Round 8 – Pards’ Preview: Essendon v Hawthorn




The problem with new coaches is they think it’s their fault when the team loses and they start tinkering until the wheels fall off. It is not the coaches job to come up with an imaginary system that establishes our brand. What are we? Paddlepop ice-creams?

Truck’s one job is to keep his players fit and playing a little bit better than they thought was possible, and then on gameday make some moves. If we win – the moves were genius, if we lose… well we still lost.



The sports papers love to cultivate the myth of the genius coach with secret tactics. Sheedy tying down the windsock. Really? Anyone can put a bit of spit on their finger and hold it in the air and see which way the wind is blowing.

Let’s face it, nearly all new systems and tactics are countered by the opposition coach in the second half. They’re fools gold. Stick to the tried and true. Pick your best team and let them play to their best.

The only time I’ve seen a coaching tactic work long enough to have an influence was in the 2008 GF when Hawthorn used the new kick out rule to rush behinds and bring the ball back instantly. Even so, Crawford and Dew were the difference, not the coach.

Advice to Truck: Stop trying to be a greyhound bus and be a Big Mack instead.

And so this week we meet the team that hates us most. The dorkers.

Bomber fans, let me lift your spirits and tell you this. Before the games at the MCG there’s a group of Hawthorn fans who gather under the big tree to share a smoke. In dark times, their conversation resurrects the ghosts of the most powerful Hawthorn players ever made. They speak each name in hushed tones:  Leigh Matthews, Chris Langford, Dermott Brereton, Chris Mew, Gary Ayres, Michael Tuck, Robert DiPierdomenico, Jason Dunstall.

Essendon played against these  legends in the grand finals of 84 and 85. We beat them both times. In both games our last quarters were supreme annihilation. We kicked nine in the last quarter of ’84 (a grand final record), and eleven in ’85 (a new grand final record).

Let the scoreboard state, “the greatest ever Hawthorn team ran a distant second to Essendon in the games that counted most”.





I don’t believe Hawthorn has ever recovered psychologically from those legendary defeats.

Years later, in the nonsensical “line in the sand game”, when Dermie spat his dummy in the dressing rooms, we all knew they were still sooking. Today, psychologists will tell you they were suffering from PTSD. Essendon does that.

Prediction: We will win the last quarter.


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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    It has been a miserable start to the season but I remain optimistic. Missing many key players for extended periods hasn’t helped. I think the nucleus is there but the selectors are still not certain of the role to be played by specific players. Nick Bryan needs to come into the team and given the chance to develop his skills at the higher level. As a big mobile player he will provide added impetus around the ground in the manner Jackson does for Melbourne. I will be cheering the Bombers on at Marvel on Saturday night; I’m not expecting to win, injuries to Stringer and Cox not helping but as long as they have a ‘red hot go’ I’ll be happy.

  2. I agree Col, we’ve got enough good players. We need to find our mojo and trust each other. Essendon are the best. Saturday night under the roof is a good plan. You might even get to sing the song.

  3. Colin Ritchie says

    Pleased to see Nick Bryan has been selected for this week after my comments above.

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