Dyson Heppell delivered a very acute message to Essendon’s critics after the Bombers scored a miraculous victory over the Hawks.
Essendon captain Dyson Heppell told critics he was “stuck” after his club’s incredible win over Hawthorn on Saturday night.
The Bombers lost five players to illness prior to the opening rebound and most judges expected they would plummet to a seventh defeat in eight games in what has been a horror season so far.
But Heppell and Co. held out to accomplish what he described an “incredible” victory from 16.12 (108) to 11.15 (81).
Watch every AFL blockbuster game this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try now 14 days for free>
Essendon were hammered from all angles and last month was targeted for grinning at opponents after a heavy defeat to Fremantle – but Heppell had a straight answer to anyone who questioned his team’s desire to win.
“‘Truck’ (coach Ben Rutten) buzzed me after lunch and said, ‘We’re in a little shaky water this arvo and some guys have fallen,’” Heppell told Channel 7 after the session. match interview.
“But the guys who walked in, just their energy, their attitude and their willingness to play their role. Guys almost walked in with a little bit of … well, you talk about smiling, anyone can jam it, tell you what, for telling us to stop smiling.
“We walked in and there was just a great atmosphere in the rooms and we produced a fantastic performance.
“You enter a game with a little sense and feeling and I am so proud of the attitude the boys have followed throughout this period. There was a lot of noise outside, but within the four walls it was just an incredible setting for the circumstances we found ourselves in.
“Filing, with (five) late blocks due to illness, is just an incredible effort.”
Not only did the Bombers need to get through a late reshuffle, but they followed Hawthorn with every change, staging a remarkable quarterback final fight to win by 27 points.
Two aspiring Rising Stars led their teams from the front, but it was Nic Martin who ultimately improved on Jai Newcombe’s career best performance.
Under 15 at the final substitution, the Bombers needed the first goal of the last quarter and got it thanks to a set shot by Kaine Baldwin to cut the margin to 10 points.
Martin, who may be Essendon’s most impressive player, sprang to life, kicking a quick goal before fielding Peter Wright for his fourth major.
Marvel Stadium was in awe when Essendon fans thought Mason Redman had put the Bombers ahead, but Wright had thrown Sam Frost to the ground on the goal line to cost the Dons the six points.
A long ball on top of Essendon’s goal a few minutes later fell at the feet of Zach Merrett, who could not bend down to pick it up, but by a stroke of luck the ball bounced off his shin for a goal and the Bombers took the lead.
If the Bombers faithful didn’t believe it already, they were when Wright ran on a ball over his back on the wing, went forward and kicked a 55-meter goal on the run to bring his team to nine points.
A minute later Aaron Francis sealed the deal and an unlikely Essendon win.
“This is going to be a win for ages,” former Western Bulldogs star Luke Darcy told Channel 7.
“The Marvel Miracle”.
With James Mottershead, NCA NewsWire
Originally published as ‘Jam it’: Captain Essendon delivers a blunt slap in the post-match interview