VFL Memory Lane: Essendon

Until Williamstown gets back on the field, we'll be throwing back to a recent VFL encounter against the club we were scheduled to play round by round. 

2020 original Round 17 fixture: Williamstown v Essendon, Downer Oval, July 26, 2:00pm.  

Throwback game: Round 17, 2019, Downer Oval. .    





Williamstown has kept its dream of a top two finish alive with a morale-boosting 18-point win over Essendon in Round 17. 

The 2nd v 4th clash at Downer Oval was potentially the biggest game of Williamstown’s season, validating its bid as a genuine premiership contender after never dropping the lead against the highly-fancied Bombers.


Essendon was coming into the contest with the highest percentage in the competition but the ever-dangerous Seagulls forward line proved too much for the Bombers to handle in the 15.12 (102) to 12.12 (84) triumph.  


With five points separating the two sides early in the last quarter, forward Josh Pickess took the game by the scruff of the neck to kick the next three goals of the game in a 15-minute purple patch.  


It proved to be a match-winning support act to the Jaylon Thorpe and Nick Rodda show, who both kicked three goals and had 14 scoring shots between them as the main focal-points in the front half. 


Midfield duo Mitch Hibberd and Liam Hunt again led the disposal count with 29 and 25 touches respectively, while defender Leigh Masters had 15 of his own and took seven marks in his 150th VFL match. 


It was also a significant day for fellow defender Nick Sing, who earns his Williamstown Football Club life membership after notching up his 100th game for the club in the rousing win. 


Midfielder Jesse Tardio (11 possessions and five tackles) also enjoyed a victory in his first game for the club, while Max Philpot kicked a goal in his VFL debut in a moment to remember. 


The home side’s jump out of the blocks was baleful, booting the opening three goals of the contest to make an early statement. 


The first quarter was highlighted by a characteristic Thorpe hanger, who soared over a pack to take one of the marks of the year - much to the delight of the on-looking packed crowd. 


The Seagulls held a one-point lead at the first change of ends after the Bombers soon found their feet.


And it was goal-for-goal thereafter - both sides exchanging four goals - until the third term when Philpot read the ball off a pack deep in the forward line to slam through his maiden goal in VFL footy.  


Rodda booted his third shortly after from a tight angle which opened up a crucial 23-point buffer.


But the next five scoring shots went the way off the away side who, while inaccurate, managed to reel the margin back to 13 points at three-quarter time. 


And when Aaron Heppell drew first blood for the Bombers in the final stanza, it seemed a grandstand finish was on the cards. 


The Bombers had two further shots on goal in the next three minutes as the pressure was starting to build on the Seagulls defence.


But Pickess flexed his muscles to kick the next two goals of the game and give the home side some momentary breathing space to the tune of 17 points.


The Seagulls held the Bombers at bay to record a famous victory at home, seeing them sit second on the VFL ladder heading into their final bye of the season. 


Williamstown has three matches remaining in the 2019 home-and-away season, with its next contest to come against Coburg on Saturday, August 10. 



The following photos are courtesy of vanderpostPhotography. 







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