Round 14 – Essendon v St. Kilda: What Were You Thinking James?

James Hird is a stubborn man.

The last two years of drug-induced scandal have shown over and over that James will stick to his guns. Rarely has he wavered from whichever stance he has. At Etihad Stadium on Sunday however, I witnessed the true depths of the great man’s will.

Essendon, whilst playing some truly shambolic football when attempting to score in recent weeks, have at least had our defence stand tall in 2015. Leading the charge has been Michael Hurley. But steady-as-ever, the rock that has held the back-half efforts together is Cale Hooker. The stats speak for themselves: League leader for intercept possessions and intercept marks. The footy’s been down the wrong end of the field for the Bombers quite a bit this year, but Cale has faced each challenge, each opponent head on, and won most of those encounters.

So why James?

Why?

When our midfield was getting torn to shreds, our pressure non-existent, and the ball being sent into our defensive 50 a lazy 60 times, DID CALE HOOKER PLAY AT MOTHERTRUCKIN’ FULL FORWARD FOR 90% OF THE GAME?!?!?!

Don’t get me wrong, our forward set-up hasn’t exactly been running smoothly this season, and now that Carlisle and Chapman are injured Daniher doesn’t have a lot of support.

BUT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SILVER, GOLD, SHINY, AND HAS THE WORDS ‘PREMIERSHIP CUP’ WRITTEN ON IT, WHY DID YOU KEEP CALE HOOKER AT FULL FORWARD?

Heading into ‘The Dome’, promotion men were handing out ‘Scratch & Win’ Cards for Roll’d (the McDonalds of Vietnamese Street Food). If Joe Daniher kicked a goal, you could claim a free rice paper roll. Jobe Watson, a free serving of sweet potato fries. Cale Hooker? An entire bowl of pho.

I love pho. Practically lived off the stuff for three weeks when I was in Vietnam last year. Makes me all nostalgic for hot weather, $1 beers, and hostel life. So watching Cale saunter forward at the start of the game had me excited.

And yes, St Kilda kicked the first two goals of the game to drain some of that excitement, but lo and behold, the big man came through with the goods and duly saluted with our first major. Thank you Roll’d.

This was literally the only positive to come out of the game, as the Saints proceeded to quickly skip out to a sizable margin.

ABOUT THEN WOULD’VE BEEN THE TIME TO SWITCH HOOKER BACK TO PLAY ON EITHER JOSH BRUCE (5.2) OR NICK RIEWOLDT (4.0) WHO WERE BUSY TEARING COURTNEY DEMPSEY, MARTY GLEESON, JAMES GWILT AND ARIEL STEINBERG A NEW ONE!

The entire of Essendon (minus Dyson Heppell, who was dead-set amazing as the lone hand in our lame attempts to fight-back) were being embarrassed by St Kilda.

Their brigade of youngsters who I couldn’t even name, let alone recognise in public, such as Jack Sinclair (two goals), Jimmy Webster (12 touches and a goal), Tim Membrey (10 marks, 2 goals), and Jack Lonie (18 touches, a goal, and a Rising Star nomination) were on a roll. Armitage (38 touches), Montagna (31) and Steven (29) were doing as they pleased.

CALE HOOKER WAS THE ONE MAN WHO COULD MAYBE, POSSIBLY, PROVIDE US WITH A SLIVER OF HOPE AND HELP TO STEM THE TRULY EMBARASSINGLY LARGE AMOUNT OF GOALS THAT LAST YEAR’S WOODEN SPOONERS WERE PILING UP.

And where was he?

AT FULL FORWARD! Or even worse, PINCH-HITTING (unsuccessfully) IN THE RUCK!

James, James, James. Please. There’s trying out a new tactic, and then there’s completely taking the ice cold piss.

In the third quarter, with the game getting completely out of hand, Hooker did indeed mosey on down back. Straight away he floated across a contest and took an intercept mark. All was well with the world.

But James was just teasing.

Cale went straight back down forward.

And St Kilda went about their merry way.

ST KILDA 5.3, 10.8, 17.9, 25.12 (162)
ESSENDON 1.0, 5.1, 7.3, 8.4 (52)

Goals

St Kilda: Bruce 5, Riewoldt 4, Armitage, Sinclair, Montagna, Weller, Membrey 2, Schneider, Lonie, Newnes, Webster, Dunstan, Savage

Essendon: Hooker 3, Heppell 2, Cooney, Daniher, Hibberd

Best

St Kilda: Armitage, Montagna, Lonie, Steven, Bruce, Roberton, Montagna, Riewoldt

Essendon: Heppell, McKernan

Votes

Armitage (3), Steven (2), Bruce (1)

About Sam Laffy

26-year old Essendon supporter. Winning the flag in 2000 when I was 12 was supposed to kick off a dynasty I could boast about for years. Still waiting for that 17th flag.....

Comments

  1. Patrick O'Brien says

    “This was literally the only positive to come out of the game”

    True, but some phos are good enough to swap a flag for! Of course, having been born after ’66 I’ve only tasted one of those …

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