Round 19 – Gold Coast Suns v Essendon: A massive test of character.

Gold Coast Suns Vs. Essendon.
28/7/2019, Metricon Stadium.

We are firm favourites to win this game against a Suns team with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Many footy experts are predicting us to flex our muscles and boost percentage. Indeed, with a big enough win, we can jump up to sixth and knock the Pies down to seventh.


And yet I am nervous for this game. We have lost games like this before, and recently for that matter. Thinking back to just the start of Woosha’s time as our head coach, we lost to Brisbane (2017), Carlton (2018), and Sydney (2019) when they were all on the bottom of the ladder, and lost to St Kilda earlier this year in a game we were predicted to win quite well.


This will be a massive character test for us after a remarkable five-win streak.


Shaun McKernan kicks truly for the opening game of the game. Barely three minutes in. Good start.


Gold Coast respond with a behind. BUT the game is competitive so far, as one might expect after only one goal kicked in the opening six minutes or so. Fiorini kicks what sounds like a great goal, giving the Suns the lead. Another miss for the Suns. Gold Coast are taking it up to us. Laverde misses a wonderful chance to seal a brilliant passage of play for us by missing. Suns by one point.


The family I’m living with turn on the Swans and Cats game on TV for me. I feel like I’m in heaven, listening to one of my teams on the radio, and my other team I’m watching on TV. Bombers get another point through the Package. Scores are level. I don’t know what to make of this game so far. At least my Swans are taking it up to the Cats (and of course as soon as I say that, the Cats kick a goal. Is the supporter course a thing? Because I feel like it’s a thing). On the Gold Coast, it’s back and forth footy. The Suns sound slicker than we are. They kick their second, through Sam Day taking a mark thirty metres out. They kick another through Peter Wright. What the heck?! I was nervous before: now I’m really nervous. They get a free kick just outside of the forward fifty. And, somehow, Sexton kicks it. Ok. Ok. What the heck. C’mon, Bombers, please. Whatever you do for the rest of the year, do not lose today. Suns lead by eighteen. The Suns sound like they’re dominating the ruck contests, as well as everything else. AT least we have slowed them down a little bit. We get our chances but can’t take them. Suns by seventeen. And that is how we enter the quarter time break… seventeen points down. Yeah, I’m still nervous.


Second quarter, I am now watching the Bombers game on the iPad. We are underdone by a freekick that should have been but wasn’t given to us. The Suns, in turn, kick another. Why did they choose this week to show up? Why couldn’t they wait another week before upsetting Collingwood? WHY US!?! McKernan takes a great mark, and he’s seeming to be the only threat so far up forward for us. He kicks true. Margin back to seventeen. The Suns kick a miracle via Sam Day. Brown takes a strong competitive mark and kicks a goal.


At least the game is close in general play. AMT takes an amazing mark, and takes Kyle Langford out with him. He just misses. Suns by sixteen. Swallow nearly misses with a great snap. Good grab by Stringer, followed by a good set shot. Lead cut to eleven. We are moving the ball better, at least. AMT hits Stringer on a lead, beautifully laced-out. Shame the shot on goal was inaccurate. Suns by ten. We become victim of a free kick that, at best, is fifty-fifty, which nets Gold Coast a goal. Suns by sixteen. Which is how we enter halftime. Still am a little nervous. In fact, I’m a little bit more nervous than I was twenty minutes ago.


Swans loose as well. Dang. Dinner time.


After a delicious dinner and incredible desert (Oh. My. Lord, my tongue is in heaven), I hope we are in front. A quick check of the score shows that we are still behind. Only by four points though, and as I turn on the radio, the commentators are in awe of a remarkable Shiel kick that cut the margin down to that figure. We’ve kicked the last four goals. A commentator then loses his mind, describing a Jake Stringer-like goal by Jake Stringer, which puts us in front by two points. Momentum is a wonderful thing. Shaun McKernan then matches Stringer in regards to the spectacular, and all of a sudden, we extend our lead to eight points. We enter the final term with that lead, after kicking six goals in a row. I’m now significantly less nervous than before. Apparently, according to the commentators, we were down by 27 or so in this quarter, and had a goal review that should have been called go-begging, costing us another goal. Nice, AFL.


Final term. Gold Coast strike first. Essendon by two. Ben King then takes a strong-sounding mark as a sea of players below him parts. He… kicks it. Suns in front by three points. Suns then get a point. DANG IT! C’MON, BOMBERS! PLEASE!. Kyle Langford then benefits from a ridiculously bad sounding fifty metre penalty (I mean I’ll still take it, but come on, umpires. Be consistent!). Essendon in front by two. Langford then hits McKernan on a text-book lead inside forward fifty. Bombers by eight. Andy McGrath kicks a sneaky one to extend the lead by fourteen.THANK YOU! McGrath nearly kicks another beauty but the bounce makes him unlucky. Dons by fifteen. Ben King refuses to let the game get away from his team. He clunks a ripper, with the chance to kick his fourth. There it is. Bombers by nine. Then, Jake hits peak-Stringer. Checkside from forty metres or so. Maybe even forty-five. Essendon by fifteen.


Sam Day juggles a mark with about six and a half minutes to go and converts a massive kick. Nine point Bomber lead. David Swallow punishes a turnover by converting truly. Essendon by three points with three and a bit minute to go. Rush behind. Essendon by four. The Suns kick another goal. Gold Coast in front. NO, PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. WE CANNOT LOSE THIS GAME. AMT! KICKS IT STRAIGHT ONTO THE CHEST OF HOOKER! C’mon, Cale, please. Please. PLEASE. HE’S KICKED IT! WE ARE IN FRONT WITH THIRTY SEVEN SECONDS TO GO. FOUR POINTS IN FRONT. 100-96. OUR WAY. AMT, I LOVE YOU AND WOULD GLADLY HAVE YOUR BABIES.CRUCIAL CENTRE BOUNCE. JAKE STRINGER THEN KICKS A MIRACULOUS GOAL FROM BEYOND FIFTY! ESSENDON BY TEN! WE SURVIVE! SIREN!


So. We win. Five in a row. Did we pass the test of character? Yes, but only just. As Dad always says, though, whenever we win unconvincingly: it’s better to win ugly than to loose pretty. Bombers by ten.


GOLD COAST     4.2     7.3     9.6     15.6     (96)
ESSENDON        2.6     4.5     10.8     16.10     (106)


Gold Coast: King 4, Day 3, Wright 2, Fiorini 2, Sexton, Miller, Swallow, Burgess
Essendon: McKernan 4, Stringer 4, Brown 3, Parish, Shiel, Langford, McGrath, Hooker


Gold Coast: Witts, Miller, Fiorini, Harbrow, King, Hanley
Essendon:McKernan, Shiel, Redman, Merrett, Stringer, McGrath


Gold Coast: Nil
Essendon: Nil


Reports: Harbrow (Gold Coast) reported for rough conduct on Guelfi (Essendon) in the second quarter


Umpires: Chamberlain, Findlay, Heffernan


Official crowd: 15,759 at Metricon Stadium


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.


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About Caspar McLeod

Third Culture Kid at Heart. Grew up in Asia, discovered footy at age 9. AFL has since been my burning passion. Ask me who were the winners all the grand finals between 1938 and last year's decider, and I'll be happy to tell you. I'm a footy nut with a passion for writing and acting. All though I love writing and acting, during the footy season, AFL is my true passion. Waiting ever so patiently for the day when Essendon Next win the flag.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    I’m always more worried about losing games to bottom teams than top placed teams. It has often been a long drive home after one of those losses which unfortunately occurred on a regular basis in the past. But good teams scratch and crawl their way in scrappy games against lowly teams to win, and we now are winning those games. We have become a good team!

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