Round 18 – Essendon v Western Bulldogs: We beat Essendon: the season’s a success.

Every now and then comes along a game of footy that the Bulldogs must win.

Not because it gets us into the finals, or means we avoid a record losing streak, or ensures the club’s status in the competition. Yes, these sorts of games are ones you’d rather win than lose, but there are matches, such as yesterday’s against Essendon, in which winning is the only option. If we had lost yesterday, I don’t think it would have mattered what happened for the rest of the season. The season would have been a failure because we failed to beat Essendon. Again.

We haven’t successfully kicked the Dons while they’ve been down during their ASADA chapter, which has irritated me immensely. As a friend to many Bomber fans, I’ve consistently heard rants about the AFL, ASADA, Demetriou, Hird over this three year period. Their repetitive complaints and whingeing, while somewhat warranted, only increases one’s dislike of the subject.

I’ve repeatedly tried to assure them that they’ll be alright in the end, attempted to put things into context by reminding them of their successful history, and defended Joe Daniher’s potential more than any person should have to. But their sorrow continues. Their only light, it seems, for the whole season is when they get to beat the Dogs, and then the joke is on me. In this annual cycle, there has been no joy to come out of anything Bomber-related.
But this season things are different. Essendon look as though they’ve finally cracked on-field, despite the odd inspirational win, and the Dogs have played out of their skin for 17 rounds. We couldn’t lose to them again, could we?! Last year it was Carlisle who tormented us, kicking eight and getting more marks than a German businessman.

Walking to yesterday’s game, I had a nightmare. In it, Joe Daniher decides to become a superstar power-forward and kicks a ridiculous amount of goals, and amidst the hysterical cheering of Essendon supporters around me after Daniher slots his ninth, my friends turn to me, laughing and grinning with tears rolling down their cheeks, hug me, and say, “Daniher’s amazing, you were right!”

Thankfully that didn’t happen. If anything, Stewart Crameri decided to become a superstar power-forward, kicking an astonishing seven goals. It was only a month or two ago that he looked mediocre in the VFL at Sandringham, and it seemed like there wasn’t a place for him in the firsts. The idea of playing him in the midfield is nice, but we recruited him as a forward, and in my opinion that’s where he should stay, especially while our younger key forwards are still developing.

Crameri’s day out against his former club only added to my delight; his haul of 7.2 was enough to surpass the Bombers’ score of 5.10. I’m sure he’d be in the process of making a commemorative video titled “The Day I Beat Essendon”. If not, I’d be more than happy to help out, Stew.

After the first quarter the game was little more a walk in the park with 21 mates and a footy, for each of the Dogs players. The first quarter is worth noting, though, for it was the lowest scoring opening term in the history of Docklands Stadium, with a total of twelve points scored. It also ended in the 24th minute, the shortest quarter in the AFL since 1999. At the time I thought it was a mistake, that they’d set the clock for an under-16 game, but the game was lifeless and without stoppages.

The second and third quarters saw us pile on the goals, and capitalise on a serious lack of pressure from Essendon. Tory Dickson and Jake Stringer each kicked four for the game, taking their total goals for the season to 34 and 36 respectively. Dicko’s deadly accuracy is becoming more well-known as the Bulldogs’ relevance to the league returns, but he’s added more strings to his bow this season. Lachie Hunter has amassed 68 disposals in the last two weeks, further proving that a spell in the reserves will improve a player more often than not.

As Essendon’s faithful flocked out of the ground in the last quarter, thoughts turned to finals prospects. A home final is being touted as a likelihood for us, and who knows how far we can go. But that’s beside the point now. We beat Essendon: the season’s a success.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.


  1. cowshedend says

    Love it Tom! It is impossible to rationalise my hatred of the oppostion, but it is indeed unquestionable hatred, but i found myself serching for unfulfilled Schadenfreude as the game wore on.
    Today i thought i would make contact with a Bombre acquaintance, who immediatley launched into the old chestnut “At least i’ve seen my side win a friggin flag!”…. schadenfreude fulfillment attained.
    As i may have mentioned before Footscray and Essendon are linked by the 82 tram, at one end there is bleak drug infested place, full of gloom and sorrow at the other end there is FOOTSCRAY!!!!

  2. The recipe for the rest of ’15. Find a very big lid. Put it on top of the Bulldog pups. Open again in 12 months. A good judge has convinced me this is our best list EVER. I’m hoping we are not being conned by the under achieving opposition (most relevant were the goat riders yesterday.

  3. You’re a lucky fella Tom – you’ve experienced relative success in your ‘Scrays life…and beating the Pies and the Bombres in successive weeks? Just relish it.
    There are some terrific players to watch develop; a far cry from the list of past “stars” we were recalling from our spot (standing in front of where the scoreboard used to be) during yesterday’s magoos win over Essendon. A great day indeed.

  4. Skip of Skipton says

    Outside of Murphy no one is too good or too precious for a spell in the VFL which is laying a good foundation.

    The exodus of Griffen, Higgins and Cooney was a blessing in disguise. Having only 5 players with 100 games experience, it gives the young guns control of the team. The future is now. It is their destiny to forge. The handful of old blokes are just along for the ride.

    Young Caleb Daniel can really ‘hoover’ the pill in traffic and rarely makes an error.

  5. Wallis has become a real leader – witness him literally as Murph’s right-hand-man at the song. Libba is great trade bait.

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