Round 10 1996, Essendon vs. St Kilda
Scores for Part One:
ESSENDON.......4.2 7.5 9.9 (63)
ST KILDA.......2.3 5.6 6.7 (43)
Scores for Part Two:
ESSENDON.......11.10 13.11 (89)
ST KILDA........8.9 9.13 (67)
ESSENDON: Wanganeen, Bewick, Daniher 2, Mercuri, O'Connor, Symons, Somerville, Fletcher, Fraser, Alessio 1.
ST KILDA: Loewe 3, Neill 2, Burke, Harvey, Brown, Everitt 1.
Crowd: On Tuesday night: 17,590 at Waverley.
Well, after all the fuss it hardly seemed worth it. The Dons increased the margin by two points in a fairly ordinary 35 minutes of football. It seemed as though the game was over before it had really started, and one would have had difficulty guessing that this was a regular season match, and not one played out in the Lightning Premiership. Essendon made five changes to the side that played on Saturday. Out went Chris Daniher, Mark Thompson, Scott Cummings, Che Cockatoo-Collins and Ben Doolan; and in came James Hird (much to the protest of St Kilda), Stephen Alessio, Danny Morgan, David Calthorpe and for his first ever game, and becoming the 1000th player ever to play for the Dons was Justin Blumfield.
In a game of few highlights there was one standout piece of play that will be remembered for the rest of the season. From a throw-in on the Essendon half-forward flank, Ryan O'Connor grabbed the ball from the ruck, then kicked it down forward. James Hird couldn't quite mark the ball but recovered brilliantly to give off a quick handball to Darren Bewick who goaled from a tight angle in the forward pocket. That goal brought some warmth to the cold crowd out at Waverely tonight.
Gavin Wanganeen took up where he left off Saturday night, racking up numerous possessions and another goal. He is relishing the opportunity to play up the ground and is showing the form that won him the Brownlow Medal. Peter Somerville played well again, as he did on Saturday night, and so too did Mark Mercuri.
In the press conference after the game, when prompted about players coming up for Sunday's game against Fremantle, Kevin Sheedy said that he couldn't have organised a better training drill for the week, looking at the match in a positive light. But in all it really only seemed like a training run, and as to be expected, it did not have the atmosphere of a full-length game. The good thing was the Dons got the four points and now we can concentrate on next week.
A sensation tonight at Waverley - the power went out, never to return! The lights went out at around the 20 minute mark of the third quarter, supposedly due to a car accident in the area (later this was confirmed incorrect), and subsequently the game was called off for the night. In an extremely bizarre situation the result of the game is unknown tonight, as there is no rule in the official rules relating to the unforseen premature finish to a match. The AFL Commission will meet to determine the outcome, and hopefully a result will be known within the next day. Many possibilities have been mooted: replay the match, announce a draw and give both teams two points, give both teams four points or perhaps play the last quarter and a bit early in the week to gain a result. These ideas are mere speculation and we will all, including the club, have to wait until the Commission hands down its decision.
The blackout could not have occurred at a worse time for the Dons. The team had gained dominance all around the ground and had increased its lead to 20 points. In fact when the power went out the ball was in Essendon hands in the forward line. The game had been very tight up until the third term, apart from a good start to the match by the Bombers, skipping away to an early lead of three goals. One can only guess as to the outcome, but given the circumstances at the time when play stopped, one would have to say that Essendon seemed like they were in control of the game.
Essendon's two main problems going into the game against the Saints were containing Stewart Loewe, and the midfielders Harvey and Burke. Peter Berbakov had the job on Loewe, with Dustin Fletcher dropping back to fill in the hole in front of Loewe. This tactic worked quite well, with Loewe being held to only two goals for the part of the game that was played. The backline was in good form, especially in the third term when the lights went out. Mark Harvey was playing another superb game, and Gary O'Donnell, along with Michael Prior, were controlling things out of defence. Robert Harvey was tagged by Daniher, who held him well up until the third term, keeping him well out of the game and kicking two goals himself. Sean Denham also played well on Nathan Burke, cutting out much of the drive that he usually gives the team.
Up forward it was Gavin Wanganeen who was the star. Arguably best on ground, Wanganeen dived on every loose ball, and showed more hunger for the footy than any other player. Combine that with his uncanny skill and he was certainly great to watch. He received three very hard knocks, but each time got up and continued on as good as before. It seems the addition of Berbakov to the side has allowed Gavin to finally make the move up the ground, where his skill and flair can be used to devastating effect.
Its a wierd feeling to not know the result of the game, even though its been over for some time now. At first when the lights went out it was quite humorous, but then when people got restless the was some trouble. A few thousand fans stormed the ground and then some lit fires in the centre, and some idiots even removed two of the behind posts. In one hundred years of footy nothing like this has ever occured (although granted night footy has only been around for a few decades), and now we must await the decision from the powers that be regarding the outcome.
From the Coach!
No comments are available this week due to the strange circumstances of the game. The normal interview will be back next week after the Fremantle game.
From the Medical Room...
Part 2: Joe Misiti was knocked very heavily in the first half, and was carried from the ground by the trainers, not to return. He was walking around in the rooms after the game, so he could be okay for next week.
Mark Thompson left the ground nursing his arm, but the extent of the injury is unknown. Other injuries are unknown as yet.
Possessions Kicks Handballs Marks
DENHAM 24 WANGANEEN 17 DENHAM 12 MERCURI 9
WANGANEEN 21 HARVEY 15 O'DONNELL 8 SOMERVILLE 8
O'DONNELL 21 BEWICK 14 SOMERVILLE 7 O'DONNELL 6
MERCURI 20 MERCURI 14 DOOLAN 7 SYMONS 6
PRIOR 17 O'DONNELL 13 MISITI 6 MISITI 5
MISITI 16 DENHAM 12 MERCURI 6 PRIOR 5
HARVEY 16 PRIOR 11 PRIOR 6 O'CONNOR 4
BEWICK 15 MISITI 10 FRASER 6 COCKATOO-CO 4
SOMERVILLE 14 DANIHER,C 10 COCKATOO-CO 6 BERBAKOV 4
DOOLAN 14 FLETCHER 10 O'CONNOR 5 HIRD 4
Standing after Round 10:
Essendon stayed in sixth spot again, but the ladder is tightening, with the Dons less than two games away from the top. The draw between Brisbane and Geelong has made things interesting, and now half the teams in the eight have played out a draw, meaning that percentage still remains a very high priority for these clubs.
Nth Melb.......10 8 2 0 141.0 32
Carlton........10 8 2 0 117.9 32
Brisbane.......10 7 2 1 132.7 30
Geelong........10 6 3 1 114.7 26
Sydney.........10 6 3 1 107.8 26
Essendon.......10 6 3 1 107.3 26
West Coast.....10 6 4 0 128.6 24
Adelaide.......10 6 4 0 120.8 24
Richmond.......10 4 6 0 107.2 16
Collingwood....10 4 6 0 102.5 16
St. Kilda......10 4 6 0 102.4 16
Fremantle......10 4 6 0 89.1 16
Hawthorn.......10 3 7 1 86.1 14
Footscray......10 2 8 1 71.1 10
Melbourne......10 2 8 0 60.8 8
Fitzroy........10 1 9 0 55.0 4
Fremantle at the MCG. Fremantle haven't lived up to their pre-season expections so far this year. And playing the game at the MCG should give Essendon an added advantage. Most of the players should come up okay after tonights resumption of play, and with some of the players resting minor injuries tonight, they may come back to the side next week.
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