Round 20 – Essendon v North Melbourne: A win full of Merrett

These are the sort of games we often lost in the past, games we  expect to win but ultimately lose. So with some trepidation I headed for Marvel Stadium to meet up with my footy following mates. To offset the negative thoughts, while I was out walking, Kathy Merrett, Zac’s mum gave me a wave as the family drove through Colac on their way to the footy. She looked very confident! A good omen!


In the end the win was never in doubt. Jake Stringer with three first quarter goals looked set for a big day, and he was right on song. It is fantastic to have him back fit and playing match winning footy. For the first time in many weeks Peter Wright was well held by the opposition. They played him close, forced him under the ball and applied non-stop pressure to him whenever he went near the ball. He still kicked 2 goals, and missed others that he should have kicked as he did in previous weeks. This enabled James Stewart, in for his first game in 17 matches, and playing up forward to take some strong marks and kick 3 goals. Harry Jones kicked a couple, and with Stringer’s 5 took the reliance of scoring pressure off Wright. This is one thing that was missing early in the year, multiple forward options, and foils for one another.


Merrett and Redman were sensational for the Bombers. Zac has been one of the driving forces behind Essendon’s resurgence in recent matches. Playing predominately through the centre and forward he has been the instigator of many forward thrusts and at the same time kicking goals. Redman is fast becoming, if not already, one of the stars of the competition. Exciting, daring, explosive, and full of talent. ‘Red Dog’ is much loved, and he does loves to kick a goal.


The back line is holding together wonderfully well. Zerk-Thatcher finally has accepted self belief in himself that he is capable to play footy at the top level, and now is a vital cog in the team along with Laverde and Ridley down back.


With the newcomers staking their claims for positions in the team it makes the selection in the team very competitive. Jye Menzies as medical sub had a quarter and a half game time and was lively, did not look out of place, and is another handy mid year pickup for the Bombers.


Having won five of the past six matches has restored some pride for Bombers’ fans after the disastrous start to the season, and helps to set the scene for a much better season next season.



ESSENDON                                    5.1       9.5       13.6      17.12 (114)
NORTH MELBOURNE                    2.4       5.6        7.9        9.12 (66)


Essendon: Stringer 5, Stewart 3, Jones 2, Langford 2, Wright 2, Guelfi, Merrett, Redman
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 4, Anderson, Coleman-Jones, Goldstein, Scott, Turner


Essendon: Redman, Merrett, Stringer, Zerk-Thatcher, Hind, Ridley
North Melbourne: Simpkin, Zurhaar, Anderson, Stephenson, McKay, Scott 


Essendon: Caldwell (calf)
North Melbourne: Nil


Dylan Shiel (hamstring) replaced by Archie Perkins
North Melbourne: Lachie Young, Jack Mahony (health and safety protocols) replaced by Phoenix Spicer, Kayne Turner


Essendon: Jye Menzie (replaced Jye Caldwell in the third quarter)
North Melbourne: Josh Walker (unused)




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About Colin Ritchie

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


  1. Thanks Col. Too bad there’s no night series – we’d be a right up there. Merrett is an elite player, we are lucky to have him. I hope he is the Captain next year. I think Dyson is relishing his role on the wing and handing over the captaincy might keep him fresh enough for another season.

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