AFL Round 7 – Essendon v Western Bulldogs: The Hostel Experience

Hostel accomodation can be hit and miss. In London, dirty toilets with broken locks tested patience. But they had comfortable beds! Edinburgh had amazing views of the Castle, hectic hostel-run pub crawls, and less comfortable mattresses. In Dublin, female German room-mates with a penchant for public nudity and tepid showers with iffy pressure were on hand. In Galway, a 34-year old traveller serenaded the room with Galway Girl at 1am, I hung out with a collection of cool Canadians, and heard tales of ‘Polish Girl’, the rude, distant, frequently complaining hostel guest. In Porto, well, I’ll find out when I land in about an hour. From my limited experience though, you embrace the good, cope with the bad, and continue to book the cheapest room possible to allow more travelling (and drinking) through expensive European cities.

From afar, Essendon’s season seems to be following similarly bi-polar patterns. Some spectacular bursts of footy (the first quarter last week), strong wins (our two early wins) and then games where you wonder why you bother, and perhaps just going home is the best option (I believe the St Kilda game applies here). Michael Hurley appears to holding up strongly down back, and Paul Chapman is Paul Chapman (Thank You Geelong!) But, Jake Carlisle – from what I can gather – is not actually our answer to Nick Riewoldt, and Joe Daniher isn’t Paul Salmon yet.

Waking up from a big night out in Galway the AFL app told me Hawthorn had beaten the Saints by 145 points – here I was thinking I was in bad shape – and Port Adelaide were continuing their merry journey up to the rarified air at the top of the table. Melbourne had somehow won another game. Naturally all signs pointed to an Essendon loss. Sitting at the bus station awaiting my journey to the airport the Bombers, true to form, kicked the first three, and then forgot how to score for the rest of the first half.

The bus ride to Dublin was spent napping – to be honest, as scintillating as the every-two-minutes-written commentary updates delivered via an app were, the need to recover vital energy was overpowering. So too it seemed was Essendon’s third quarter. In my head I like to imagine that Heppell, Watson, Stanton and Zaharakis decided enough was enough and delivered the ball so effectively inside 50 that even our dysfunctional set-up was able to kick goals.

Or maybe the young Bulldogs side couldn’t quite keep the pace up, despite pushing again in the last quarter. I’ve deliberately avoided reading any match reports, all they’ll do is have me copying other people’s thoughts. No matter, the Bombers are back on the winners list. Guess the luck of the Irish did help after all. Or is that just the Guinness talking?

Essendon: 3.3.21, 3.6.24, 9.10.64, 10.13.73
Bulldogs: 3.5.23, 5.8.38, 7.9.51, 9.11.65


Bombers: Watson 2, Goddard, Howlett, Daniher, Winderlich, Stanton, Chapman, Heppell, Dempsey
Bulldogs: Dalhaus 2, Macrae, Liberatore, Cooney, Jones, Higgins, Stringer, Hunter


Essendon: Hooker, Hurley, Watson, Fletcher
Bulldogs: Dalhaus, Higgins, Liberatore


L.Dalhaus (3), C.Hooker (2), M.Hurley (1)

About Sam Laffy

Thirty-something year-old Essendon supporter. Winning the flag in 2000 when I was 12 was supposed to kick off a dynasty I could boast about for years. Still waiting for that 17th flag.....


  1. E.regnans says

    Sam, admirable dedication. The Dublin-Galway road is probably a good choice for sleeping.

    The hostel priorities must be tricky. Would you favour a mattress over a lockable toilet? A pub crawl over nude room mates?
    Great story.

  2. I would take a good mattress over a lockable toilet – you can always jam a door shut, but your back wants something decent to sleep on! Nude room-mates can be a good way to wake up in the morning – can be hit and miss though!

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