Round 1 – Sydney v Essendon: Maybe the Easter Show Should Go Back To Moore Park

Sydney Swans v Essendon
4:30pm, Saturday 4th April 2015
ANZ Stadium, Homebush

Wayne Ball


Why is this game being played here? It’s been nine days since the World Cup Semi Final was played at the SCG. In spite of the rain there is a very large crowd at the Easter Show, the smell of fried food on a stick hangs heavy on the walk from the train station to the stadium, which leads me to wonder why isn’t there much of a crowd in here?

The AFL never misses a chance to highlight how much better organized they are than the NRL (which is a very low set bar at the best of times) but they have seriously dropped the ball here. Entry to the Easter Show includes entry to an NRL match in the Olympic Stadium and vice versa. No such deal exists between the Royal Agricultural Society and the AFL. Score one to the NRL.

Twenty hours ago this joint was a war zone as 40,523 disgruntled Canterbury and Souths fans vented their frustrations at the diabolical state of NRL refereeing standards. There’s been a lot of wages paid overnight to transform this venue for the oval code.

Which now adds to the question of why are we here? A 100 metre stretch of the lower bowl seats on either wing have been wound back 18 metres and the temporary turf has been laid along the deep gutter tracks which indicate where the front row of those seats sit for the soccer, league and union.

It’s been raining solid since last night, so all that turf would have been laid out and rolled in when wet. Won’t take much traffic for it to start coming loose, there could be an ankle or an ACL taken on one of those joins today. Why aren’t we at the SCG?

The Bombers have been the story of the week, the Swans have been relatively quiet in the local media in the lead up to the first round. The rain has held off for the past half hour or so, but come the bounce it is pelting down once again.

The Swans first quarter effort reflects the weather. Four goals to nil and the Swans never looked like scoring. The only positive was the first touch and big fly of debutant Isaac Heeney. In the second he misses off the left foot, but moments later takes the contested mark on the 50, he loads up off the right foot and misses everything, but gee whiz, you can see the class is there.

Bird marks and kicks the Swans first. Jack bombs long but misses. Tippett, takes a great mark on the third grab, but he hits the post. Now Heeney snaps from the pack but misses again.

Essendon are gifted a free right on half time, but they hit the post. 1.7 to 5.5 but it could be so much worse for the Swans. Fried food on a stick outside the stadium seems more appetizing than what’s been served up so far.

Two 50 metre penalties are given away and yield the visitors 7 points. Longmire’s half time speech isn’t 10 minutes old but discipline mustn’t have been part of it. It takes 14 minutes into the second half for Franklin to kick his first, but the Bombers respond. Goodes is subbed for Anakin Skywalker. A late bomb from Laidler and the margin is 34 at the final break.

An early goal to bring the Swans back into it is disallowed and then Parker is poleaxed by Franklin’s right hip. Buddy and Tippett goal from scrappy play, the margin is now 20 with 15 to go. Tippett takes a great running mark and goals.

Play of the game is Buddy making a goal saving tackle on the defensive 50. A couple of behinds and Bird snaps a high floater and Captain Jack ties it up and finally the Sydney chant emanates around the ground and this quarter has been going for half an hour. Buddy runs onto a loose ball 20 metres out and drills it. Swans in front for the first time.

The clincher comes from the debutant from Newcastle. Are there any other Heeney’s in the academy?

Might go for a ride on the roller coaster to calm the heart rate down.

Sydney          0.1  1.7  3.8  10.12 72
Goals: Franklin 3, Bird Tippett 2, Heeney Jack Laidler 1

Essendon      4.3  5.5  9.6  9.6 60
Goals: Cooney 3, Colyer Daniher Goddard Heppell Melksham Watson 1

Crowd 23,274

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About Wayne Ball

Tragic fan of the Australian and NSW cricket teams (for those of you outside NSW, there is a difference, despite what David Hookes said). Not a fan of T20. Penrith Panthers are the only club of decency and all which is good in Rugby League, the Waratah's were once the national team of Rugby Union, the first non Victorian team in the VFL/AFL is the Sydney Swans, and they all enjoy my passionate support. Sings for Wanderers. Internationally, I have been to see the Oakland Athletics and Green Bay Packers play. One day, I'll see Norwich City play for the FA Cup at Wembley.


  1. Peter flynn says

    Just looking through Essendon’s form line in 2010 and 2011.

    Interesting reading.

  2. Kath Presdee says

    We got entry to the show with our GWS membership. You should join the dark side mate!

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