Round 12 Essendon vs Richmond“We do things differently, there’s no doubt about that, but it works for us” –  A relaxed Dimma, confident that the Tigers can overcome on-field and off-field issues.

The AFL has dedicated two weeks of play to the Sir Doug Nicholls Round for the 2021 Toyota Premiership AFL Season. This year, rounds 11 and 12 will honour the roles that Indigenous Australian men and women have played in making AFL the great game it is.

Sure to be one of the heaviest clashes is the highly anticipated ‘Dreamtime at the G’ where Essendon and Richmond will battle for the Kevin Sheedy Cup in the Saturday night game. Last year this game was held in Darwin but will return to the MCG  this year with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

After criticising the scheduling of previous rounds which have resulted in poor crowd numbers, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick will have nothing to complain about with ‘Dreamtime at the G’ always a top attraction for spectators, and you can be part of the big crowd with Dreamtime at the G Medallion Club tickets. You don’t need to wait until the week of the match to secure tickets or an AFL Corporate Box, get in early now.

Essendon has everything to prove for this match with a less than stellar start to the 2021 season. Up until their round 9 win against the Dockers, the Bombers have struggled to be on the right side of a close game. Coach, Ben Rutten, noted that the win against Freo was a step in the right direction for the team, as they work towards a more controlled and mature approach to applying pressure and converting that into scoreboard gains. This may be the first inkling of growth that Essendon have been aiming for, and they will undoubtedly be looking to solidify their success with a win against the Tigers in the Indigenous rounds.

Richmond have a strong history at this particular game, having won 10 times to Essendon’s 6 since 2005. To add more momentum to the Tiger’s confidence, Richmond particularly thrives in a home game campaign, and this year the MCG is Tigerland territory.

Fans will be wondering if Essendon is ready to prove themselves against this kind of pressure. An Essendon win may be the ultimate way to tell the world that the Bombers are still real contenders. Secure your Essendon v Richmond Medallion Club tickets and you can find out for yourself whether the Bombers are the real deal in 2021.

Bomber’s coach, Ben Rutten, will be working on Essendon’s ability to stay in the game while weathering the Tiger’s offensive momentum. Hungry young players like Ben Hind and Darcy Parish will be driving the Dons towards victory with some skilful disposals and an abundance of energy. The kicking game of Mason Redman has benefited from a solid training off-season and a commitment to physical continuity to be a dangerous goalkicker for the bombers (with a goal celebration to imitate Hellboy for the fan’s delight).

The Tigers are known for consistently delivering results, and Damien Hardwick is proud of the authenticity and growth of Richmond as a club through tough times to come out on top. With a few unconventional player position shuffles (such as key forward Tom Lynch playing wing) that Dimma laughs off as “something we won’t be trying moving forward”, the Richmond team appear ready to steamroll the remainder of the season.  With second ruck to spare and the most Indigenous player representation in the AFL, Damien Hardwick likens his formidable team to a family. He attributes this closeness to the sense of connection that players like Daniel Rioli have brought to the team.

‘Dreamtime at the G’ is sure to electrify the Indigenous round of the season. If Essendon can finally make their growth visible when it counts and take heart from their recent close wins, the Bombers may be able to topple the confident juggernaut that the Tigers embody. A tall order? Yes. Impossible? Not at all!