Round 1: Essendon v Hawthorn: Bombers scorch Hawks’ feathers!

The long awaited start to the footy season for Bombers fans delivered the goods with an encouraging win over traditional rivals Hawthorn.


I think it was the hottest day I’ve experienced at the footy for a long time. Our seats were in the open sun and it was hot, thankfully the Bombers did not make me any hotter under the collar.


With my eldest grandson we caught up with mates in Geelong and trained it to the MCG. The hour or so journey gave us ample time to discuss the Bombers and the up-coming match. We dissected the side, what we liked and didn’t like about the team selection, and for all of us our biggest surprise was the non- inclusion of Jayden Laverde in the side. We believed that Dyson Heppell and Jake Kelly were both fortunate to be selected before Laverde but obviously we are not privy to the thinking of the selectors. Jake Kelly apparently ‘trained the house down’ in the pre-season and deserved his selection in the team by those in the know. His selection was justified as he played a good game.


Tsatas commenced as the nominated sub possibly due to the heat enabling the potential of bringing on quick, fresh legs when others are flagging later in the game. That’s my guess!


I thought the Bombers were always in command of the game even though the Hawks had many more shots for goal but kicked poorly. I like to put that down to Essendon’s pressure applied to the player with the ball enforcing the error on goal.


The game see-sawed during the second and third quarters with neither side able to breakaway once they gained the lead.


Eventually Essendon’s strong tackling and from the many advantages gained at the stoppages began to pay dividends. I thought Todd Goldstein played a a magnificent first up game in the Bomber guernsey, his experience, his height and baulk, and his ability to direct the ball to a player was exemplary. He rucked for most of the day and I’m surprised he showed little or no sign of flagging in the hot conditions. At one stage he found himself on the wing with the the ball without an opposition player near him, ran his full measure, contemplated a bounce, thought better of it, and kicked long and true to a team mate. Great stuff!


Jake Stringer with four goals and a poster was invaluable as a stay at home forward which I think is an excellent move. His bulk, brute force and aggression paved the way for the likes of Gresham, Guelfi, and Menzie to take advantage of his presence picking up the crumbs and kicking four goals between them. Gresham will be a real plus, his pace, his ‘nous’ and his ability to read the play was evident throughout the game. Pre-game when chatting about the makeup of the team the inclusion of Guelfi was keenly debated but he played well, took some strong marks on the forward line and kicked a couple of goals certainly earned his place in the team.


Archie Perkins was our best play for the four quarters and is quickly progressing towards that next step he stated he wants to take his game to. I liked his game very much. After a slow start early in the game with a close tag Zach Merrett eventually broke free and became a dominating force in the game. Fantastic leadership.


Ben McKay is worth the money! His added height and strength, and cool head on the backline was extremely positive. The luckless Zack Reid succumbed to yet another soft tissue issue injury and was subbed out of the game at half-time. You have to wonder where his future lays with the club. I thought Nic Cox played well when he filled Reid’s role and perhaps this may be the role for him in the team. I hope so, he has so much talent.


As a grandfather it was fantastic to bring my 16yo grandson from Colac with me and catch up my two daughters’ sons, 8yo and 2yo, at the footy all in their Bomber colours was a great delight for me, and the win by the Bombers made it even better.


Go Bombers!


ESSENDON       4.2    7.3      12.3    17.5 (107)
HAWTHORN     2.7    5.11    9.14     11.17 (83)



 Stringer 4, Langford 3, Wright 2, Perkins 2, Guelfi 2, Menzie, Caldwell, Durham, Gresham
Hawthorn: Moore 3, Ginnivan 2, Chol 2, Worpel, Gunston, Amon, Lewis,



 Perkins, Stringer, Wright, McKay, McGrath, Merrett
Hawthorn: Weddle, Worpel, D’Ambrosio, Ginnivan, Hardwick



 Reid (left hamstring)
Hawthorn: Nil



 Elijah Tsatas (replaced Reid at half time)
Hawthorn: Finn Maginness (replaced Chol in the fourth quarter)



More from Col Ritchie can be read Here



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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Good work Col. Let’s hope your grand kids can sing the song many more times this year.

  2. Great to catch up at the FA launch CR but not so great reading your match report! Who am I kidding, you went with your grandson and then met up with more family, so, what a great way to have a great family day!

    I listened to the third quarter driving home from lunch with a dear old friend and as the game see-sawed I thought, wow, we can break the Bombers down. I watched the last quarter at home and was immediately taken with your mob’s clean movement of the ball compared to our scrappiness. That told me something about the pressure (as you describe) being applied to my mighty Hawks. And my mood went from hopeful to footy’s shit!

    Good win to the Dons and I will pick myself up after being somewhat deflated with how the Hawks dealt with a game that was on the line.


  3. Sounds like a great family day – Col always good to see – Guelfi get a mention aka – Malfoy from Harry Potter fame,very much cricket season back in SA – Payneham cc in the gf this weekend

  4. Daryl Schramm says

    Indisposed, unpopular and banished to the back rooms of my place last week due to testing + for covid. Never seen the best part of nine games of footy in four days before, not even at last year’s gather round. The Sat arvo MCG match was great viewing, and may have been the best of the round.

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