Round 2 – Essendon v Hawthorn: Dons edge Hawks

The Bombers will cause a few headaches for top sides this year. I am certain of it.

A blustery and fresh Sunday afternoon at the MCG is an ideal way to finish off a weekend. Having watched the Hawks put on a clinic against the Cats in the second half last week, I was unsure as to how we would stack up against an Essendon side which simply ran out of puff last week against the Swans. The absences of Mitchell and Gibson further added to this uncertainty.

I don’t agree with the talk of the Hawks being streets ahead of every other team in the competition. Having watched firstly Fremantle outrun and then Sydney dismantle the team that came within a Luke Hodge smother of beating us in a preliminary final last year, it’s clear that room for error at the top of the top of the tree is small. Don’t turn up for a quarter or a half (like the Hawks did on Sunday) and good sides will punish you and that’s exactly what the Bombers did.

They seemed to be running in waves of red and black in the first half. They were so much quicker than us across the turf, cutting swathes through the middle of the ground with handball and pure leg speed. I haven’t seen much of Adam Cooney live, but he looked good. It looks as though a new club has done him wonders – both he and Travis Colyer found the ball on the outside with alarming regularity to give the Dons quick inside 50 entries, and both were involved in a number of passages which led to the Bombers opening up a handy lead at half time.

The Hawks on the other hand looked slow in comparison to last week. The customary tempo football was interrupted by a swarming Essendon side which looked determined to make amends for the fade out of last week. Turnovers were lamented under my breath as the normally good Hawk distributors of the pill uncharacteristically blazed away to the waiting Don defenders, and the first half was summed up when Breust let a well-directed pass from further afield slip right through his fingers under minimal pressure on the Members wing. It was just one of those days – days that I along with all other Hawthorn supporters rarely see – where things just didn’t seem to click into place as they normally would.

The signs were there in the second half however that momentum was starting to turn. Gunston kicked three goals for the quarter and Sicily (who I thought really showed some promise) kicked his first goal as an AFL player. Shades of the run and dash from last week started to reappear, and turnovers were forced from an Essendon midfield that had taken honours for most of the match. The Bombers still managed two goals of their own, but the result of last week suddenly sprang to mind. ‘Maybe the lack of NAB Challenge preparation would rear its head again.’ I could tell that my dad (a 28-year Hawthorn member who was in Melbourne for a mate’s 50th birthday celebration) was desperate to stay for the final quarter, but a seven o’clock flight home to Mildura meant that he would be forced to listen to the last quarter on the radio in the car.

The last few minutes were frantic, but much to my bitter disappointment it was the Dons who triumphed with two late goals to steal the result after the Hawks looked like they would run away with it. As often is the case, he who dares, wins and the Bombers certainly showed some dare – particularly with a coast to coast effort in the dying stages which flew the ball through the centre of the ground at pace and finished with a Travis Colyer goal.

As disappointing as it is to see a loss, I would comfort fellow brown and gold supporters that it’s early doors in the season. The Bombers are a good side and they played like they have something to prove this year. There’s no shame in a two-point defeat.

On a side note, the return of kick-to-kick on the ground I think is a fantastic idea, and Gillon McLaclan must be commended for giving the game back to the people. Although the risk of being struck by a stray footy was high, being out on the ‘G is a thrill for everyone, regardless of whether your team has won or lost. The AFL is giving the game back to the people, and that is nothing but a good thing.


ESSENDON    2.2  7.3  9.4  12.6 (78)

HAWTHORN  1.3  3.5  7.8  11.10 (76)



Essendon: Daniher 3, Chapman 2, Colyer 2, Bellchambers, Carlisle, Merrett, Hooker

Hawthorn: Gunston 3, Puopolo 2, Breust 2, Rioli, Sicily, Hill, Roughead



Essendon: Watson, Hurley, Hooker, Daniher, Heppell, Colyer

Hawthorn: Gunston, Puopolo, Rioli, Hodge, Lewis, Burgoyne


Umpires: Foot, Margetts, Meredith


Official crowd: 59,866 at the MCG

About Jeremy Hill

Devoted Hawthorn supporter and University Blacks footballer who spends more time watching, reading and writing about sport than is considered healthy. Like most people my age, I'm 20.


  1. Steve Hodder says

    The “Mustard Pots” never looked liked they were in it all game and when Roughy is off he can really be off. Mitchell, Gibson and Frawley; the two points would be in there somewhere I reckon.


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