Round 2 – Essendon v Melbourne: Spirits lifted in a remarkable victory

Essendon v Melbourne

by Rod Oaten


Surely the AFL Boffins have made a mistake with this game.


The Essendon v Melbourne game starts at the unheard of time of 2.10 on a Saturday afternoon. I checked a couple of times in the paper to make sure I haven’t made another timing blunder, but no, it’s correct.


And it seems like it’s popular with the crowd too, on this coolish afternoon, over 50,000 have turned up and when I went to buy a Footy Record, I was told they were all sold. Bloody Hell, sold out! I need it today because there are so many new faces in the Don’s line up.


Melbourne must have thought that they were playing cricket as they came out in a white strip.  The Dons on the other hand knew what was going on and they looked splendid in the traditional jumper.


The first quarter was an absolute struggle for both sides.  Both teams plan of attack seemed to be to hand ball back into congested packs.  Now the reason for this sort of play escapes me, and most of the crowd in my vicinity. Cries of “kick it”, and ”don’t bloody hand pass” were the common wails. Unfortunately the players took no notice and the quarter finished with the Dons on 2.2 to the Demons 1.4.


The second quarter did improve a little, the highlight was Jeff Garlett who edged out two Don defenders, scooped the ball up, and hotly pursued by the them, bounced the ball three times and kicked a goal from the square. Some of the young Dons were hitting their straps, The Merrett lads, Anthony McDonald-Tippungwuti , Darcy Parish  and David Zaharkis  were all great contributors. Joe Daniher was having a tough time shooting for goal. If he had been on target the difference between the two teams would have been greater. At half time Essendon were 7.7 to Melbourne 6.4 and even though the Dons were up on the scoreboard, I thought maybe the Dees were getting on top.


Joey Daniher continued his outstanding marking efforts up front but couldn’t buy a goal. Nathan Jones for Melbourne was continually driving the ball forward and James Kelly (ex Geelong) was just as happy to send it back for the Dons. The game lacked sparkle, players reverted to cross country and back ward passes in their efforts to score. Both teams kicked 1.3, so at three quarter time Essendon were 8.10 to Melbourne 7.7


In the last quarter the Demons got the first two goals and briefly hit the front, but the Dons were not to be pushed aside. Goals to Langford, Parish and Daniher (yes he did get a couple in the end along with a lot of behinds and out of bounds) put the game beyond doubt and delighted the Essendon supporters. A great hard fought victory well celebrated by the players as the siren sounded.


The Melbourne supporters were less than pleased. Quite a few disparaging remarks were shouted towards the team as they trudged off. But that’s footy.


Final Scores   Essendon  11.14.  80

Melbourne 10.7.67


Best Players   Essendon   Zaharkis,  Z Merrett,  J, Merrett   McDonald-Tippungwuti,  Kelly   Parish   Goddard  Langford


Melbourne   N. Jones, M. Jones, Kennedy, Tyson, Vince.


Rod Oaten







  1. Congrats Rod. I watched the last quarter on the AFL Live Pass on my IPad. Was surprised to find myself barracking for your boys, now that the miscreants have been moved on. The risk taking and intensity of your boys was infectious.
    I thought of you when the siren blew. Hate the sin, love the sinner. One for the true believers.

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