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Round 16 – Essendon v Sydney: A rare loss to Essendon

Essendon v Sydney

1:45pm, Saturday July 6




The last time we lost to Essendon was five years ago, in 2014. We always seem to beat them, I thought to myself, as we arrived at the ‘G, heading for our seats on Level 4 among the red and white faithful. My gut feeling told me otherwise.

All week I didn’t feel confident. Don’t ask me why, but those gut feelings usually prove spot on.

Once again, fielding our youngest team for 23 years, and indeed, the youngest team of all in this round of matches, this was a close one. Could have gone either way.

The first half was a pretty scrappy affair, the 4.5 to 3.6 scoreline reflecting the closeness. The third quarter produced our best footy. We added four goals to their three, resulting in a nine point lead not long before the siren. And then the buts came into play.

But for about 10 minutes when we lapsed (or if you’re a Bombers fan, when we excelled) in the last quarter, allowing four consecutive goals to be kicked against us; but for a couple of our up and coming young stars getting a bit too flustered and playing on after frees were given close to goal, resulting in behinds; but for young Will Haywood continuing his kicking yips of late and hitting the post from 10 metres dead in front when it really mattered; but for Paps kicking 1.4 – the last couple of behinds also when it really mattered; and but for this and that, and many more thises and thats, it could well have been a different story. However, this and that is pointless! Essendon could also find this and that excuses, but in the end they simply don’t matter.

Nor do statistics matter. We won just about all of them, except on the final scoreboard.
Disposals 404 to 357
Kicks 242 to 218
Handballs 162 to 139
Free Kicks 16 to 26 (10 more to them! But that’s nothing new!!)
Clearances 33 to 26
Centre 13 to 11
Stoppages 20 to 15
Inside 50s 54 to 50
Marks in 50 12 to 8
Contested Possessions 136 to 122
Tackles 39 to 44 (more for them)
Hit-outs 22 to 36 (more for them) despite Aliir Aliir’s influence

None of us likes losing, especially when it concerns our footy team. It can be painful, especially if losses continue for weeks, months and in some cases years. Fortunately, though, the Bloods have managed to stay right up there these past 20-odd-years, and even though we may well miss finals this year, we have plenty to look forward to. We certainly have not been disgraced in our losses this year too, given the average age of the players and the injury list.

When you consider we’re the only team who has made finals every single year since 2010, it is a remarkable achievement.

Despite the club stating and believing that September action is still a chance – mathematically it is – I, personally, have resigned myself to the transition phase. It’s almost a relief not to have to worry from week to week about where we are on the ladder, how the percentage is affecting us, what injuries are depleting the team, and making sure that nothing else interferes with that ninth month of the year. I haven’t felt so relaxed about footy as I have this year.

I often wonder why people expect victory at all times and on all occasions. In any sphere of life. It is impossible, and it goes without saying that failure breeds success, as long we strive for it and learn from our mistakes along the way.

And that is just what our young team is doing. Some of our performances this year have been a testament to that philosophy. Our games against West Coast and Hawthorn stand out as examples. Given the progress this year with the young boys at the Club, the coach obviously believes that success isn’t too far away. He stated after this week’s game “It’s not going to go always upwards – there’s going to be some plateaus and maybe even a step backwards – but there’s still some good signs.” I couldn’t agree more.

Good signs indeed! It won’t be long before we’re contending once again, and what does it matter whether it’s next year or the one after. As long as it’s in my lifetime!

Go the Mighty Bloods!



ESSENDON     2.3       4.5       7.5       11.10 (76)
SYDNEY           1.2       3.6       7.8       9.12 (66)


Essendon: Zaharakis 3, McKernan 2, Stringer 2, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Fantasia, Parish, Langford
Sydney: Reid 2, Parker 2, Blakey, Jones, Papley, Rose, McCartin


Essendon: Shiel, Zaharakis, Parish, Saad, Hurley, McGrath
Sydney: Heeney, Kennedy, Rampe, Hewett, Aliir, Mills


Crowd: 60,199



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016.




  2. Lynn Baker says

    Jan, agree with your comments about our young Bloods team this season ,and into the future .
    I am proud of their endeavours and believe the ultimate success is not too many seasons away .!!( and hope it is in my lifetime too )
    Cheer , Cheer !
    Best Wishes ,
    Lynn Baker

  3. Jan, I watched this game with interest, expecting an entertaining match. I wasn’t disappointed. Whilst the Bombers ruled the roost I thought the Swans were far from disgraced unlike the Crows whose past 2 performances were somewhat pathetic after half time

    That being said, I am pleased to see the Magpies getting a bit of the collywobbles again, the Bulldogs getting their bark back and the Lions playing an exciting brand of footy..Love watching Charlie Cameron do what he does best.

    Getting back to the Swans, I’m looking forward to their next few games, I’ve always admired the way they play.

  4. PS Hi again Jan, after being down in the dumps most of yesterday from firstly the dismal Crows performance and waking up to find South Africa had defeated Australia in the World Cup cricket, my spirits rose when I found the Boomer section in this morning’s “Advertiser” newspaper had finally published another one of my letters. That one was the 16th successful one in print. Hope Swish saw it.

    .It was about an old schoolboy friend of mine that stood out the front of a footy oval selling out of date tickets supposedly for the match. He got away with a fair amount of money before he had to make his escape.

  5. Sharryne says

    Thank you Jan for a great reflection on Saturday and giving perspective on the now and what is to come. Looking forward to sharing many more reflections with you, particulary those times ahead where we are once again challenging for the ultimate prize. Such an honour as always to read your articles, written purely from your heart.

  6. Thanks one and all for your Comments. Congrats Fisho on your letter being published!

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