Round 9 – Essendon v Brisbane: Smacking the hated enemy


I don’t like Essendon. When my kids were little we would sit with the Lions’ cheer squad when the Lions were playing in Melbourne. Only at the Essendon games would fluids be thrown down from the level above, and there were a few Essendon ferals that would come around every match and have a go at cheer squad members. Eventually security was tightened up and the problems disappeared.


However, last year when we played the Bombers we got comprehensively towelled up, with Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (AMT) playing some sublime footy. The Bombers were red hot in the first quarter, playing the best footy I saw all year. I actually enjoyed watching the match later in the week.


Last night’s match was important for both sides. The Bombers have a match in hand, lots of injuries and have had a good run with the draw. The Lions are in second place and have finally had some injuries. The Lions have the better squad which came starkly into view in the first quarter. Answerth, number 43 for the Lions, came into the side to play on AMT, number 43 for the Bombers, and I immediately tried to think of a larger combined numbers playing on each other.


It was all one way traffic between the two as AMT was rarely sighted while Answerth had the ball on a string. This difference in squad depth was the story of the night. Witherden, in for his first game this year, had a night out and Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Sam Skinner and Connor Ballenden all contributed at times during the game. The Essendon ruckman Sam Draper had an encouraging start to his AFL career but has a terrible haircut which I want to talk about.


A big issue in the AFL is haircuts. Boy I have seen some shockers, but the young lads are cooped up and it’s much better they get a wicked haircut than get a permanent scar (tattoo). I want a haircut of the week on the AFL site alongside mark and goal of the week. It should be easy to get a sponsor, and I would call it the Doc Weildon award, in honour of that great Fitzroy character.


Brisbane opened up the match kicking three unanswered goals and then withstood some Essendon pressure until half time. In the second half the Lions kicked nine goals to zip and it appeared to me the Bombers injuries (Stringer and Heppell in particular) had left them without any players who could kick goals against the run of play.


Brisbane were miserly in defence, keeping Essendon to their lowest score for years. Witherden and Answerth will both feature in the coach’s award. Up forward Ballenden and Skinner came in and seemed to fit. Hipwood had the fumbles again; he missed a relatively easy shot at goal, nailed a snap forty yards out from the boundary line and took two really tough pack marks only to find out they had both been touched off the boot. To add insult to injury, after one of those ‘marks’ he actually conceded a holding the ball free!


Real questions will be asked of Essendon and they need to respond quickly. A few more players back from injury is probably what they need most of all.


The Lions have shown some real depth in their list and those injured players might be a tad nervous. I’ve always thought a few injuries early in the season isn’t a problem as it forces some experimentation.


Derrinalphil’s On Baller Free Votes


3 Votes – Answerth

2 Votes – Witherden

1 Vote – Andrews



ESSENDON     1.3      2.3      3.4      3.10 (28)
BRISBANE     5.3      5.5      10.6    14.7 (91)


Smith 2, Parish
Brisbane: Cameron 4, Neale 2, Ellis-Yolmen, Ballenden, Hipwood, Lyons, McCarthy, Rayner, Skinner, Zorko


PS: When will clubs realise they have to tag Neale?



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  1. Shane Reid says

    Great piece Phil, love the idea of the Doc Wheildon award. He was another good Newborough/Moe boy like Sam Skinner.

    As for Lachie Neale, hopefully teams never figure out that tagging him is a good idea. Having said that, when they do it does seem that Lyons always has a big game as a result.

  2. Peter Schumacher says

    I agree whole heartedly with yur opening comment, “I don’t like Essendon”.

    My reasons are different to yours of course. My daughter who should have been a rusted on Lions fan married into the opposition religion of Essendon. OK, fair enough, we all do silly things when young, but what has made it hard to take is that she and her cohorts revel in Essendon wins against Brisbane, and in the last few years that has made life very difficult.

    Thus, the other night was one to savor!

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