AFL pre-season, this year represented by the JLT Community Series over the next few weeks around Australia. Tonight Belinda and I headed to Etihad Stadium to watch the first game of 2017 between arch-rivals Essendon and Collingwood. There was a large turn out of Essendon supporters to welcome back our players who were suspended by WADA last year over the 2012 supplements scandal.
It was great to have new captain Dyson Heppell playing again, along with former captain Jobe Watson, Michael Hurley, Ben Howlett, Travis Colyer and David Myers. We also had the debut of our number one draft pick Andrew McGrath tonight. The game itself was quite enjoyable and free flowing at times, and Essendon led for the majority of the match. We had quite a few goal kickers, which was an encouraging sign considering last year's scoring issues. The moment of the night for me was in the second quarter when Jobe took a mark and had a shot at goal and the crowd erupted in cheers for him (unfortunately he only kicked a behind).
We went into the fourth quarter with a 23 point lead, but a combination of our veteran players coming off the ground for the night and two super goals by Collingwood sparked the Magpies to make a comeback and ultimately win the game. Although I didn't get my birthday wish of a win, there were a lot of positives to take out of the match for the Bombers, including the fact we played competitively and everyone got through the first match injury free.
Essendon: 0.14.10 (94)
Collingwood: 2.13.9 (105)