February 26, 2011By Steve Healy
October 04, 2010By australianrules.com.au
May 02, 2011By Steve Healy
Essendon vs Gold Coast...
A GAME of football holds thousands of variables. But one known fact had already been set in stone - Essendon would win this match. As a result of that, it’d be a fantastic, fun and ambitious day with my favourite loyal, Essendon supporting friend James Rate. And what a pleasure this would be, after an annoying few days consisting of a horrible Dees performance, a subsequent threat to burn Dean Bailey’s little hair, and the Royal Wedding in which everyone should realise, does not affect our lives whatsoever (Although Kate and her sister looked nice).
We met each other outside the station, and just the thought of that brings a smile to my face - meeting up at the footy with a good friend is one of the best things in the world. As we sat down in the top level under the closed Docklands roof, we exchanged compliments on each other’s clothing items. Among the ridiculously over-the-top Essendon paraphernalia on the scoreboard showed Dustin Fletcher as a late withdrawal, much to my disappointment. He is the sort of player who is just so likable. Imagine if he became a father at 17-18 and had a son playing for the Bombers alongside him. Martin Fletcher, William Fletcher, Mohammed Fletcher - just imagine. But his health is very important to the Bombers, and who better to rest players against than Gold Coast?
The game began, and it seemed as though 22 Gold Coast players were resting against Essendon. To understand you just had to be there. The Gold Coast players weren’t playing. Essendon were doing what they wanted, even when they made blunders inside 50, they were able to clean them up with a chain of handballs resulting in a goal from a better position. Reimers was on song, he dribbled one through from the boundary and added a couple more soon after. He is the sort of player who thrived on this rare abnormality, a player who has extreme skill but can’t show it because he simply isn’t consistent enough (or in the team). It got to the stage where you knew that every Essendon goal would follow with another, undoubtedly. Jetta did some brilliant improvising in the pocket, and got it back to snap a goal whilst in a tackle. Ryder kicked two goals from outside 50. This was just incredible, I was lost for words in realisation that I could be seeing the biggest blowout in AFL/VFL history (as it turns out, I didn’t, but it was the highest first quarter score ever). 15.4 (94) to 0.1 (1) stood on the dodgy Etihad scoreboards at the break. And I loved every bit of it. Essendon fans produced a thunderous ovation for their players. Which made me wonder - what would Hird say to them after producing a 15-0 goal first quarter? “Well done boys, drinks are on me tonight”. “They got the ball inside 50 a bit too much, we lacked contested pressure, yeah we may be a few goals up but we just have to keep working hard”.“You smell nice today, Jobe”. The adrenaline of it all cannot be captured in article form.
Obviously, after a quarter like that, any preceding quarter will be made bad. But this one was genuinely disappointing. The Bombers looked lazy, as the Suns began to win a few clearances and Ablett’s existence in this game was finally proven. With a large array of Gold Coast youngsters playing (even more than usual as they had a few experienced ones out) Trent McKenzie stood out as he banged through a goal off one step from 60. The Suns kicked the last three goals of the quarter and all of a sudden it had just become any old game, Bombers fans were abusing players’ efforts and were getting frustrated. Jared Brennan was doing constructive things for his side instead of being lost inside his own ego. The Suns won the quarter by 14 points and stood an honest 79 points down at the major break. I still held hope that the Bombers could crack 200.
After having one of those “What’s going on in life?” half time chats with Rate, the Bombers seemed to be back to their first quarter best (which by then, seemed weeks ago) and abused the scoreboard some more. Remiers added another couple, along with an unlucky off-the-ground poster from the square. With the Bombers kicking their seventh straight for the quarter, it meant 27/30 goals had been kicked to the Coventry (oops, I mean Lloyd) End to that stage until Sam Iles, ex-Pie, got two gift goals in a minute as a counter-attack.
The last quarter was all-important. To see a 200-point performance would make my life complete. It didn’t look like it would happen at first, until Bellchambers kicked one, and Reimers added his seventh and eighth, and they all of a sudden stood on 196. The Essendon cheer squad had even started chanting for it. A free kick went Gold Coast’s way, but the ball was soon back inside fifty into the arms of Crameri, Monfries was over the top but luckily Crameri hesitated to pass to him because the siren sounded. The crowd egged him on as if it were to win the game, but unfortunately it wavered to the right. And that concluded an incredible football experience, which ended a little unfortunately.
An interesting sidelight was Ablett and the Suns marching up to the Gold Coast contingent of the crowd after the game. And that was that, we headed to Federation Square to look up at the City buildings and eat McDonalds.
Was Gold Coast’s win against Port Adelaide just a freakish occurance? Is Karmichael Hunt going to make it eventually? What a strange yet exhilarating match.
Essendon 15.4 18.4 25.8 31.11 (197)
Gold Coast 0.1 5.3 7.5 8.10 (58)
Goals: Essendon: Remiers 8, Crameri 4, Monfries 4, Ryder 3, Bellchambers 2, Lonergan 2, Zaharakis 2, Hille, Hocking, Howlett, Jetta, Watson, Stanton.
Gold Coast: Iles 2, Matera 2, McKenzie, Rischitelli, Shaw, Smith.
My Votes: 3. K.Reimers (ESS), 2. S.Lonergan (ESS), 1. J.Watson (ESS)