Freo no Easter bunnies this year.

On this day a long time ago, Jesus rose again and said “Let Daylight Savings Time end” and it did. And to celebrate this, I, along with a lot of other people around Australia, got an extra hours sleep as we turned the clock back an hour. Oh, and we also get Easter eggs.

To celebrate his career at Etihad Stadium, Matthew Lloyd did a lap of honour before this match, and unveiled the new ‘Lloyd’ end, covering the Coventry end sign, which will be the case for all Essendon home games this year. Don’t worry, Collingwood aren’t going down with a fight in that case. With 299 goals at Etihad, Lloyd kicked his 300th from 20m out as I listened on the radio. I secretly hoped he would miss, that would have been funny.

The game began and David Zaharakis got his toe onto the ball from a big scramble in the goalsquare, but Garrick Ibbotson answered, slotting a goal from a pack at the Lloyd end. Angus Monfries kicked well, putting through Essendon’s first, but my man Hayden Ballantyne showed his worth around goals with an open goal after a good mark to Aaron Sandilands. Michael Johnson put Freo in front with a mark and goal, but Scott Gumbleton showed a glimpse of why he was taken at pick 2 in the 2006 Draft, taking a great pack mark and slotting a goal from 50m, putting Essendon back in front for quarter time, 3.4 to 3.2.

The second quarter started and Zaharakis again got the first goal, but Chris Tarrant showed he still has the poise and class of a goalkicker, slotting through his first goal in what I imagine would be a very long time. Jobe Watson put through a nice goal, Des Headland replied with a goal, before running into an open goal, the second time in two rounds he has kicked two quick goals in succession. Gumbleton slotted his second, again putting Essendon back in front at the main break, 6.10 to 6.6.

The third quarter began and Ballantyne and young sensation Michael Barlow goaled to give Freo a 10 point break, before Monfries marked in the goalsquare uncontested to put through his second. Chris Mayne marked and goaled, before Matthew Pavlich put his first quarter woes behind him to slot his first. Mark McVeigh marked and put through a very impressive goal, before Paul Hasleby took a terrific mark for a man of his stature, and capped things off with a goal. Brent Prismall was impressive, and snapped a goal in high pressure, cutting the three quarter time margin for the Dockers to nine points, 11.10 to 9.13.

The last quarter began and I was quickly losing interest, mainly because I already knew what happened thanks to the radio as I was trying to find out the final scores from the game at AAMI Stadium. But I was inclined to sit through the next half hour of ad breaks, with the occasional footage of football thrown in. Ballantyne kicked a good goal, his third, before David Mundy kicked the goal of the day after a long run from the wing, slotting through his first of the day from 50. Paul Duffield marked after Sandilands took a big mark in the forward pocket before passing to Duffield. He goaled, and then Alex Silvagni received a free kick after he was bumped over by Monfries. He coolly slotted the goal, before Freo’s most important players, Pavlich and Sandilands, capped off the great day with a goal each, Fremantle running out 44 point winners, 17.11.113 to 9.15.69.

This was the first victory against Essendon in Victoria for Freo since 1998, and the first time since 1997 that they have won the opening two games of the year. They will comfortably be sitting in the top 4 come the conclusion of the round, and are not without a chance next weekend against Geelong. As for Essendon, they face a challenge in the form of Carlton next Saturday night, the two teams that most people wrote off for not having any quality forwards. I look forward to that clash with great interest. The Freo youngsters really stood out today, they gel together with the older players nicely, Ballantyne resembles the little Energizer Bunny off the TV, which is suitable since it is Easter. But the winners of the ‘Adam McFlee’ cup went to McPhee’s side the Fremantle Dockers. And don’t Essendon hate it.

Essendon 3.4—6.10—9.13—9.15.69

Fremantle 3.2—6.6—11.10—17.11.113


Essendon-Gumbleton 2, Monfries 2, Zaharakis 2, Watson, Prismall, McVeigh

Fremantle-Ballantyne 3, Headland 2, Pavlich 2, Ibbotson, Johnson, Tarrant, Barlow, Mayne, Hasleby, Mundy, Duffield, Silvagni, Sandilands


Essendon-Dempsey, Hocking, Prismall, Watson, Howlett, Gumbleton, Zaharakis

Fremantle-Sandilands, Barlow, Ballantyne, Hasleby, Broughton, Tarrant, Hayden, Silvagni

Crowd:  29,651 at Etihad Stadium

Votes:  3: Aaron Sandilands (F)  2: Michael Barlow (F)  1: Hayden Ballantyne (F)

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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