Round 11 – West Coast v Essendon: Just Desserts

Not much of a game.  My Eagles probably played their worst game for the season, and we won by 8 goals.  Go figure.

The only good part of the game was watching the ongoing humiliation of James Hird.  There’s sort of a “nya, nya cheats never prosper” schadenfreude to how his creation is crumbling in his own hands.

Last year in this game we had Essendon on toast at half time.  The coaching genius of Bomber Thompson emptied out the forward 50 and played Wintulich solo on MacKenzie, turning him around to exploit his slow turning speed.

By contrast Hird couldn’t coach water to run downhill.  Don’t pick a ruckman against Naitanui and Sinclair. Recruit Chapman and Cooney who look old, slow and disinterested.  Goddard just chases cheap kicks.  At least Gwilt earned his transfer fee.

Essendon set up with more men deep than The Hunt for Red October.  They try to run it out on the diagonals but by the time they get to the centre they have run out of soldiers and it just goes back over their head.  The Bombers had 50 more disposals for 20 less Inside 50’s (55 to 35).  Dumb football.

It’s the sort of “parking the bus” setup you use in the second leg of a cup tie when you got an away goal draw in the first leg.  Not football as we know it.

Forget WADA.  This crap is the punishment that Essendon and Hird deserve. But can you humiliate a narcissist?

On a still, mild auspring day (Perth doesn’t do winter any more we just have late autumn and early spring) the football was scrappy from start to finish.  The Eagles goal kicking yips continued for the third week running.  The 2-5 in the first quarter included 4 missed sitters.  Worrying.

By half time our lead had extended to 29 points, coming more from persistence than class.  Both sides were kicking poorly, fumbling and causing a lot of turnovers.

It was noticeable all game that Essendon had the best of the early part of quarters, but could not maintain their run and effort beyond 15 minutes.  Lack of leg speed; exhausting game plan or disinterest?  Some of each.

Four early goals in the last quarter to Kennedy and LeCras broke the trend and put the Eagles 8 goals clear.  Protracted junk time ensued.

The Eagles will take the 4 points for 8-3 and another handy percentage boost.  The players are starting to look like they need a rest, but Friday night at the MCG against the Tigers should generate one more effort before our break.

Yeo and Cripps had their worst games of the season.  Young Liam Duggan looks like he has just about run out of legs and Matt Rosa might be a better bet for now.  Xavier Ellis got plenty of touches at his first game back, but his kicking was poor.  Will be better for the run.

Wunderkind Jeremy McGovern looks bashed up and was subbed out at ¾ time.  Riewoldt and the Richmond talls will be a test for us next week.

On the positive side Jack Darling moved well and adds height and class to take some forward pressure off Josh Kennedy.  The running defence of Hurn, Wellingham, Butler and Sheppard continues to rebound.  Shuey was the most dangerous of the midfield, with Priddis and Gaff having their hard work diminished by poor disposal.   Mark LeCras was BOG and his classy touches stood out on a day of pedestrian football.

For Essendon Cale Hooker was manful in defence and held the Coleman medal leader for most of the game.  Shaun Edwards looked quick and classy in his first Essendon game after coming over from GWS.  At least he runs forward where most Essendon midfielders are conditioned to run sideways.  Jobe Watson does not look fit.  Heppell (who cut us up last year) and Stanton got plenty of touches, but again were so deep they created little danger.  Joe Daniher looks like a high jumper instead of a footballer, and his confidence is not helped by having to play as a lone tall up forward.

This was a typically scrappy mid-season game where one team had everything to play for, and the other is praying for WADA to put it out of the misery that Hird has delivered on his club.  Hubris is its own reward.

The Avenging Eagle even refused to watch the replay when she got home.  That’s what you call winning ugly.


WEST COAST   2.5   7.7  9.8   14.12  (96)

ESSENDON      2.0   3.2  5.7    6.10   (46)


West Coast: LeCras 4, Kennedy 3, Darling 2, Naitanui, Gaff, Sinclair, Selwood, Hill.

Essendon: Edwards 2, Heppell, Chapman, Melksham, Goddard.


West Coast: LeCras, Shuey, Wellingham, Gaff, Priddis, Naitanui, Schofield.

Essendon: Hooker, Hibberd, Edwards, Stanton, Heppell, Merrett.

Umpires: Donlon, Armstrong, McInerney

Crowd: 37,306


LeCras (WCE) 3; Shuey (WCE) 2; Hooker (E) 1




  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Geez it must have been scrappy for the avenging eagle not to watch the replay.
    Essendon are getting there just deserts how Hird is still allowed to be involved what so ever let alone be the coach is one of life’s mysteries.Hope McGovern comes up for this week thanks,PB

  2. very harsh words there pete !!!!!

  3. Peter Fuller says

    Your match report omitted an important detail. Enquiring minds want to know the extent and focus of your booing.

  4. E.regnans says

    Grand analysis & commentary PB.
    Love the running in diagonals.

    And in the same vein as P Fuller, I was listening out for your boos on Saturday.

    While the on-field punishment of Teflon J Hird has more than a whiff of just desserts, I’m still patiently waiting for someone of authority and perspective to mete out some consequences for the pharmacological experiments he oversaw.
    Very happy to see his ego-centric limitations playing out when put in charge of others. Looking forward to somebody explaining to him the nature of responsibility to others. Is there a Paris-based course?

  5. Dan Hansen says

    Not a truer word has been written. I’ve been saying for a while now that Essendon has to rid the club of everyone involved in the supplements scandal brfore it can move on. It needs a clean start and some fresh blood in at administration, coaching and playing levels. Essendon right now reminds of of Port during the dying days of Williams coaching stint.

    I am still scratching my head about bringing Sheady back. They need to get rid of a lot of people, stsrting with Hird.

  6. Brad Carr says

    Peter, a great result, if not a pretty way of getting it. Your comments are far more insightful for me – when the game is on at 2:30am here, I am relying on the AFL website’s highlights package to give me a ‘feel’ for the match, which means I really only get to see goals,,,

    And I loved your line about how “Hird couldn’t coach water to run downhill” – brilliant!

Leave a Comment