Round 16 – Collingwood v Essendon: Is Essendon the new Richmond?

 

I was in two minds as to whether I would go to this game or not. The son (a Colligwood tragic) who normally goes with me for a father-son bonding session decided to go down the coast for the weekend and I was in a deep quandary about The Dons.

 

Over the last couple of weeks Essendon have managed to grab defeat from the jaws of victory by doing a “Richmond” in the last quarter. The thought of them doing that against the “not so loved Collingwood” was almost too much to bear, but for what ver reason, here I am in the Members at the `G on Saturday afternoon.

 

The game started at the traditional time of 2.10. What a pleasant break from night-time and late-afternoon games. I found my usual seating area on Level 2 well rugged up against the `G’s chilly draughts. It was a pretty good day for early July, with not much wind, no rain to speak of, although it was a little gloomy so the MCG lights were on. The young bloke who sat next to me was telling all his mates that Collingwood would “turn it on today” and that Ben Reid would play a “blinder”. I kept my thoughts to myself!

 

Collingwood started on fire. They had two goals before The Dons had touched the ball, but good sense prevailed and Essendon got back in the game and, to cap it off, kicked accurately. Collingwood helped Essendon with dreadful kicking into their forward line allowing The Dons to not only clear the ball, but set up scoring opportunities, and the red and black supporters were well pleased with the results. The Dons were up by nineteen points at quarter time.

 

The second quarter showed that the Essendon Football Club were far superior all over the ground, harder at the ball and combining well with great team work, Collingwood looked a bit of a shambles, but considering what has happened to The Dons over the last couple of weeks I was not confident. Essendon had increased their lead to 27 points by half time.

 

The third quarter confirmed my lack of confidence. Collingwood came out and started to resemble a footy team. They kicked the first goal and followed it up with two more. The Dons contributed to Collingwood’s scoring by short passing to opponents who goaled.

 

I was getting jumpy and nervous and feeling very unsettled. Are The Dons doing another “Richmond”? Collingwood kicked two more but that was the end of it, Essendon regathered their team work skills and kicked three late goals to calm my furrowed brow. Essendon led by 23, at three quarter time, not nearly enough in my opinion, considering recent history and all.

 

At the orange break, it was time for a short walk, with deep breathing. If I was at home I would probably have found things to do away from the radio but not at the `G.

So as the final quarter commences I’m back at my seat. The young chap with the predictions has left as have all his friends, no doubt very disappointed with his footy team.

 

The Dons start the last quarter seemingly determined to erase the last couple of weeks’ fade-outs. Great teamwork results in goals for Essendon while Collingwood play without spirit or skill. Miskicks, spilt marks, and fumbles all add to my enjoyment and we increase our lead to over 40 points. Bliss!

 

Even I felt confident we were going to win. Apart from a junk goal to Collingwood in the last few minutes we went on to win well by 37 points.

 

I had quite a spring in my step as I walked up to catch the tram, and I was wondering if “The Son” had listened to the game, and how he was travelling.

 

A special Naidoc Week mention to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. He sets the crowd on fire whenever he gets near the ball and very rarely makes a mistake. He is an absolute champion and ambassador for us all.

 

 

Essendon 5.0 9.3 13.6 18.8 117

 

Collingwood 2.3 4.6 9.7 12.8 80

 

Goals

Essendon Fantasia5, Daniher3 Stewart2 Bellchambers2 Merrett2 McDonald-Tipungwuti, Hooker, Zaharakis, Colyer

 

Collingwood Fasolo4, Elliot3 Ried, deGoey, Cox, Adams, Broomhead

 

Best

Essendon Fantasia, Heppell, Zaharakis Merrett, Hurley, McGrath, Stewart and the other 15.

 

Collingwood Pendllebury, Elliot, Fasolo, Sidebottom

 

Umpires

Jeffrey, Rosebury, Foot

 

Crowd 63,537 at the best sporting ground in the world (MCG)

 

 

 

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