Round 1 – Hawthorn v Essendon: Walla returns as Bombers fly high


Like many Bomber supporters I approached the game against Hawthorn with some degree of apprehension. Although excited by the prospects of an improved season with a new coach and an apparent shift in the culture and attitude in the club the disappointments of the past seasons weighed heavily on my mind  – and the late serious injury to key player Peter Wright didn’t help my thinking either.


Although this was not a home game my friend and I decided we had to be at the game to lend our support to newly appointed Essendon captain Zach Merrett, a former of student of ours from Cobden Primary School.


It was noticeable from the outstart there was a shift in the execution of the game plan, for starters the team was able to regularly hit targets enabling players to move the ball on quickly with very few turnovers. Obviously a lot of work has been put into skill work and we were very clean at the ball.


Small crumbing goal kicking forwards  so sorely missed in the past season or two hopefully are now a thing of the past. Jye Menzie was impressive in his third game, and the speedy Alwyn Davey Jnr looked as though he’d been playing for years. A huge future ahead for him.


Archie Perkins continues to grow and mature as an elite footballer and was probably close to best on the ground in my humble opinion. He kicked 3 goals which could have easily been 5, and the engine we’ve been hearing about was purring on all eight cylinders.


And of course there was Walla. The reception from the crowd when he ran onto the ground early in the final quarter was incredible, as load as any sound I’ve heard at a game of footy, and when he kicked his first goal the roar reverberating around the hallow ‘G was deafening. There is a whole lot of love for Walla.


Our engine room provided much drive from the centre especially Parish, and Merrett had a brilliant second half after breaking a nagging tag. Setterfield did much of the grunt work and will be a big part of this team. Draper played well and was dangerous up forward with his marking and presence kicking two goals.  Weideman kicked a couple of goals, could’ve had more but marked and moved well.


Our backline which has taken a hammering a times were sensational all day. Tight, composed, and precise with their kicking and handball, they played with poise and confidence. Redman running of the backline kicked two goals in his inimitable style and celebration, Ridley kicked his first ever goal for the team so there was plenty of good vibes around the players.


We sit on top of the ladder after Round 1 – I cannot remember the last time we were in that position, with a very winnable game against a disappointing Suns we may still be there after Round 2 – but I won’t get ahead of myself.


HAWTHORN    4.5     5.7     5.9      9.11 (65)
ESSENDON      3.1     8.5    14.8    19.10 (124)


Hawthorn: Breust 3, Hardwick 2, Wingard, Jiath, Amon, Greene,
Essendon: Perkins 3, Weideman 2, Redman 2, Draper 2, Menzie 2, Setterfield, Ridley, Jones, Davey jnr, Caldwell, Durham, Heppell, McDonald-Tipungwuti


Hawthorn: Worpel, Ward, Sicily, Day, Hardwick
Essendon: Merrett, Parish, Perkins, Laverde, Setterfield, Redman


Hawthorn: Wingard (calf)
Essendon: Nil


Hawthorn: Conor Nash (replaced Jacob Koschitzke in the third quarter)
Essendon: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (replaced Jones in the fourth quarter)


Crowd: 68,691 at the MCG


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About Colin Ritchie

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


  1. Jemma Ritchie says

    Marley is very excited that bombers are top of the ladder! What a great start to the season.

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Thanks Jem – it is fab to have Marley cheering the Bombers along.

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