Round 19 – GWS v Essendon – 15 Things I Learned

It would be the final leg of a big weekend, with the City2Surf run and done earlier that morning in just over 1:08 (finished in the top 7000 if you’re inclined to think that way) and a memorable night less than 24 hours earlier that kicked things off which I shall write about shortly. So instead of the usual article about this game, to commemorate my first visit to the Sydney Showgrounds I’m taking a leaf out of GameDay and the AFL website to give you the 15 things I learned from a lazy Sunday Afternoon at the footy.

(1) Not a great deal of GWS fans are based away from the West of Sydney, based on the numbers I saw on the train that departed Central Station at about 2:20PM. Decent smattering of Bomber fans on board though. Admittedly there were more fans that were on the return train home so perhaps they decided to take earlier services

(2) The ticket box at the ground looks as though it needs something more permanent. The small queue however has well controlled. No turnstiles at the gate either.

(3) The ground didn’t look as long as I thought it may have been. Certainly when Canterbury played their home games there from the early to mid part of last decade the ground was much wider than longer but it seemed there wasn’t a great space between the edge of the centre square and the top of the 50m arc.

(4) Food choices inside the ground are VERY different. Forget the stock standard Four n Twenty pie or Don branded hotdog, it’s all gourmet and bakery standard when it comes to those traditional choices. It’s probably the only ground in the country that has an ice-cream outlet (certainly the only one to sell thick shakes from my glance at their menu), plus Chinese noodles and Subway.

(5) The PA man that the Giants have doesn’t know when to shut up. He feels the need to back announce every GWS goal much like an NRL try scorer which his background is. Almost as annoying as the fanfare that greets every Gold Coast Suns goal on their home ground. At least he could barely be heard because….

(6) GWS must have the loudest cheer squad at their home games in the competition. I had a decent view of them sitting just above the Essendon players’ race, and I came to the conclusion that a lot of their cheering was influenced by a mixture of College Basketball, Baseball (copying the Atlanta Braves chant) and the World Game. No other cheer squad I know has a drum being banged away either, probably because at most other grounds they would be confiscated.

(7) Half time couldn’t come soon enough, given the skill level from both sides in the first half was rather ordinary. Probably a good thing that the Giants had Diesel playing a mini-set at half time, that was more entertaining.

(8) It took a while for the home team to realise that in order to score you need the final pass inside your forward 50 to hit targets. The first 5 times they entered their forward 50 in the 3rd term, 5 times they turned the ball over when their forwards were in the best position.

(9) Missing targets is a far more vital statistic than tackling (which to me is overrated, that just shows a team is second to the pill) or winning hard balls. Don’t want to pick on former Bulldog players given none of them had a great impact on the game, but it wasn’t Adam Cooney’s greatest day. Certainly I can’t recall anyone kicking the ball out on the full 6 times in a game before. But to spare him all of the blame just about every player in a black and red jumper missed targets with regularity all day.

(10) The Giants’ big man department has very solid hands when it comes to marking the ball. Rory Lobb was probably the best big man on the ground, Phillips snared a couple of nice grabs, Cameron was typical Cameron and form can only improve for Jon Patton given this was his first outing at the top level for more than 12 months. Thrown on Cam McCarthy who had an immediate impact from the Sub position and defenders would want to work on their spoiling ability in the week leading into the game.

(11) If Jake Carlisle thinks he’s worth plenty on the open market that free agency then his performance would struggle to attract a bid of 5 cents. Officially the stats sheet said he actually touched the ball 14 times with 9 grabs, yet it seemed that he was more interested in wrestling with Phil Davis when swung forward.

(12) Misplaced aggression from the Bombers came way too late. OK, the frustration of getting beaten can often get to a team, this comes from personal experience at local level. But Essendon only seemed to start caring after Cooney wiped out Stephen Coniglio (who controlled the middle all day). Sometimes it takes illegal play to fire up a team but to me they needed to get more physical midway through the 3rd term just when the Giants took control.

(13) Whilst the win kept the Giants in finals contention, they would want to improve big time if they are to sneak in. That said if they do find their A-Game they should beat Port next week even in Adelaide. That will be the big test of how far they have come, winning a game on the road that they based on form are expected to win.

(14) James Hird looked a beaten man. There wasn’t any jeering when he bobbed up on the big screen (the Giants fans were either making too much noise or aren’t educated enough on the code to notice) but he looked as broken as Michael Clarke did in Nottingham. Perhaps it will be on field performances and not anything from the bowels of legality that will determine his fate as an AFL coach.

(15) As for me, big weekends that could be seen as sporting triathlons can be exhausting! Glad to sleep in unintentionally on Monday morning knowing I don’t have to return home until Tuesday or go back to work before Wednesday!



ESSENDON 8.13.61

GWS: Cameron 2.2, Kelly 2.1, McCarthy 2.0, Smith 2.0, Hoskin-Elliott 1.1, Haynes 1.0, Palmer 1.0, Whitfield 1.0, Coniglio 1.0, Greene 1.0, Treloar 0.1, Lobb 0.1, Patton 0.1, RUSHED 0.2
ESS: Hooker 2.1, Daniher 2.0, Howlett 2.0, Edwards 1.2, Giles 1.1, Goddard 0.1, Stanton 0.1, Zaharakis 0.1, Hocking 0.1, Laverde 0.1, O’Brien 0.1, RUSHED 0.3

GWS: Coniglio, Kelly, Greene, Phillips, Lobb, Haynes, Whitfield
ESS: Goodard, Gwilt, Stanton

VOTES (If I were giving them)
3: Stephen CONIGLIO (GWS)
2: Josh KELLY (GWS)
1: Andrew PHILLIPS (GWS)

FIELD: Luke FARMER, David HARRIS, Brent WALLACE (Not Wallis as the scoreboard suggested) [EM: Chris KAMOLINS]

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.


  1. Peter Fuller says

    Congrats on that impressive time in the City to Surf. It was very much a tick on the bucket list job for me when I tackled it a few years back. It’s always exciting to go interstate for a significant run, and doubly rewarding if you meet your time expectations.
    Your report is great, some really considered and informative general inferences about what you saw on Sunday. Great stuff.

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