By Alex Wadelton


Essendon were one of the big improvers last year. After a dismal, injury racked 2010 that saw the eventual sacking of Matthew Knights, the Bombers were able to rise back into the eight, ending a drought stretching back to 2009. Sadly their only final saw a ten-goal demolition at the hands of Carlton- a vast improvement on the fifteen-goal hiding they copped in their last final way back two years earlier.

A blazing start saw some declare Essendon a challenger for the premiership in 2011, before the Bombers cooled somewhat. But their momentous victory over “assistant” coach Mark Thompson’s old club Geelong mid season recalibrated the ceiling for this young Bomber squad. Their four point victory means that technically they are forty two points better than Collingwood, and forty five better than their nearest challenger Hawthorn. It also means that they, technically, beat Melbourne by 190 and so therefore have the, technically, equal biggest winning margin in history. Technically.


James Hird and Bomba Thompson are two lying, conniving, egomaniacal despots who happily stabbed multitudes of people in the back in their desperate attempt to get to the top jobs at Windy Hill, blatantly lying repeatedly to trusted confidantes whilst maintaining an outward appearance of being cool, calm, collected, consummate professionals.

Which makes them perfect coaches.

Still, if you were a player at Essendon, you’d want to make sure your locker had a good padlock on it. Just in case.

Players to watch.

If there’s been a knock on Jobe Watson in the past it’s that his voice and mannerisms are too similar to his father. It’s kinda freaky. Other more important knocks are that he keeps getting injured and is not a great kick. Still there is no doubting he is an elite gatherer of the ball, an inspiring leader and the key to the Bombers fortunes next year and into the future. But, really, watch an interview with him next time and ask yourself “have you ever seen Tim and Jobe Watson in the same room together?” And if you have, note the similarities. It’s uncanny.

David Zaharakis has by far the best name in the competition to yell out exceedingly loud as he’s kicking a goal that will see Collingwood lose by less than a goal after leading handsomely three minutes earlier. “Zaaaaa-haaaaa-RAAAAAAAAAAA-KISSSS! You beauty!” He was a deserved winner of the Essendon best and fairest award, and more greatness is expected of him. Particularly by everyone who hates Collingwood. Which is most sane people.

It’s important to have a batch of up-and-comers in your side to gain that enthusiasm and energy that only the young can provide. The Bombers have one of the most impressive youngsters in the competition. One who is being groomed for great things- Dustin Fletcher. If he can put on some body weight and stop getting suspended for tripping every opponent he plays on, he could be a beauty. Has been nicknamed “Go-Go-Gadget arms” because he has a pet dog named Brain and a young niece named Penny who solves crimes.


After trialing playing three ruckmen in their team to great success (David Hille, Patrick Ryder and Tom Bellchambers) it’s believed Essendon will step it up a notch and base their entire year on selecting twenty-two ruckmen. Already the shorter members of the squad are training wearing boots with two-foot long studs.

Indeed there has even been a suggestion that David Hille and Brett Prismall are planning to play as Master/Blaster from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. No news yet on whether Etihad Stadium will be equipped with chainsaws and pick axes.


Essendon are as likely to win the 2012 AFL premiership as Tony Abbott is likely to be pictured emerging from an ocean swim this year.

Next up: Why Fremantle are certainties to win this year’s premiership.


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