Season Review – Essendon: Taking our medicine

This footy season has been a  “shocker” for a Don like me. It’s even caused angst to my 96 year old dad. Just the other day he asked me,” how on earth can Essendon pay the fine of two million dollars”?  I put his worries to rest and assured him that the Dons will play in 2014.  But I have a real empty feeling about this year.

Pre season, the future looked bright, Sir James in charge, Bomber second in command and the playing list looked pretty good.  And then  dark clouds of trouble appeared over Windy Hill.  Rapidly organised press conferences complete with ashen faced  participants, resignations, sackings, accusations and threats of court action. The season hadn’t even started and the Essendon Footy Club was looking crook, and in need of palliative care.   The good old Essendon Football Club established back in the 1870’s by people like my Great Grandfather,  allegedly involved with drugs.  The motto for 2013, “whatever it takes”, didn’t sound too flash either.  And then the jokes about being a Don supporter commenced.  They were all in fun and I enjoyed them, but deep down I knew this season was going to be different, very different from previous years.

When the footy started the Dons were on song, I couldn’t work out how this could possibly be. Did each player have a personal psychologist who sat down with them before each game? What ever they were doing at Windy Hill was working. Well some of the time anyway. The Dons had some fantastic wins especially in the first two thirds of the season. Wins over Fremantle in Perth was some thing to write home about,  and then we beat the old enemy  Collingwood.  Sweet.   At this stage, despite drug rumblings, things looked OK.  And then we got up again a few weeks later to beat the other arch enemy Carlton. Very sweet.

Come late July and we were still holding our own, the win against the Western Australian Eagles in Perth a real highlight . I was trying to keep a lid on it, but every now I would go to the pot for a sneaky view, and I liked what I saw. But then it all went pear shaped in a big big way. We hit Hawthorn and it wasn’t a pretty sight, smashed all over the ground.  The next three weeks didn’t improve things at all, as a matter of fact it got worse, a lot worse.  We were thumped by Collingwood, then the mob from Perth gave us a real touch up at the footy ground behind Spencer Street Station  and  then North Melbourne showed us if they hadn’t lost half a dozen games by less than a goal, they would be Premiership contenders.

Could it get worse?  Carlton next on the fixture and they are cocky. Especially the “Carlton Four” And what did we do, we beat them on the last kick of the night. OK maybe not the last kick but certainly near enough. A great bloody win,  a very satisfying one. But the satisfaction was short lived, I watched a totally dispirited Essendon take on Richmond at the “G” the next weekend.  It was sad and depressing, they were never in it.  Obviously the decisions made by the AFL the previous week had a devastating  effect on the players.

I don’t  try and make any excuses for Essendon. They did the wrong thing, they deserve all the medicine they have to take.  2013 has not been a happy one for all who love the Red and Black jumper, but I will take my medicine  back up for another year in 2014.

Rod Oaten


  1. daniel flesch says

    Good on you Rod. Well -written , heartfelt and spot -on. Feel sorry for EFC supporters like you who can see and cope with reality. Have almost forgiven you for the ’84 -5 Grand Finals. Wonder how you feel about Golden Boy re-appointed to the job straight after getting suspended for being a very naughty Golden Boy. Cheers.

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