Round 2 – Essendon v Melbourne: Undermanned Bombers win one against the odds

On Saturday Afternoon (on TV) I watched an undermanned and inexperienced Bombers outfit take on the Demons at the MCG. It was going to be another tough game for the Bombers, as they were facing a Demons side full of energy and belief. The Bombers on the other hand were coming off a disappointing 61 point defeat at the hands of the Gold Coast Suns. A victory was going to be tough, but I believed that if they bought the same effort as last week you just never know.


The first quarter got underway and you just knew the Bombers had to get off to a good start otherwise it could turn into an exact copy of last week. It wasn’t, however as the Bombers got on top early and did all the attacking. They could only manage the one goal, however in this period of dominance to youngster Zach Merrett. The Dees eventually got themselves into the game and were able to get a settler through a nice goal to Angus Brayshaw. From that goal onwards the rolls had reversed and it was the Dees doing all the attacking and well on top. Lucky for the Bombers, the Demons, like the Bombers early were unable to convert. The Bombers were able to halt the Demons momentum and get back the lead late in the quarter with a wonderful goal to Z. Merrett. This was after a lovely bit of play by the Bombers, in which they were able to chip their way through the Demon defence. When it looked like that was all she wrote, a sloppy turnover by the Bombers led to a shot on goal to the Dees. It was a miss however and it was the Bombers leading by 4 at the first change, 2.2 to 1.4. It was a great first quarter by the Bombers, the pressure and intent was there from the opening bounce. It definitely made me believe this could be the Bombers day. However, there was still a long way to go.


The second quarter got underway with the undermanned Bombers looking to continue the pressure and intent, they bought in the first quarter. Matthew Stokes got the Bombers off to the perfect start with a goal; Bombers had a handy margin of 10 points. Just as it looked like the Bombers had gotten on top, the Dees responded with three unanswered goals and all of a sudden they led by 12 and were looking the better team. Bombers needed a response as the game started to open up, which would play into the Demon’s hands. The Bombers were able to respond through a goal to new recruit and ex Cat Mitch Brown (his first of the club), the margin was back to 5. It seemed that goal had re-invigorated the Bombers (especially the youngsters) and their pressure on the Demons players was back. Then after a free kick in the goal square and a 50+ metre kick by first gamer Michael Hartley the Bombers had a lead of 9 points. Closing in on half time the Dees got one back, but the Bombers quickly responded and at half time they had the lead by 9. So at half time it was the Bombers unexpectedly up by 9 and apart from 10 minutes in the second quarter looked the better team. They were being led by the youngsters (along with Zaharakis), Joe Daniher Darcy Parish, Jackson and Zack Merrett, Kyle Langford and cult hero Anthony McDonald- Tipungwuti.


As the second half got underway, the belief was growing that the Bombers could actually pull off a famous victory for this great club. The belief got even stronger with the opening goal of the half to Brown and the margin was out to 15 points (biggest of the game.) The game then started to tighten up, as it started to go from end to end and the stoppage count was starting to rise. The Dees did, however, in this quarter start to create chances of their own, mostly from turnovers by the Bombers but could only manage the one goal. This was the luck that the Bombers needed and instead of being behind at the final break they led by 8.


With the margin only being 8 points and a low scoring game the first goal of the last was going to be crucial for both teams. Unfortunately from a Bombers point of view, it was the Dees, who got the opening two goals of the quarter, which had given the Demons, back the lead. While the Demons did get these two goals the Bombers were still in the game and still looking to go on the attack, which was great to see. The Bombers did get a couple of golden opportunity to hit back the lead but they were only able to level the scores. Neither side could get on top; it was a tight contest and nerve racking to watch. The Bombers were eventually able to break the deadlock, with a goal to one of their many young stars Kyle Langford. Victory was within sights and the unthinkable to starting to become a reality. Then as it looked like the Demons were going to create a chance on goal, the Bombers were able effect the turnover and through brilliant ball movement get the sealing goal courtesy of the second gamer and future star Parish. That was the game as the Bombers were able to wind down the clock. So the siren went and the celebrations began as all the players started hugging and high fiving each other. Even the older players were celebrating like they had won a grand final, which was great to see.


So the Bombers had won by 13 points and pulled off a remarkable victory full of effort and heart. It was led by the youngsters, who stood up on an important day for the club. It also gives the side a lot of confidence going into next week and is the small step on a long journey for the club.


About Nick Weidmann

Former Honours student in Journalism at the University of Tasmania and passionate Essendon supporter

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