28 Games - The Rise of the Baby Bombers - Premiere Tues 4th September 9PM Fox Footy


1, 7, 10, 13, 15, 19, 22, 27 and 29 would be my favourites from that list.


The Fitzroy story would make a great doco. There were so many shenanigans going on behind the scenes. I don’t think it would show Richmond or Footscray in a particularly favourable light.


I was following all that fairly closely at the time. I couldn’t believe a team from 1883 could just be whisked away from a successful league. The problem with the Roys’ story is it is consistently miserable- the Melbourne Hawks one has lots more ups and downs, amazing characters jumping out of the woodwork, passionate speeches, near-riot.


Indeed. Some riveting tales to be told on that list. IBF’s yips, the Storm salary cap and the Rebel tour would be of particular interest for me. That was written in 2014 so I reckon one of those would make way for the Saga if he wrote it today.


Don Scott ripping up the merger jumper is an image that stuck. Another one that doesn’t get talked about as much was Langford walking off the ground after the ‘merger match’ holding his jumper aloft. Passions were running high.



Yeah, I wasn’t that impressed either. My partner, who is not a football follower, watched it with me, and at the end she said, ‘so is that just the first episode?’ Summed it up really. Felt like an introduction to an amazing story.


Both definitely in my version, and I can name another half dozen similar “moments” straightaway.


The whole ascendancy into professionalism could make a decent mini-series. Add Footscray in 89 to both of those stories, plus the whole furphy around the introduction of the Crows and the sht that went on around that.

Anyone know of any books out now that cover all of that?

-edit- Somehow missed wim’s post above. Will try and track that down.


You could add Skase, Edelsten and all those private ownership dramas into the mix as well.


love Long’s confidence of winning the flag going into the grand final

When the Bombers suffered a 160-point drubbing at the hands of bitter rival Hawthorn in round 20 of 1992, you would have been considered mad to suggest the club could win a premiership flag just 28 games later.

But history highlights the unpredictability of our great game, and no one could have foreseen the surge of Baby Bombers that would take Essendon to the ultimate success in 1993.

“I remember actually looking at some of the November/December predictions for the following year and we were predicted to finish another 10th/11th/12th,” Essendon forward Paul Salmon told Fox Footy in recent documentary 28 Games – Rise of the Baby Bombers .

Legendary coach Kevin Sheedy held higher hopes for his team and convinced former skipper and fan favourite Tim Watson to return to the club.

“Before the season started in 1993 I said to Kevin, ‘Where do you think this group could finish this year?’” Watson said.

“And he said, ‘Look, I think with the progress they’re showing we might sneak into the (final) six’.”

The influx of talented youngsters added the youthful enthusiasm the side needed as the club unveiled its next generation of stars and gathered momentum as the season wore on.

James Hird, Joe Misiti, Mark Mercuri, Dustin Fletcher, Ricky Olarenshaw and David Calthorpe were among those that became household names as they drove the rise of the Baby Bombers.

And by the time the Dons narrowly got the better of West Coast in round 16 – when Sheedy celebrated wildly, swinging his jacket in the air as he walked through the crowd to the ground – the side believed they could make the year their own.

“I think it was good for the players to see that (celebration), too,” Salmon said.

“Sheeds was really invested that year in that team and in what I think at that stage he thought it could achieve.

“I think he knew around then that we might be able to achieve something pretty special.”

Despite suffering a narrow two-point loss to Carlton in the qualifying final, the Bombers were full of confidence having pushed the Blues right to the line while missing a number of important players including Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson, Hird and Fletcher.

“We had a few injuries and we knew we would be getting those players back, so we just knew that if we get another crack at them we were going to roll them,” 1993 Brownlow Medalist Gavin Wanganeen said.

Experienced teammate Mark Harvey agreed.

“I knew that if we ever got back to Carlton we would beat them. That was a conversation that we’d regularly had in the preceding two weeks before getting back to the Grand Final,” Harvey said.

Just before the Grand Final against the Blues, nothing had changed.

“Longy said to me that we were going to win,” Wanganeen said.

“He said, ‘Gav, don’t worry about it, we’re going to win this week – I had a dream. We’re going to win, I guarantee you’.”

The in-form Michael Long was supremely confident.

“I wasn’t going to be beaten on the day. That’s the attitude that sometimes you get going into a game. Whoever you throw at me, you’re going to challenge me and you’re not going to beat me.” Long said.

And the rest was history, with Long securing the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground in a brilliant performance gathering 33 disposals and two outstanding goals, leading Essendon to a 44-point thumping of their traditional rival to conclude one of the game’s most memorable seasons.

The Baby Bombers had risen right to the top to secure their place in football folklore.

To see more of the team’s journey and hear from more of the club’s champions, watch 28 Games – Rise of the Baby Bombers in full above.


Another first that year - I believe anyway. Was sheedy getting the players to walk to the boundary line after the games we won and thank the fans.


Great memories. But I agree with The Ant that it was a totally underwhelming doco.


Watched the 1993 gf last night, was great having a new perspective after not watching the game since the day. Just quietly Gary O was cleary best on. And Rick O enormous in the first half. When I’m not slightly affected by alcohol will write up a review


If anyone has a spare 15 min would highly recommend watching this. Sunday footy show day after the 93 prelim with sheeds and a severely hung over Gary O’Donnell


My only issue with it was I wish it was longer. You can only fit so much into an hour.

Loved hearing Long talk about how he was going to be beaten on the day, no matter what they threw on him


Definately would have liked to hear more about/from the lesser-likes suchs as Paul Hills, Somerville, Denham, Grenvold and Daniher, and others that missed out, Symons and Flood.


Had no idea, how close stkilda were to picking up Watson.


I recall Watson was chased by the Saints at the time. He always said if he returns, it’ll be at Essendon.

Wasn’t Watson drafted by WCE after his first retirement?


I believe so. My aunty used to get riled up as he appeared on the wce list in the footy record


He was issued with the #33 jumper.