Round 10 – Essendon v GWS: Stuck in the back pocket

 

When your entire TV viewing seems to involve Dan Andrews’ press conferences on Facebook Live and Essendon FC on Channel Seven, life can seem a bit contorted. Gloomy even.

 

I’m finding that 2020 COVID AFL delivers high lows and low highs, in that no result is ever worth a round of drinks either way. With shorter quarters tailor-made for coaches whose strategy only seems limited by the boundary line and some teams sleeping in their beds while others tick their little breakfast slips with little pencils for weeks on end, it’s an easy year to write off. It may seem odd given the seriousness of 2020, but I’m finding that a bit of detachment doesn’t hurt now and then. When the world is giving you daily politics and daily footy, coping mechanisms are important.

 

I’d happily acknowledge this sedated view could be borne from watching the Dons, who could be renamed The White Dashes given how middle of the road they are. That was illuminated against GWS as it seemed to be only a matter of time until one of the Giants’ tall, handsome, confident and skillful players gave it to one of their other tall, handsome, confident and skillful players to get them in front. The Bombers also made their fair share of errors too, which would normally have seen them receive plenty of ‘advice’ from the Docklands home crowd. Like all teams, Essendon has enough fans who think the old teams were better (when they themselves were also younger, conveniently) and that they would’ve chased harder…right after they prized themselves from those pesky fold-up plastic seats.

 

This overall averageness has been exacerbated by the constant scheduling on Channel Seven, which involves Bruce and Brian calling remotely. God bless Bruce, as he’s stuck with Essendon through thick and thin, but when you’re calling a game on a near-empty Gold Coast ground like it’s at a packed MCG and you’re sitting in Adelaide, you’re not going to hit the pitch like Glenn McGrath. Though my living room is a cosy space full of family photos and covered in toys arranged in a lockdown spread, it becomes highly uncomfortable when these callers fawn over each other and the game like they’re all as good as they were 25 years ago.

 

The Bombers’ repeated, unsuccessful attempts at clearing kicks from defence may have been noted by prominent EFC fan, Dan Andrews, who has seemed stuck in the back pocket with Cameron and Himmelberg bearing down on him of late. This week’s pressers were particularly lengthy, with Stage 4 restrictions being outlined. Given employment, services, food supply and childcare were affected, this is understandable – the latter especially so, as anyone who has had to fill out any kind of form relating to the matter, or dealt with a waiting list not as lengthy but not as rewarding as the MCC, would attest. In contrast to the footy, these pressers have gone from having a negligible, apathetic audience to a wide and highly engaged one. Journalists who usually have their end product judged under a byline are now having their kicks and smothers heard live as they climb over each other to question like a pack at the end of (another) long bomb down the line.

 

After one grueling session this week, The Australian’s Rachel Baxendale was the subject of torrid online abuse after her repeated questioning of Andrews re: hotel quarantine. What may hardly have been seen at any other time – a journalist’s dogged pursuit of a politician at midday on a workday – was now being viewed as off the mark by hordes of people who were tuning in to see if they still had a job or if they had to complete their jobs while home schooling. Of course, there would also be those who barrack for red or blue regardless and are tuning in to see whether Dan could get the four points or cop a season-defining loss. Baxendale took to Twitter to address the abuse, which sadly read to be similar to that received by AFL players (female and male) and, specific to last night’s game, Giants skipper Callan Ward.

 

It’s hard to understand how someone could spout such hate, be that on Level 1 at Marvel Stadium or in a social media comments section. Like the footy commentary, these comments can be muted, but you occasionally feel like you may miss out on something, so you check in. The reality is, it won’t be anything important that you won’t read about in the reviews. But, like my Glaswegian mother who wrote half a dozen unfinished angry letters to Sam Newman during the 1990s, you still get sucked in occasionally.

 

Like many Victorians, in our house we’re getting through this period with good humour (that can admittedly turn dry and perhaps unhelpful on my part) and taking it day by day. Our two kids are now out of kinder and childcare, so Dan’s pressers are intertwined with Bluey. Given the skill of the writers, I’m eagerly anticipating the ‘Lockdown’ two-part (fingers crossed) episodes that must surely be in the pipe. Hopefully it doesn’t involve Bingo calling her Dad a dirty piece of you-know-what and Bluey trolling her Mum from her burner account because they took too long assembling the flatpack swing. Although fans of Bandit (the Dad), like fans of Andrews, do admire his patience in the face of daily questioning.

 

The Dons have eight games left, which could mostly be knocked over in the lockdown weeks. Like Dan’s pressers, I’ll feel the need to watch them, while probably getting frustrated throughout it all – at least the footy provides the comfort that it’s got nothing to do with anything really – We do need to be informed, we do need to question and we do need to be passionate, but we can’t just wedge ourselves in our chairs and shout. In most cases, the participants can’t hear it anyway, and it’s just making it unbearable for others.

 

Let’s just hope we can clear it out of our backline soon.

 

 

 

 

ESSENDON                                     0.2     6.3     7.5    8.7 (55)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
         0.2     2.5     4.7    8.11 (59) 

 

GOALS
Essendon:
Langford 2, Zaharakis, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Shiel, McKenna, Draper, Saad
Greater Western Sydney: Shaw 2, Cameron 2, Coniglio, Finlayson, Himmelberg, Ward 

 

BEST
Essendon:
Merrett, Ridley, Saad, Hurley, McGrath, Langford
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Taranto, Whitfield, Haynes, Kelly, Shaw 

 

INJURIES
Essendon: Townsend (concussion), Ridley (ribs)
Greater Western Sydney: Davis (knee)

 

 

Read more from Andrew Else HERE.

 

To return to the Home Page click HERE

 

Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE

 

 

To find out more about Almanac memberships CLICK HERE

 

About Andrew Else

Andrew has self-reported to this site as a lifetime Essendon supporter. He also played local footy for Lara and Melbourne Uni Blacks.

Comments

  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    You summed up the Bombers well Andrew- middle of the road . We have too many middle sized players, lack true big forwards and players who can kick over a jam tin. There is ironically some class there with the former Giants players , Smith and Shiel . I doubt there will ever be a team to match our eighties and 90’s teams . They were magnificent.

Leave a Comment

*