Round 14 – Sydney v Essendon: The season with several gears

Sydney versus Essendon

7:50pm, Friday 23 June

SCG, Sydney

by Daniel Saunders


What a win!!! Absolutely astonishing. The season that was crazy enough has just raised a notch. It has gone into second-gear. On Thursday night, we saw the Hawks shock the Crows at Adelaide Oval. On Saturday night, we saw the Dogs hold off against the Roos, and the Demon’s last-gasp clutch victory over the Eagles at their Subiaco Oval fortress.


But I digress. Neither of those games were as heart-stopping and gut-wrenching as what we saw on Friday night. It was chaos at its finest. The Swans playing the Bombers at the SCG. The Bombers playing for their spot in the top 8, and us playing for our season. It does not get better than that!


I think it would be rather pointless to talk about the first three quarters. All I shall say is that it was definitely a game of momentum, the Swans having the wood over the Dons for the most part. Their inaccuracy, however, was quite deplorable. One thing is for sure, we were extremely lucky that it did not end up costing us the game, and the season, for that matter.


After youngsters Isaac and Wilma gave us some breathing space, it got extremely crazy. Enter the unheralded Connor McKenna. The speedy Irishman put on a show late in that third term, slotting a bomb on the run from 50 out, running along the boundary. He started to work his way into the game, and his speed through the centre of the ground was very effective.


It was the start of an onslaught from the Bombers. They would kick seven goals in a row, including five in the final term. Shaun McKernan was having a forgettable game up to half-time, until his two composed set shots brought Essendon back within a goal. Then, we hear the eccentric Brian Taylor scream out “ORAAAZIOOOO FANNTASIAAAA!” I am sure that everyone in the football world hates it when he mispronounces names to make them sound like Aussie slurs. Isn’t this an Italian name? At least try to make it sound proper.


Anyway, Fantasia kicks the goal, and AMT slots one more, to snatch the lead. Then Colyer and Hurley stretch the lead out to 19 points, with just five minutes to go.


So we need four goals to keep our season alive. Fat chance. But we do not conform. We thrust it forward once again, and young Ollie Florent soccers one through from 15 out. Probably no more than a consolation, because we still need three goals.


I see Swans fans leaving the province, as they believe the contest has expired. Enter Buddy, who has kicked four behinds up to this point, adds to his plethora of minor scores, with one that was just touched on the line, although the commentators, and Swans fans thought otherwise.


So the decision came on the scoreboard. Behind. The crowd roars in anger. More people start leaving. But with a minute and a half to play, our clearaance king Kennedy thumps the ball long to the goal mouth. 2 on 1. Newman has to do it himself. He doesn’t mark it, but he picks it up and snaps another. Now it’s just a goal the difference. “Don’t lose hope, don’t lose hope,” I say to myself.


My dad doesn’t help. “Get real, Daniel,” he scoffs, “our season is finished”. I respond with a cold “Yeah nah”. Mills pumps it long again, only to have Daniher pull out his inner Leo Barry.


His kick will decide what happens next. Callum Mills in a one-on-one with McDonald-Tipungwuti. If Mills doesn’t take the mark, Tippa will shark it and end our season. But the young 20-year-old holds his ground and makes his mark, literally. He has been super important in these last few minutes. It comes to Buddy Franklin.


From inside the square, Buddy goes long and once again, kicks a behind. Now it is under a goal, and that may have been it.


But when Goddard takes the kick-out, Papley runs in and smothers it over the boundary. And then, from the throw-in, Rampe picks it up. With the outside of the boot, the Great Dane kicks to the goalsquare. I hold my breath. The crowd try to will the ball over the goal line. But it’s Gary Rohan who takes the mark in the goalsquare. He won the game last week, and he has done it again this week. He goes back, the siren sounds, and he put it through the sticks. I am going absolutely ballistic. Our season is not over by a long shot.


For all of those who have rubbed off the Swans, you ain’t seen nothing yet! This crazy season has just gone up a gear, and it’s far from over for us Swannies! For now, holiday plans for September are on hold.



SYDNEY          2.5    5.11    8.17    11.20    (86)

ESSENDON     2.4    4.9     7.11    12.13    (85)



Sydney: Heeney, Newman 2; Parker, Papley, Reid, Hannebery, Hayward, Florent, Rohan

Essendon: Stewart, McKernan 2; Daniher, Zaharakis, Bellchambers, McKenna, Fantasia, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Colyer, Hurley



Sydney: Kennedy, Grundy, Mills, Heeney, Lloyd, Parker

Essendon: Hurley, Merrett, Hartley, Zaharakis, Heppell, Gleeson


UMPIRES: Schmitt, Fleer, Mollison

CROWD: 34 575


OUR VOTES: Heeney (Syd) 3, Kennedy (Syd) 2, Merrett (Ess) 1

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