Round 13 – Fremantle v Essendon: Victory is Ours

Before Saturday it had rained and rained. Some parts of my school were flooded. Just when we were about to confirm tennis was off, it stopped Friday lunch. We were able to play!

We played away at a club we have played every season. We had a great percentage boosting win. Just what Essendon needed at this stage of the season.  Fortunately it didn’t rain in Western Australia; it would make the Bombers worse.

June is a bad month. It is the start of winter, and the Bombers never win. I wasn’t looking forward to the game against Ross Lyon’s Dockers at Paterson’s Stadium. Three weeks ago was the lowest of lows. Two weeks ago when it couldn’t get lower it did, until the last quarter. Hird recognised this and made a swarm of changes. Bellchambers, Davey, Dyson and Lonergan all gone and Hille, Dell’Olio, Hibberd and Reimers came back. Fremantle also made four changes.

Before the game, Luke McPhalin ran out for his 200th game. I think how many recycled players Freo have got onto their list. Port Adelaide and Freo seem to turn these delisted players into stars.

The first quarter was a shootout. Pavlich kicked the opening goal, Hurley marked and kicked straight! And Monfires got two goals. Hird actually had drilled them into kicking straight. The old Essendon returns, Mayne runs into an open goal, Clarke gets a contested mark on the goal square and kicks the goal, Barlow goals but Hurley responds with his second, Mayne kicks another open goal. Sandilands wannabe Griffin kicks truly to put the home side up by two goals but Hurley kicks one to put the Bombers within a kick. 6.1 to 5.2. I am having trouble describing it all!

Cory Dell’Olio, Crameri and Heppell kick to put Essendon two goals ahead, but then it is even until half time with Dell’Olio, Crameri, Clarke and Mayne putting it through the big sticks. I was looking up, Essendon by 14 at half time. One of the most telling parts of that second quarter was Stewart Crameri. He is one of the slowest in the AFL right? He must have caught Olympics fever because he decided to take on Luke McPharlin in a 75m race. McPharlin was always on his tail, but Crameri held him off to get an open goal. Great!

The third quarter Freo dominate with the first six goals of the quarter, and this is usually our best quarter. Essendon looked down and out as Freo had the momentum and a 17 point lead. Then Ryder marked with a minute left. Ryder is a champion but he hadn’t had a great game tonight. Essendon were looking to stay in the contest and they needed a moment of brilliance. Paddy delivered. From 55m out, he bombed it straight through the goals. The next play is what Essendon had been doing until the Melbourne game. Watson clearance, Lovett-Murray handball, Hocking handball, Hurley goal (Hurley hasn’t done that until today’s game). That I think was the turning point of the match. Essendon went into three quarter time without the lead but the most important thing in sport, momentum. Fremantle having wasted that lead would have been very disappointed.

The last quarter was “the weapon”. Essendon outran the Dockers in the end. After one goal and six behinds, Essendon booted the last two goals to claim a memorable victory. I cheered in delight. Michael Hurley had kicked SIX GOALS! And Watson after shrugging of Ryan Crowley inspired his team. We had ended our June hoodoo, cemented our place in the top four and beaten a contender. Essendon players gave footys and high-fived to the few Essendon supporters the made the journey on this memorable Saturday evening.

About John Harms

John Harms is a writer, broadcaster, publisher, historian, speaker and teacher. He loves stories.

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