Round 20 – Hawthorn v Essendon: Dons nose dive



Hawthorn v Essendon.
Melbourne Cricket Ground,
Saturday, 4th of August, 2018.


Less then 24 hours to go, and I am PUMPED!


For the last ten weeks, Essendon has been the form side of the competition. All that could be for nought though as I have a horrible feeling that the start to the year will cost us. Hawthorn, of course, contributed to that start. The third term in that game still haunts me. Not as much as the Carlton loss, but still… shivers. And yet, as I fight the memories of that loss to try and find an inch of hope in me, I know that a loss tomorrow will probably cost us even more.


Not even Mum coming up with inventive names for the Richmond players as she yells, screams, and cheers the Tigers to victory, (Yes, Mum, Musty Dartin did kick that goal only because of a lucky pass by Brent Cotchin who somehow got past the outstretched arms of Selkirk, which to be honest sounds like a footy Parody of Dunkirk)), can distract me from the thoughts about tomorrow’s game. Arguably the most important match between these two sides since Lloyd Knocked Brad Sewell into the following season almost ten years ago.


First quarter, and I’m excited and nervous. The start. The start is electric. Tippa, Stringer, and McKenna make Essendon seem like a premiership contender. The Hawks seem shaken by the Burst. At one point Essendon, against a team that prides its self on uncontested Marks, leads in that catergory 12-0. This mirrors the score board. Then, on the Hawks forward 50, Smith nudges Goddard under the ball in a marking contest ever so slightly, beating Brendon in the only place he could be beaten: out the back, running towards goal. Turning point for the quarter as Hawthorn finishes the term by matching Essendon’s three goal effort. Essendon’s two misses the only difference.


Second quarter starts. I’m so excited and nervous. Still. Baguley makes me feel better after receiving a lovely August gift from Stringer, with the card written by a Hawthorn turnover. McKenna shows why Ireland is the second best country at Australian football as the Bombers start to show that the fight back by the Hawks earlier in the game hasn’t rattled them. This is further exemplified by Stringer showing that the early season critique of him was unforeseen and ridiculous. Essendon leads at this stage by 20. Gunston matches that effort with the equally ridiculous after an umpire’s call that was dubious.


Essendon seems to think that this game is supposed to be a nail bitter, and as such isn’t allowed to bury the Hawks, so they gift the Hawks one. And then another as I am reminded of how the Bombers shouldn’t be playing fast tempo footy 100% of the time. Hawks hit the lead. And then extend it. I go and change my black shorts to match the white that Essendon are wearing. Don’t know why I didn’t do that earlier. That should bring us back into the game. It does, as Essendon finally play some slower footy. The reason why that’s good? No turnovers, as the Bombers get within 4. Roughead pushes it out to past 10. Half time. Dang. Hawthorn in that quarter kicked about 5 goals in a row. I reckon at least 4, if not 5, of those goals came from turn overs. And who’s on Tom Mitchell?


Bombers get the hot start in the Third. Baguley and Brown kick goals and, all of a sudden, Essendon are back in front. WHAT IS THIS GAME!?!? Hawks respond. Hooker kicks the best goal of his career since the goal that won a match in 2015 for the Bombers. Funnily enough, that was against Hawthorn. A sign? Bellchambers adds to my excitement. BAGULEY AGAIN! Gunston is almost single handedly keeping Hawthorn in it. Henderson helps him, only to be denied by Myer’s finger tips. Brendan Whitecross hands the lead back to Hawthorn. A poster from 3 meters out extends Hawthorns lead to 6 points by the final quarter.


Entering the last term and I am still nervous. And a little excited. Gunston makes me sad. He seals it and is the only difference between the two teams. The game is over. But… wait… what’s this? A comeback? The Bombers start to fight back. Chipping slowly at it. All of a sudden, we’ve kicked a goal. All of a sudden, we’ve kicked another. A minute to go, and it’s anyone’s game. Hawthorn finally seals it with 40 seconds to go, leading by ten points. I slouch in my seat with sadness in my heart. But then. A free kick. And then. Play on. And then. A GOAL… TO COLYER! BOMBERS WITHIN 4 POINTS WITH 10 SECONDS TO GO!


IT’S ANYONE’S GAME. The final centre clearance. Whoever gets it wins it. Anyone’s game… no its not. Its Hawthorn’s game. They clear it. Siren.


But I am proud of my Dons. All I can say is, beware who we play the next three weeks. I feel like this classic mirrors Essendon’s season. Brave in some parts, inconsistent for the most part. Massive fight back, but, ultimately, we fall short of the prize.


And, even worst, Hawthorn now sits third.


But I am proud of my Dons. All I can say is, beware who we play the next three weeks.


I was hoping, however, that this game will relieved the pressure on the Bombers this season before a testing end of the year. But, it is now and truly ON.



HAWTHORN       3.1       9.3       13.5     16.11 (107)
ESSENDON         3.3       7.4       12.5     16.7 (103)


Hawthorn: Gunston 5, Breust 3, Smith 2, Henderson 2, Roughead, Whitecross, Ceglar, Worpel
Essendon: Baguley 3, Stringer 3, McKenna 2, Hooker 2, Bellchambers, Fantasia, Brown, McDonald-Tipungwuti, McGrath, Colyer


Hawthorn: Gunston, Mitchell, Stratton, O’Meara, Henderson, Burton
Essendon: Z.Merrett, Hooker, Smith, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Stringer, Fantasia


Hawthorn: Nil
Essendon: Dea (concussion) replaced in selected side by McNiece, Guelfi (illness) replaced in selected side by Colyer


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Margetts, Hosking, Findlay


Official crowd: 68,857 at the MCG



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About Caspar McLeod

Third Culture Kid at Heart. Grew up in Asia, discovered footy at age 9. AFL has since been my burning passion. Ask me who were the winners all the grand finals between 1938 and last year's decider, and I'll be happy to tell you. I'm a footy nut with a passion for writing and acting. All though I love writing and acting, during the footy season, AFL is my true passion. Waiting ever so patiently for the day when Essendon Next win the flag.

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