Crameri short based on his kicking, the guy is flying this season. So competitive and strong. I’ll settle for eleven shots on goal every week!

  3. Pamela Sherpa says

    Good point Syd . Crameri must be running the backmen raggard, but just think, the Bombers could have beaten the Blues by SO MANY MORE goals !

  4. Lib Dalla says

    Congratulations Rod. Unsure what is harder to take… the humble pie or the bitter pill.
    Footy is truly great when we can share a beer (or two) and a yarn at a pub with arch enemy’s.
    Looking forward to the next time we play. Hopefully it will be your shout.

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