by Kim Densham, reporting for AFANA from Melbourne
Dreamtime at the G turns to Nightmare in Bomberland. Even as Paul Kelly belted out his evocative song "From Little Things, Big Things Grow" with the help of Jessica Maubouy, Kev Carmody and legendary "Oils" front man, now cabinet minister, Peter Garrett. The Bombers faithful gathered, fuel tanks empty, ready for another night of pain. The optimistic hoped against all odds for another upset a la the Pies and the Cats.
But even before last sounds of the didgeridoo faded over Melbourne Town, the first quarter was one-way traffic, Tiger traffic, away from the city end to Richmond. The first term was marred by fumbles, mistimed handballs, sloppy marking, no manning up , wild wayward kicks and that was just Richmond, The Dons were worse, much worse. As the siren sounded for the end of the term, the Bombers were booed off the ground. They had failed to score a goal and were down 0 - 5 - 5 to Tigers 5 - 3 -33. To say Coach Knights was animated during the quarter time huddle would be an understatement.
The second term started no better and it took 10 minutes before Essendon, through Captain Matthew Lloyd, were able to score a second. Effectively Essendon had conceded 21 consecutive goals since last weeks match against the Swans. It was a further 13 minutes before McVeigh scored the second. In the meantime the Tigers piled on 5 more and missed 5, by the halftime break Essendon were 50 points behind and headed to the tunnel for what was surely a mammoth 'roasting' by the coach. The biggest cheer of the quarter was when David Hille booted the ball forward to Paddy Ryder ending a string of woeful, mistimed and scraggly handballs. It's not so much that Richmond were good, as much as Essendon were misfiring. Ess 2-6-18 Rich 10-8-68.
The Bombers came out for second half full of desperation that had been lacking in the first, no doubt stung into action by Knights. Lloyd played in the backline and Paddy Ryder was upfront. They clawed back some respectability and opened play with their third goal with Jay Neagle kicking his first. 17 minutes later Lloyd kicked two quick ones and by the end of the third quarter, Essendon had kicked 6 but still trailed by 26 points 8-9-57 to Richmond 12-10-82.
Nathan Brown opened the scoring for the final quarter, Essendon replied seconds later when Lloyd 'shepparded on the line' allowing Jay Nash's punt to slide through. However Richmond's run through Nathan Foley and Brett Deledio created some devastation through the middle and the Tigers piled on 4 more goals. The Essendon faithful left the 'G' in droves.
In the end it was a bottom of the table affair, with one place separating the teams at the start of the match. The silver lining for the Bombers was keeping the score below 150 for the match, they applied them selves in the third term but sorely miss someone of the class of Hird, who carried the midfield and applied sublime service to Lloyd in the forward line. Richmond, in their umpteenth year of rebuilding let themselves down with some inaccurate kicking but showed that Coach Terry 'Plough' Wallace has instilled some run, demanded more of Kane Pettifer and was fortunate enough to have Nathan Brown back this year and Shane Edwards was handy up front.
In the end Richmond extracted revenge for the cruel 8 point loss in last years Dreamtime Game and received the 'Kevin Sheedy Cup'. Nathan Foley was presented the 'best on ground' medal by Michael Long and 'Richo' was, well , just Richo! and Tigers fans love him for that'.
Article last changed on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - 3:05 AM EDT