Round 16 – Essendon v Collingwood: (Almost) Six Feet Under


“He should kick this; he’s had a fair bit of time to practice…”

So it was that from the upper tiers of the MCG, my brother well and truly put the nails in the coffin of Josh Thomas’ – and Collingwood’s – attempts at a comeback during their clash with Essendon. A harsh, but undoubtedly accurate comment that could equally apply to the fate of Nathan Buckley’s coaching career. He too, has had a bit of time to practice the whole ‘coaching caper’, but with an ever-diminishing number of wins – 17, 14, 11, 10, 9, and now 5 since 2012 – the prognosis for the Magpie legend is grim.

To ‘kick goals’ this year, Bucks himself said that a September appearance was a non-negotiable in terms of his position being safe. After a mixed start to season 2017, a stirring comeback win over Hawthorn in Round 9 looked as though it had shocked his side into gear, but four losses on the trot have only compounded the media scrutiny in recent weeks.

Of course, to fight off the ‘Undertaker’, and avoid being buried, the Magpies simply had to triumph over the big Red’N’Black Machine that is Kane the Essendon Football Club.

Naturally, the Bombers piledrove that idea all the way to hell with a 37-point victory.

It wasn’t quite a Royal Rumble reminiscent of the heady days of the WWF’s ‘Attitude Era’; in fact, it wasn’t quite a highly skilled game of footy. However, after losing the unlosable against Sydney, and losing the even more unlosable against Brisbane, it made perfect sense that Essendon would bounce back to ‘form’ with a comfortable win over the old enemy.

The Bombers cause was aided by a Collingwood outfit seeming determined to send Bucks on his way, with a frankly embarrassing kicking performance that handed several goals to their opponents on a silver, gold, and platinum platter. Errant kicks from halfback were gleefully intercepted by the Bombers midfield, and in a sign of their complete confidence in the Magpies ineptness, many an Essendon forward didn’t even bother following their opponents up the field – knowing that a goal ‘over the back’ on the rebound was almost a sure thing.

As a result, Ooooooooooorazio Fantasia kicked a bag, Smokin’ Mo chimed in with a few of his won (a haul that put him within smelling distance of the top of the Coleman Medal table), and the three-count – and four points – were achieved with a minimum of fuss.

For the Pies, Jamie Elliott was the only bright spark in the first half, but he ran out of steam late, after realizing it was insanely difficult to be everywhere on the field at once. Pendles was, is, and always will be, a magician. However, there’s only so many rabbits one man can pull out of a hat under pressure, and with Zaharakis, Parish, Zerrett, and Watson combining effectively through the middle there was little he could do. Jobe’s form in particular was heartening – maybe there’s life in the old-dog yet.

Here’s hoping Essendon practices this whole ‘winning’ thing next weekend….

COLLINGWOOD 2.3 4.6 9.7 12.8 (80)
ESSENDON 5.0 9.3 13.6 18.9 (117)


Fasolo 4, Elliott 3, Broomhead, Reid, Cox, De Goey, Adams
Essendon: Fantasia 5, Daniher 3, Bellchambers 2, Stewart 2, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Merrett, Zaharakis, Hooker, Merrett, Colyer


Collingwood: Elliott, Pendlebury, Goldsack, Sidebottom
Essendon: Zaharakis, Fantasia, Watson, Merrett, Parish

Umpires: Foot, Rosebury, Jeffery
Official crowd: 63,537 at the MCG

Malarkey Medal: D.Zaharakis (ESS) 3, J.Elliott (COLL) 2, O.Fantasia (ESS) 1

About Sam Laffy

Thirty-something 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.....

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