NAB Challenge: Demons’ loss not as bad as it seems

By Steve Healy

The NAB challenge. Far from the ultimate challenge in football, but it certainly pays off when you get to spend quality time at the footy at a ground like Princes Park (or Visy, or Optus). My younger brother Brendan finally agreed to come to the game with me, which is a first, since he doesn’t like attending footy at all.

It is cloudy overhead as we board the tram at the bottom of Elizabeth Street. A couple of Dees supporters are on the tram as well, but luckily, no Bombers. We arrive for the one o’clock start and walk around the stadium, and I am reminded of the days where real footy was played there. On that topic, I think they should bring it back as an AFL stadium, but the construction of the Carlton social club at the old Robert Heatley stand end really spoils that idea. I pay the fee to get us both in ($7) and we sit down on the wing in the front row, having a sea of empty seats to choose from. Soft rain falls as the teams come out on to the ground for their warm ups, I notice that James McDonald, Brad Green and Aaron Davey aren’t playing, joining many others like Bruce and Watts on the sidelines. But two who are playing – Tom Scully and Jack Trengove – are certainly the reason that many fans have come to the game this afternoon. Jordie Gysberts (pick 11), another player who I am eager to see in action, is having kick-to-kick with Tom Scully right in front of me.

The players line up in their positions to start the game – the Dees are wearing their white jumper and away shorts and Essendon are wearing their home apparel. The Demons start well. They immediately attack; Nathan Jones gets a free in the pocket but just misses to the right at the Legends Stand end. Two more behinds follow for the Dees, and I’m beginning to think that this is our lucky day, despite our early inaccuracy. Unfortunately, this comes unstuck. Lonergan kicks two for the Bombers in succession- one from a set shot, and one on the run. Hille goes back and slots one from 40, and the margin is at sixteen points. Petterd misses for the Dees at the other end, while new Bomber Mark Williams dribbles one through superbly from deep in the pocket. Davey and Stanton add goals for Essendon and it’s starting to look ugly, the Bombers lead by 32 points. Luckily, Jones kicks a goal, as does Grimes, who kicks a skilled goal on the run. The quarter time siren sounds, the Dees lead trail 2.6 18 to 6.1 37, and even though they missed early chances, they still seem to be in a fair position going into the second quarter. MacDonald has impressed for the Dees while pick 10 Jake Melksham has really stamped an early influence for the Bombers.

The Dees start the second quarter with some finesse – Jurrah marks explosively on the lead outside 50, before giving it off to Moloney, who bangs a long goal through from 60 metres, and to bring the Dees within two kicks. The Bombers reply with a goal through Davey, however. The red and blacks get another and I’m beginning to get worried. The run comes down a bit more heavily, and stems the flow, both teams trade behinds, and a scrappy end to the quarter results in a half time score of 3.9 27 to 8.5 53. Brendan and I decide to move seats, to see what it is like more behind the goals. A good start is needed for the Dees in the third term.

They get that good start. The Dees clear and a long goal to Bell, the unlikeliest of goal kickers, is the result. McVeigh answers for the Dons, but the Dees regain composure through a Petterd goal from 48 that lands two metres to the left of me. The Bombers reply again, but Grimes, who is pretty much best on ground, replies with a beautiful left foot kick, and the margin is back to 21. Goals from Monfries and Ryder (who is playing as a key forward) follow for the Dons, and the margin is looking dangerous again, but Martin is able to kick one through from a set shot, as well as Petterd who adds his third to the scoreboard. Nathan Jones marks a kick in at the defensive fifty. He keeps running, taking multiple bounces before having a shot from just inside 50. He just missed, if that had gone through it would have been one of the best goals ever. The siren sounds, the Dees are just behind by 21 again, 8.11 59 to 12.8 80, and I’m feeling confident. If we can get a couple of early goals we’re a real chance.

We move across to the other wing for the final quarter. It’s a dream start for the Demons; Petterd gets advantage and bangs through a goal. But it all goes downhill from here – Watson, Stanton and Ryder all kick goals, and its game over. Jurrah sets up Maric for a good one, and Grimes kicks his third, who has been a shining light today in the midfield.  The Bombers rap the game up with two more goals, and Morton gets hit hard and hobbles off the ground with a knee injury right in front of me. Hopefully it’s not bad. The final siren sounds, Bombers by 40 points, but the final margin isn’t really indicative of the Dees’ efforts, more like 20 would have seemed about right.

I head on to the ground to have a few shots at goal at the Legends Stand end. It was arguably the best part of the day, even though one snap by me was dangerously close to going out of the stadium. They kept the net up behind the goals, but it still didn’t stop some seats from being destroyed. I kick a few great goals, none better than a banana from the boundary line, along with a few disappointing misses. This is footy at its finest. After 45 minutes, we head home.

I was really impressed with Grimes today, 32 possessions, three goals and explosive run. Scully showed a lot of dash too, while Ryder, Stanton, Watson, Dempsey (who played on Jurrah) were the Bombers best. It’s a good thing that this game meant nothing.

Melbourne 2.6 3.9 8.11 11.14 (80)
Essendon 6.1 8.5 12.8 18.12 (120)
My Votes: 3. Jack Grimes (MELB), 2. Brent Stanton (ESS), 1. Paddy Ryder (ESS).

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.


  1. Damian Watson says

    Great work Steve,

    It must have been a good high scoring contest.

    In some ways I wish the ground was still used as an AFL venue, it was a big talking point this time last year when the stadium deals were being finalised but the chances are fairly slim at the moment.

    It’s good to see that Victoria Park is making a return to VFL footy as well.

  2. Steve Healy says

    Thanks Damo, yeah it was a high scoring second half especially considering the rain. I’d be happy for it to continue as an AFL venue, but im not sure what theyll do about the carlton social club end.

    Is it?

  3. Damian Watson says

    Yeah the Collingwood VFL team are making a long awaited return to the old Vic Park this season.

    I read a good article in the Herald Sun that many parents are attending these games with their kids to give them an insight into what footy at the old ground was like.

  4. Steve Healy says

    ah, how heart warming from a tabloid news paper.

    I’d love to go back to Vic park

  5. Damian Watson says

    do I hear an invitation Steve? lol kidding.

    Yes Steve the Herald Sun provides news for the people, not opinionated papers that are tossed under a chair on the train lol.

  6. Steve Healy says

    Nah lol,

    No, this “news for people” is left all scrapped up on a train seat, and im pretty sure the only things under train seats are old McDonald’s footys lol.

    Damo, do you wanna go on Friday night instead?

  7. Damian Watson says

    lol that was funny, I was wondering where that footy went.

    Yeah once again it’s up to you, but I’ll probably have to ask first, I reckon the Bulldogs-Port game on Friday would be entertaining but as we learnt from last night you can’t percieve the outcome of matches.

    Are you still writing a report?

  8. Steve Healy says

    Yeah I’m writing a report, Bulldogs V Port suits me, I’m really eager to see both teams in action, and another friend asked me to go to St.Kilda V Freo.

    So Bulldogs v Port it is? if your allowed?

  9. Damian Watson says

    Yep sounds good! yeah if I’m allowed

    status- watching clips of Juddy!

  10. Damian Watson says

    By the way Steve, Elizabeth is a northen Adelaide suburb it’s the town where my Dad grew up, it’s probably not the best place to reside lol. I’m assuming they will play at the Central Districts ground this weekend.

    Did anyone watch the Ice Hockey this morning? good to see the Canadians defeat those smug Americans in the final.

  11. Steve Healy says

    yeah I heard that its a bad area lol Damo. I’ll see if I can get a radio stream off the internet.

    Nah, I dont have time to watch TV in the morning

  12. Do you mean Elizabeth Vale near Salisbury? That’s where my Aunty lives, it’s an alright place.

    I actually think my report for North and Freo is one of my better ones, even though i hadn’t seen a bit of match coverage till this morning on my teachers laptop. It was a good piece of play by Ballantyne, and that’s all. Murphy was lucky not to stuff up that final kick. Were you guys right in front of where he kicked it?

  13. Steve Healy says

    kind of, he was at the same end of us, we sat in the left forward pocket (from behind the goals) right next to the Freo race.

    I’ve got the pics but its gonna be hard to upload them on Facebook with slow internet.

    Great to see your internets working Josh

  14. Danielle says

    for those who can watch my video and dont want to see all the other classes my class begins at 3:00mins.
    lol i downloaded it, i look so cool with one sock! :P

  15. I’m watching it now Danni..

  16. Steve Healy says

    how many year 12’s are there at your school Danni? and how many classes?

  17. Danielle says

    um we have 4 classes of about 26-7 each

  18. Steve Healy says

    oh ok, we’ve got 8 classes.

    I’m trying to watch the video now, youtube’s only blocked on my other computer

  19. Funny video Danni, you have a very unique dancing style lol.

    I got sent a pretty funny video today by greg: A fight between two chicks at our school caught on camera last week. It’s pretty funny, do you guys wanna see it? Haha

  20. Danielle says

    lmaoo i know huh?
    it was so funny cos during the practices we didnt really put much into in but when we did it on the day..BAMMM!!lmaoo
    My inner Gangsta unleashed! lmaoo
    how funny is the start when we sent out our teacher all alone?

    lol..okay but dont post the link here..

  21. Steve Healy says

    yeah all right. hahaha has that Jack thingo gone off your shoulder yet Danni?

  22. Danielle says

    321- ohh yeah i took a shower athat day cos i went in the pool after the dance..its long gone :(
    “OH OH OH OH!!!!!” ;)

  23. Damian Watson says

    Whats the name of the video Danni?

    By the way Danni you have to go one of the matches at Vic Park, you would fit right in lol.

  24. Steve Healy says

    That video’s scaring me Danni. Its the most weird thing I’ve ever seen!

  25. Danielle says

    23- i emalied u the link

    24- ROFLLLLL

  26. I’m just starting watching the vid though, it sounds as though your school is pretty small Danni, although to be fair its girls only.

    Danni you going to Richmond v Collingwood at Visy on Friday at 4pm?

  27. Damian Watson says

    Well I can’t see on the e-mail lol doesn’t matter I’m sure the routine was good.

  28. Danielle says

    26- Nope im not :(
    my friend want to go and shes like
    ‘Danni wheres visy park>?”
    im like
    “dude..i duuno!” lol

  29. Steve Healy says

    mines boys only, weve got 1300

  30. Danielle says
  31. Steve Healy says


  32. Mine’s co-ed, we have about the same Steve.

    It’s in Carlton Danni, its strange having a Richmond Collingwood match at Carlton’s ground.

    My oral’s tomorrow.

  33. Danielle says

    31- Lmfaooo geee ive neva been there.

  34. It was my english teachers birthday today so we all sang happy birthday and got her a box of chocolates, so she shared them with us and got rid of the detention she had ready for us at lunch time because we hadn’t read the Mockingbird book.

  35. Steve Healy says

    sorry lol I did overreact a bit.

    Its a great ground

  36. Me neither, but everyone knows whose home ground Visy Park is. Google Maps it if you want to see more specifically.

  37. Danielle says

    32- goodluck
    *sends gangsta love*

  38. What’s Victoria Park?

  39. Steve Healy says

    Are you going to the game Adam?

  40. Steve Healy says

    38- WHATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT???????????????????????????????????????????

    Are you crazy?

  41. Danielle says

    40- hahahahahhahahahahahah
    steves so cute

  42. Planning to, I have a spare Friday period 6 which gives me time to get there by train.

  43. 40: Haha gotcha. But i have no idea where it is either.

    Anyone think Port Adelaide can win on friday night? I do, their youngsters will really take it up to the Doggies, and will play Fremantle in the NAB Cup Grand Final. No I’m serious.

  44. Damian Watson says

    hahaha Danni some of those girls didn’t look too bad.

    Josh you are joking right?

  45. Steve Healy says

    Port might win, I dont think Freo will though.

    I might be going to both games. Im going to Bulldogs V Port with Damo if he can

  46. Steve Healy says

    It’s in Collingwood OF COURSE! where on earth have you been living

  47. 44: Do you mean on Josh thinking Port Adelaide can win? Or Josh not knowing what Victoria Park is? I think the second error is much more glaring while the first is possible, but unlikely.

  48. Jeromey Webberley – I think we all know the answer to THAT question…

  49. Well St Kilda haven’t been outstanding really. But i suppose Fremantle have only played Melbourne and North Melbourne.

    Steve, the reason i was going to ring you last night was to see how Ryan Bastinac and Marcus White faired?

  50. Danielle says

    44- lmaoo Damo and think of how deprived they are locked away from the wonderfull invention of BOYS! lol

  51. Steve Healy says

    46- Sorry, not the right expression to use lol

  52. Damian Watson says

    Yeah I probably can but that might change at some stage of the week.

    Josh have you heard of Hoddle street?

  53. Damian Watson says

    That’s probably true Danni lol.

    status- starting to regret mentioning Billy Ray Cyrus in my article, it probably scared everyone away and I don’t blame them lol.

  54. At least you didn’t mention Miley Cyrus.

  55. Damo can you attend any matches during Round 1? What about you Adam? Don’t even bother answering that question Danni.

    Oh and the girl in the video wearing the pink fluffy shorts or something looked alright..

    Hoddle Street? Nope.

  56. Steve Healy says

    Im still watching the video Danni. I’ve watched 20 seconds of your dance routine. Its still loading, from what I’ve seen so far, you aren’t a stand out player but you do your job confidently each week. One of the other players is dancing their heart out though, but height and fitness may be a factor if you want to consistently be a standout each week during the season.

  57. Danielle says

    55- lmao sorry shes taken (apperantly)

  58. Damian Watson says

    Maybe we’ll see, I probably can.

    Hoddle Street is the famous old gateway into the city from Collingwood and it travels straight past Victoria Park.

    You have a lot to learn when you eventually head down to the ‘big smoke’ Josh lol.

  59. Steve Healy says

    How can you not have heard of hoddle street?

    Josh, Marcus White and Bastinac played solid games, not outstanding but they picked up 28 possessions between them, and I few White presenting around the half back line quite well at various times throughout the match

  60. Josh – I don’t want to confirm or rule out the possibility. Maybe.

    Steve – What are you talking about?

  61. Damian Watson says

    Yeah I saw your performance Danni, I’m trying to point out which one you are.

    I feel sorry for your teacher lol.

  62. Danni which one’s Candy?

  63. Danielle says

    56- lol its my fault i shoulda went on a diff part of the stairs for the starting bit, just diudnt want to miss the starting cue from the teacher-ganster. lmaoo

  64. Danielle says

    61- yellow singlet, one sock denim shorts

    62- lmao candy is in the first dance in the yellow feather bowa

  65. 58: I’m planning to move to Melbourne as soon as i can really, so yes i do have a lot to learn.

    I’ve got a tough decision to make. Footy training for Waaia starts on Wednesday, at the same time as Tennis. But my parents want me to go to Tennis because we are preparing for finals now, although i’ve just realized their are no games on the weekend so maybe i can go to footy training.

    The only street i know in Melbourne is Ballantyne Street, Cecil Curcuit and Dent Street. Oh and Punt Road..

  66. Danielle says

    61- lmaoo he didnt wanna do it but we were like “PLEASEEEEEEEE!! PRETTY PLEASEEEEEE!!”
    he a crowd favourite so it helped our dance lol

  67. What are Ballantyne Street and Cecil Circuit?

    Haven’t you even heard of:
    -Flinders Street
    -Spencer Street
    -Queen, King, Swanston St
    – Lygon St

  68. Damian Watson says

    have you possibly heard of a small insignificant road named Flinders St? lol

  69. Danielle says

    Lygon street- muzza central
    aka- danni’s fav place to get a gelati

  70. 67: Oh yeah, those too..

    Cecil Curcuit is Michael’s “street” or curcuit. And Ballantyne street is a side-street on the way to Daff’s house.

  71. So you know a side street on the way to Daff’s house but don’t know Daff’s actual street?

  72. Nope, i only know Ballantyne Street because of my favourite Docker, Hayden Ballantyne.

  73. My North v Freo report is up!! I sent it 10 minutes ago! That was way quick..

  74. Damian Watson says

    mmm gelati, well well Danni look at you go, it was funny how they blew the whistle at the end and the filmer cried “Don’t stop it!”

    I think I sent you an e-mail with my address.

    You should have heard the North supporters giving Ballantyne a bit of advice in no uncertain terms last night.

  75. Who was the filmer? It sounded like a guy, so must have been a teacher?

  76. Danielle says

    75- nah its one of the students.

    that dance was so fun lmaoo
    our teacher was supposed to wear the class room clock but he left it on the bus! LMAOOO

  77. 76: Maybe he did it on purpose..

  78. Danielle says

    76- ROFL nahh he didnt lmao u should have seen it
    “UMM sir wernt u supposed to wear the clock?”



  79. Hey Danni you’ll be pleased to know I haven’t shaved for a week, do you want to see my beard?

  80. Steve Healy says

    Back from dinner

  81. Danielle says

    79- YES!!! :)

  82. 80: Steve, you know what we agreed on.

  83. hey all!

  84. Danielle says

    83- hey dom


  85. Email sent Danni.

  86. Can i see too? Is it a full-on Ben Hudson beard? Lol

  87. No way Josh, it’d take about a year to do that.

  88. Danielle says

    omg Adam you have the prettyest eyes I hav ever seen im my life…..

  89. That’s one hell of a brow Adam lol.

    Even prettier than my eyes? :| I see how it is..

  90. Do I?

  91. Danielle says

    89- Joshy u have nice eyes, but u know i have a thing for hazel!! (damn u adam)

    YES U DO!!! OMGGGGGGGGG just gorgeous!

  92. Steve Healy says

    A girl once told me that I had beautiful eyes

  93. Steve Healy says

    Adam’s eyes looked unique but I dunno about gorgeous

  94. Danielle says

    corse she did Steve u guys have nice blue eyes and a girl who jsut loves blue eyes like i love hazel would react how i did to adam! lmaoo
    sorry for scaring you but seriously dude you have amazing eyes!

  95. Well if my eyes are nice, my eyebrows aren’t fantastic. I’d have a monobrow if I didn’t wax them.

    Should I keep growing the beard Danni?

  96. Yes Adam, grow a Ben Hudson/Travis Johnstone beard and maybe it’ll look something like that by the time of the 2010 Almanac Launch.

  97. Danielle says

    95- YES!! 100% yes lol id give it another week or 2.

    your so luckyy!!! such pretty eyes!

  98. Steve Healy says

    My eyes look pretty plain in my eyes, hahaha that sounds so stupid.

  99. Well, I really don’t know what to say, but thanks Danni. The beard’s only an 8-dayer at the moment.

    Going to do some English in preparation for my oral tomorrow, did some practice with my friend earlier after school.

  100. Status – loving how the Roos are ahead of the Dockers in NAB Cup Premiership favouritism.

  101. Danielle says

    98- steve like i said to a girl who loves blue eyes, yours are amazing to others they are nice.

    99- ohh dont worry just keep eyecontact with your pretty eyes and A+ for you on that speech! :P

  102. 96- we have to be clean shaven when we go to school, otherwise they make us shave in the toilets

  103. 102: Omg really? Please tell me they provide you with fresh razors.

  104. dont know, never been told off, guessing they do

  105. 102- Lucky old mate greg dosnt go to your school dom.

  106. Steve Healy says

    They have similiar policy at my school as well, but it doesnt trouble me at all lol

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