Round 22 — Fremantle v Essendon: Optus Stadium magic




Fremantle v Essendon

6:10 pm, 17 August 2019

Optus Stadium


This weekend so far has been going all right for my Bombers. The Crows were pumped (only the second time in my life I have ever gone for Collingwood), and the Roos are smashing the Power. Now, it’s over to us. A trip West made a little harder with the news Hooker is a late out. At least Hurley is back, as is Saad.


Game time.


First quarter. Zaharakis off with the blood rule early. We conceded a behind early. Mundy misses. Freo by those two points. Ballantyne goes off with the blood rule, too. Brutal-sounding match so far. Zach Merrett snaps the first goal of the game. Ok, great! Can we not wait so long until our second, please. Walters misses. Bombers by three points. We don’t have to wait long for our second goal, thankfully. Brown kicks it after some great play by Stringer and Fantasia. Essendon by nine. Zerk-thatcher, in for Hooker, sounds like he is having a good debut game so far. We sound fast.


Jake Stringer kicks a goal. We are three straight. Freo are on three behinds. Make that four after McCarthy misses from the boundary. He makes up for his two misses thus far by kicking a goal from the one place no one can miss … the goal square, after a great contested mark. Stringer misses a chance to extend our lead meaningfully. We lead by nine points.


The radio cuts out for a bit, and it comes back; Parish kicks a goal from a free kick. Nice. Dons by 15. Walla kicks his first. Things are usually good when he gets on the scoreboard with majors. Essendon by 21. Darcy responds with Freo’s second. Michael Walters kicks their third. Nine-point lead to us. Would love the siren to sound about now. Ahh, there it is. Essendon by nine at quarter time, but Freo with the momentum.


Second quarter. Zaharakis again is in the wars … this time with what sounds like a horrible leg injury. The respect from the Fremantle players is sure to not make the injury feel less painful, but it’s a nice touch. Michael Walters sounds like he’s put forward his entry for an acting role audition. Of course, it leads to a goal. Essendon by three. Hope that goal was worth the fine, Walters. (Honestly, if the AFL wants to stamp diving out, the penalty should be heavier. Just saying) McKernan makes me feel better by taking a strong contested grab. He converts. Essendon by nine. We sling-shot the footy from the defensive goal square until the forward-fifty, leading to a goal from Orazio. Essendon by 15.


Zac Clarke sounds like he takes a ripper mark and … he misses from 15 out directly in front. The best and the worst of him summarised in one play. I do feel for him. Essendon by 16. Langdon nearly kicks a goal. Nearly. Essendon by 15. Shiel does likewise from 50. Margin out to 16. We get a fifty-meter penalty. That helps. Brown kicks it. 22-point lead. Wow, the umpire sounds like he is concussed. He gets up after a minute or so, remarkably. It will be interesting to see if the Freo player who collided with him will be fined or not (will be unlucky to).


Jake Stringer kicks a spectacular-sounding point. 23-point lead. He then gets burned by his teammate, who instead turns the ball over. I can’t imagine the package would be too happy after that. Fremantle get another point. We lead by 22. And that is when the siren sounds. Both teams would be frustrated with that first half. Essendon should be further in front, and yet Freo would probably feel like they should be closer than what they are.


Third quarter. Comedy of errors early on. Freo kick the first through Michael “diving” Walters. Essendon by 16. Stringer responds. Essendon by 22. Matera nearly kicks a miracle goal. Essendon by 21. The comedy continues from both teams. We steal a goal from ourselves as an incredible AMT snap and celebration is ruined by us pushing a Freo player in the back. Fremantle then slam the ball into the post. Comedy of errors, where the jokes are getting stale. 20-point lead to Essendon.


Zach Merrett… WHAT A GOAL, FROM THE BOUNDARY! 50 OUT! IF YOU DON’T MIND! Essendon by 26. SHIEL! JOIN THE PARTY! WE LEAD BY 32! We get a behind. 33. We rush a behind. 32-point lead to the good. Sandilands, one of the players in the League who I think deserved to be in a premiership side, misses a set shot that would have brought the house down. He missed from 25 meters out dead in front. Like a ruckman. That is the last act of the quarter. Essendon by 31.


Final term. Freo score the first point. We lead by an even five majors. Essendon get stabbed in the back by a bad umpiring mistake (how surprising), leading to a Fyfe goal. We lead by 24. Now Freo sound good. McCarthy takes a good mark. If he kicks it, the crowd will erupt … they do … in frustration, as he kicks it out of bounds on the full. Ballantyne has a chance to kick a team lifter in what may be the last game of his career. Yet another player unlucky perhaps to not win a flag. He misses, too.


McCarthy gets a free kick, and has another chance to blow the (non-existent) roof off the place. He kicks it. 19-point margin to Essendon. I don’t pay attention for a second and suddenly, I hear another goal is kicked. NOOOO! Oh, wait. It was from Langford. Haha. In that case, YESSS! Bombers back out to 25. He kicks another soon after. 31-point lead with eight minutes to go. Freo kick a point. We lead by five with less than five minutes remaining. We kick another point. 31-point lead with a minute to go. We get another behind. Siren. WIN NUMBER 12! WHAT A WIN.


Last week, we did a very impressive magic trick by disappearing from Marvel. Tonight, we have made Fremantle’s finals hopes go up in smoke.


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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.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    With everything against them, this win has proved to be an outstanding result. Poor form, adverse publicity, playing in Perth against a team who two of their all time stars are playing their last match, the odds were certainly against the Bombers. They dug deep, some good “ins”, and some passion has got them back on track again. Bring on the Magpies!

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