Dees Diffuse Bombers

July 2, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 15 – Essendon V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Essendon have been playing some fast and furious footy lately and Melbourne needed to be in good form; especially after losing to Collingwood in their pre bye game. The Dees normally find a way to win though and are able to adjust their game to the circumstances. That may partly explain their success. The top sides are caught off guard by Melbourne’s intensity and the lower sides often look like they’re in with a chance (usually until the last quarter). No one can call our lads predictable.

To add to the mystery was how the Dees would perform after returning from their two week break, as most sides struggle a little to get back into the swing of things. Angus Brayshaw had the first opportunity with a 50m set shot, but missed to the near side. From there, Melbourne kept threatening the Bombers defensive 50 but failed to land a major until a clever kick from Brayshaw set up James Harmes 35m in front of goal.

Jake Stringer was always going to cause trouble and he almost landed Essendon’s first when his kick from 60m out saw the ball bounce the wrong way and hit the upright. However, his second attempt from 55m, a minute later, sailed through and the Bombers were on the board. Then Devon Smith’s set shot kick after the siren put Essendon in front.

Going into the second quarter ahead 15-11, Harrison Jones was able to stretch the lead to 10 points when he got a foot to the sherrin as it was crossing the line. A very fine line in my opinion but who am I to argue with ARC. The goal fired Essendon up and they took the game to Melbourne with renewed intensity. They maintained the pressure for a few minutes before the Dees were able break out and launch their own offensive. The Bombers kept threatening though and were also able to hold off Melbourne’s counter attacks.

With the Dees’ kicking efficiency not what it could have been and some of their hand passes missing the mark, they were struggling to hold off their opponents. For all that, Essendon was unable to find a way through Melbourne’s defence. The young side was well set up behind the ball and playing intelligently, thinking their way through the Demon’s mire, but Steven May and Jake Lever kept thwarting their best efforts.

The Dees were having the same problem at the other end where the Bombers’ defence was well up to the job and blocking Melbourne’s route to goal. Even when Tom McDonald was able to pick out Luke Jackson, the big forward inexplicably ran on after marking and tried to dribble the ball through but ended up hitting the upright. Happily though, a minute later a rare Essendon turnover gifted the ball to the Dees and a series of hand passes gave the sherrin back to Jackson. This time he didn’t miss.

Melbourne got the advantage from the centre bounce and James Harmes was able to launch a well targeted kick to the waiting pack in front of goal. Charlie Spargo ran around the back of the group and collected the ball before kicking it around the corner to put Melbourne in front. The advantage didn’t last long as Peter Wright took a contested mark in front of goal and just squeezed it through to reinstate Essendon’s lead.

In another swings and roundabouts moment, James Jordon was awarded a free kick after a high tackle (or possibly an arm chop). The home crowd made their feelings feel in no uncertain terms but the midfielder remained unfazed and kicked it straight through to give the Dees a 3 point lead at half time.

Melbourne has upped its their game during the third quarter in recent outings and Round 15 proved no exception. Tom McDonald took advantage when the ball landed in his hands on the goal line, producing an overhead kick and a six pointer. Essendon’s Nick Hind, who inadvertently turned the ball over to T Mac, added to his woes when he ran into the upright. Luckily he didn’t appear to have suffer too much injury, apart from his pride.

Also lucky was James Jordon, who was gifted a double 50m penalty to again kick directly in front of goal to score his second of the night. Again the Essendon faithful were in fine voice. Though the Dees were grinding away and had their share of luck, the next goal was pure skill. It started with a backwards overhead pass from Kysaiah Pickett to Ed Langdon. Langdon got the ball to McDonald and the key forward tapped it on to Christian Petracca in the pocket. The midfielder lined up the shot and kicked it perfectly to extend Melbourne’s lead to 21 points.

The Bombers were starting to look a bit deflated until Dyson Heppell got a Captain’s goal after taking a mark inside 50 then running across to snap it through from 30m out. Despite their lead, it was one of those nights when Melbourne struggled to hit the target. Both McDonald and Bailey Fritsch had a chance to add to the goal tally from set shots but their accuracy was off. Then James Harmes connected with the woodwork, keeping the Bomber’s hopes alive.

Essendon managed to salvage something more from the quarter when Harrison Jones was able to scoop up the ground ball and kick it through. But Petracca capped off a four goal quarter for Melbourne when he kicked his second from a set shot. Only leading by 17 points, the Dees knew they couldn’t relax against a side that would fight to the bitter end. In addition, the Bomber’s fans were very vocal in spurring on their team as their boos echoed around the Covid friendly stadium.

Melbourne were able to venture into their forward 50 but found scoring more goals elusive. With Essendon struggling to kick straight at the other end, the final term was proving to be a low scoring affair. Finally Tom Sparrow launched a beautiful placed kick from the 50m line to give the Dees a 22 point lead.

Ironically, that appeared to be the catalyst that galvanised the Bombers and suddenly they were pushing forward with renewed vigor culminating with Peter Wright claiming his second goal. Cale Hooker got another, reducing the margin to 11 points and the Melbourne faithful to the edge of their seats.

Sensing their opportunity, Essendon piled on the pressure but the Dees again held their nerve in defence. Melbourne used the clock wisely and were able to frustrate the Bombers valiant efforts. As the Grand Old Flag was almost drowned out by the home crowd booing, our players looked please to have got the job done in that volatile week after the bye.

Round 16 will be a rematch against the Giants. This time we’re top of the table and GWS is still in with a chance of playing finals so it will be another interesting game. Nobody knows how we’ll play but I’m hoping for our first 50 point plus win of the season.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


Comments are closed.

Click here join NSW Demons now.

follow us on twitter Follow us on twitter

join our facebook group Join our facebook group

Sign up to our newsletter: