Round 20 – Hawthorn v Essendon: Who Dares Wins…sometimes

Hawthorn v Essendon

1:45PM Saturday August 5




In the last 10 weeks my Bombers have won 8 and lost 2. Some great wins with losses to Richmond, the best team we’ve played and a second time to Collingwood, where we stumbled narrowly against a well organised team who parried our bold attack off half back.



In the wins our speed and daring were too much for teams that have rallied since, notably the Giants and the Eagles, who we beat handily on their fortresses. Still we’re backed into a corner with the need to win every game from hereon in. The early season losses against poor teams in Footscray and Carlton loom every week as what might stand between us and finals.



And so to the Hawks. The hated Hawks of yore, a shared history of conflict, spite, epic matches in the 80s, where our light shone brightly briefly and theirs brighter for longer.



It promises much and we start in a flurry with three goals to nil in the first ¼ hour and then Clarko and his lieutenants step in to halt the momentum. They begin the keepings off that has served them brilliantly for most of the last 10 years and by ¼ time its even, half a quarter each, 3 goals each. Merrett, McKenna and Smith have shown out for us while Stratton, Mitchell and Gunston were the architects of their revival.



2nd quarter and in the twisted syntax of Dwayne Russell it’s déjà vu all over again. Three to the Bombers early and then a brace from the Hawks and at half time they’re a couple up as we struggle to get it off them as they play their high possession slow and steady chess game which we play into with the inexplicable zones used by poor teams and exploited by good ones.



The second half is an echo of the first with our run and gun method being thwarted constantly by the Hawks. They’re a long way from the back to back to back squad but the master coach has got them well organised still with premiership heroes in Gunston, Bruest and Stratton still very capable and the latter day recruits in Mitchell, T and O’Meara proving more than adequate replacements for Mitchell, S and Lewis.



For our part Zach Merrett shows again why he should be in the running when awards season comes around and Hooker and our two gun ‘gets’ in Smith and Stringer are all doing their bit right until the end.



An old adage about a week being a long time in footy gets to be wheeled out right at the end. Last week Hurley was the conqueror of the GOAT (let’s have that argument). This week? Late, late, late in the piece the ball is played forward where Hurls is matched with Worpel, in his first season. The ball gets past them, Hurley zigs, Worpel zags, it falls to him, Hurley stumbles haplessly, Worpel gathers and goals. With a dribbler. How about that Jason D?



We’ve been brave but beaten. Game over and maybe the season too. A lot of might have been about Essendon, a lot of remembering what works about Hawthorn.



In the aftermath the Hawks look ahead to the Cats and at Essendon they start talking about the trade period. Which pretty much says everything about each club’s recent history.



Go Dons.



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


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 

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

Crowd: 68,857

Our votes: Mitchell (3), Merrett (2), Gunston (1)


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