Dyson Heppell delivered a very pointed message to Essendon critics after the Bombers picked up a miraculous victory over the Hawks.
Essendon captain Dyson Heppell has told critics to ‘block’ after his club’s stunning win over Hawthorn on Saturday night.
The Bombers lost five players to illness before the first rebound and most judges expected them to slump to a seventh loss in eight games in what has been a horror season so far. now.
But Heppell and Co. held on to take what they described as an “incredible” 16.12 (108) to 11.15 (81) win.
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Essendon were hammered from all corners and last month criticized for smiling with their opponents after a heavy loss to Fremantle – but Heppell had a candid response to anyone who questioned his side’s desire to win.
“‘Truck’ (trainer Ben Rutten) gave me a little buzz after lunch and said, ‘We’re on a bit choppy waters this arvo and a few boys have fallen,'” Heppell told Channel 7 in a post-game. interview.
“But the guys who came, just their energy, their attitude and their willingness to play their part. The guys almost came up with a bit of – well, you talk about smiling, anyone can block it, I tell you what, for telling us to stop smiling.
“We walked in and there was just a great vibe in the venues and we put on a fantastic performance.
“You come into a game with a bit of meaning and feeling and I’m so proud of the attitude the boys have maintained throughout this period. There has been a lot of noise outside, but inside the four walls , it’s just an amazing environment for the circumstances we found ourselves in.
“Showing up, with (five) guys late due to illness – it’s just an incredible effort.”
Not only did the Bombers have to overcome a late reshuffle, but they followed Hawthorn through every change, mounting a remarkable last-quarter fightback to win by 27 points.
Two Rising Star prospects led their teams forward, but it was Nic Martin who ultimately bettered Jai Newcombe’s career-best performance.
Trailing by 15 on the final substitution, the Bombers needed the first goal of the final quarter and they got it on a Kaine Baldwin saved shot to cut the deficit to 10 points.
Martin, who might be Essendon’s most impressive player, burst into life, netting an instant goal before setting up Peter Wright for his fourth major.
Marvel Stadium was elated as Essendon fans thought Mason Redman had given the Bombers the lead, but Wright had knocked Sam Frost down on the goal line to cost the Dons all six points.
A long ball atop Essendon’s goal box a few minutes later fell into the feet of Zach Merrett, who was unable to bend down to pick it up, but in a fluke the ball ricocheted off his shin for a goal and the Bombers led.
If the Bombers faithful didn’t believe it already, they were when Wright ran an overhand fly ball on the wing, came forward and scored a 55m running goal to give Nine points to his team.
A minute later, Aaron Francis sealed the deal and an unlikely Essendon win.
“It will be a victory for the ages,” former Western Bulldogs star Luke Darcy told Channel 7.
“The Miracle at Marvel.”
With James Mottershead, NCA NewsWire
Originally published as ‘Jam it’: Essendon captain delivers brutal slap in post-match interview