93 premiership team

I might have missed it but i couldn’t see a thread about the 93 premiership.

Given the pathetuc state of our club right now i thought it was worth remebering better times.

93 was the first premiership i can remember and i grew up watching these guys.

Absolutely loved Michael Long. Champion.

Olarenshaw misiti mercuri were fantastic players. Salmon was also at the top of his game.

What are the players of 93 doing these days?

I believe misiti has his own logistics business.

No idea what mercuri does. Anybody know?

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Was disappointing to hear that only 13 of the Premiership team attended the reunion on Thursday night. Hopefully the club and players can mend their bridges and sort out their issues


Far out. So not only were ticket sales poor but half the team weren’t there?

Yeah very disappointing. A pretty deep malaise within the club currently

Bomber didn’t show for obvious reasons.
Hird and Wallis, for obvious reasons.
I believe Hills was meant to be there, but wasn’t.
Longy I believe was ill, lives in Qld so couldn’t make it.
As for others, Denham, Somerville (i think lives in Qld), Wanganeen, not sure why they didn’t show.

The saddest part is that our most recent 2 premiership captains don’t feel comfortable turning up for club functions and premiership celebrations. The club needs to not make hollow statements saying they support Bomber and Hirdy, they need to go out of their way to repair the relationship, or at the very least get it to a point where they can at least attend such functions. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so low about the club in my life, this current team sucks and seems to be playing for themselves rather than the collective, and we have club greats who are snubbing premiership celebrations and anniversaries…


The 20th anniversary event was amazing. Bomber in attendance and Hird dropping in after his coaching responsibilities. Simpler times.

say hello to the corporate essendon era.


Wanganeen was at one of our home games this year (Bulldogs, I think) and blew that air raid siren thingy before the first bounce so you’d assume everything is sweet with him and the Club.

Yea, and I’m sure all is good with Denham and Somer too. Likely they simply couldn’t make it.

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As depressing as the turn-out for the reunion is, I’d rather talk about the flag.
I don’t want to look back in other threads, but this is appropriate.

I remember going to a game early in the season, can’t remember which game, but after the game (which we won) the team came over to the boundary and clapped the fans.
That, combined with the game itself, left me with an overwhelming and indescribable feeling that we were building something pretty special here.
I was 21.
It was a different feeling from 84, 85 and 2000.
It was real Cinderella stuff.
You knew we had no earthly right to, but damn it we just might anyway.


It was the best year. Like Wimm said, it was not ours to take but the feeling was we were a big shot.
Round 1 against the reigning premiers was huge, a loss but Boris was epic with 8 goals.

Round 2 The Carlton draw was exhilarating.

Round 6 against last years grand finalist Geelong in the shoot out. One of the best games I’ve ever seen.

The West Coast win later in the season.

I remember going to games like Hawthorn at Waverley and admiring the confidence of Hird and Mercuri, so assured.

The final series was remarkable. A young side with a mix of tough veterans.

And Michael Long. He was majestic. The way he played the game was a level above everbody in the finals series. And Sheeds the master. I read more about Sheeds post 2002 on this site which is sad, because he was brilliant, revolutionary, charismatic without ever relenting on seeing the group become tough and determined. He was and is huge for our club.


Players with footy smarts and solid skills.
Had done their apprenticeship in the under 19s.
You would often see Mercuri, Misiti and Hird in the bests.
These guys had ‘it’ when they were recruited to the club.

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Pretty sure Denham still lives in Essendon.

Having a major event for it every 5 years is overkill, especially for a club that has so many premierships to have a reunion for.

Should be every 10 years.

In regards to people not turning up I’d suggest it would be a similar story for most reunions beyond 20 years to have 3 or 4 not turn up due to work, illness etc.

What made it blow out to 7 was the 3 peanuts overseeing a pathetic injection program.

Hope David Evans wasnt there.


Good old dw29392 has put up 20 minutes of Michael Long highlights from the 93 finals series on YouTube.

Do yourselves a favour. What a player.


Someone please post this HS article, a bit of nostalgia is good for the soul. Thanks in advance.

Inside story: Bizarre Sheedy address that made Baby Bombers

Kevin Sheedy was known for being a little bit different as a coach. And it was no different in the final weeks of 1993 as he inspired the Baby Bombers to an unlikely premiership. SUBSCRIBE to go inside the moments that made Essendon’s 1993 heroes.


Essendon’s Baby Bombers revisited: Inside story of the 1993 premiership team

Kevin Sheedy was known for being a little bit different as a coach. And it was no different in the final weeks of 1993 as he inspired the Baby Bombers to an unlikely premiership. Go inside the moments that made Essendon’s 1993 heroes.

Scott Gullan

June 09, 2023 4:41 pm

Joe Misiti turned to his good mate Mark Mercuri and in typical fashion broke the ice as only he could: “Where should we go tonight?”

It was the first time the pair had cracked a smile in the previous couple of hours. Misiti was addressing the elephant in the room which was the fact Essendon’s season looked over, they were 42 points down at half time of the 1993 preliminary final against an Adelaide team that was flying.

Misiti was huddled in the corner of the MCG changerooms, surrounded by fellow “Baby Bombers”. It was the moniker the ’93 Essendon team had been given because there were seven players under 21 in the line-up.

One of them was Ricky Olarenshaw whose mind had also started to wander to the potential end-of-season festivities. “Deep down I didn’t give us much of a chance,” he said. “I had Leon Cameron’s 21st that night and I was starting to think about that.”

Captain Mark Thompson was starting to get vocal. He was less than impressed with the Bombers’ midfield given the ball had been coming into the Crows’ forward line with ridiculous ease resulting in dangerous spearhead Tony Modra having five goals to his name.

Fellow veteran Mark Harvey, who was out injured and had watched the first-half carnage from the interchange bench, was also steaming and made a beeline for Misiti and his mates.

He knew what they were thinking. This wasn’t going to be the year, but given they were only at the start of their careers, there would be plenty more opportunities to play in grand finals down the track.

“You may never get another opportunity,” Harvey screamed at them.

While this had been going on Kevin Sheedy had been in the meeting room working on the whiteboard. These were the situations the master coach lived for.

When the players were summoned into the room they were greeted by a series of faces and stick figures drawn on the board.

“They were simple facial diagrams that little kids would use,” Olarenshaw said.

In one corner were the Adelaide Crows with big smiles on their faces. The other corner detailed Essendon with frowns on their faces. In the middle was a squiggly line which he called the demarcation line.

The problem for Sheedy was he’d spelt it wrong, there was a “k” in there and it was the first thing his players noticed. (David Calthorpe later had a T-shirt made with the wrong spelling on it and wore it to a reunion).

Sheedy’s sell was what he’d observed in the opposing coaches’ box with Adelaide’s Graham Cornes. Whether it had happened or not, he told his players that Cornes was sitting back, laughing and even had his feet up on the window.

“This is where Kevin was always a master of coaching because he would make you believe no matter what position you were in,” Harvey said.

“In his wisdom and his wacky ways he created the storyline that they were feeling comfortable with themselves and suggested if we kicked the first couple of goals and got within striking distance, the crowd starts to roar and momentum can shift.”

Every player had their own version of Sheedy’s message but the bottom line was it got through.

“He was saying we had to get close to them at three-quarter-time so you could wipe the smile off their faces and then he wiped it off the whiteboard,” Olarenshaw said.

“He also drew this box which was the brain and he put a question mark in it. So he’s like we want to wipe the smile off their faces so when they come in at three-quarter-time we’ve got some doubt in their minds.”

As for the demarcation line, Gary O’Donnell said: “Most blokes wouldn’t understand it anyway but it was like we’re not going to take a backward step, this is it, this is as far as we get behind and we’re coming back at them.”

Seven days earlier the coach had produced another memorable pre-game address before the Dons’ semi-final against West Coast. This time on the whiteboard he had the famous picture of the student in Tiananmen Square standing in front of the Chinese military tanks.

“Essendon were the defiant student, we were going to be resolute against a big mighty Chinese power which was the West Coast, they were one state and one team,” O’Donnell said.

“We were going to be defiant against them and not take a backward step. That was before the game and then when we were waiting in the race to run out Tim Watson goes, ’You know what happened to that kid, they mailed him back to his parents in an envelope’.

“We were all rolling around the race laughing, we couldn’t control ourselves. It was a great gag from Watson.”

A couple of Sheedy’s favourite sporting moments got a mention again. The players had seen swimmer Duncan Armstrong’s thrilling come-from-behind win in the 200m freestyle final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics a number of times. He was third with 50m to go but didn’t give up and surged over the top which was what Essendon had to do in the preliminary final.

Debbie Flintoff-King’s brave run to fight back and hold off her Russian opponent to win the 400m hurdles Olympic gold medal in Seoul was again highlighted as the Bombers needed to tap into a similar never-say-die attitude.

After Sheedy had done his thing it was again Thompson who brought some calmness to the group. His message was they couldn’t win the game in the first 10 minutes of the third quarter, they had to do it inch by inch, goal by goal to give themselves a chance to win it in the last term.

“We knew we’d been so bad in the first half that we couldn’t be any worse,” Darren Bewick said. “‘Bomber’ Thompson was really good at just resetting everything.

“Kevin in his weird and wonderful ways virtually said the thing, just not to worry about trying to kick seven goals in the third quarter. If we are within three or four at three-quarter-time then the crowd is there and we’re going to get some momentum.”

Calthorpe had also initially been guilty of letting his mind wander to where they were going to drown their sorrows that night, but in that 20-minute halftime break he’d done a 360-degree turn.

“We had nothing to lose,” Calthorpe said. “The older blokes had this belief. A lot of them had fed off our energy for so long (through the season), at that point it shifted and we needed them to get us going again.”

The motto for the Bombers that year had been “Speed Kills” which was also written on their jumper as their major sponsor was the TAC. They took the slogan literally in the third quarter.

Michael Long ignited the MCG with his dash while Olarenshaw and O’Donnell continually took bounces through the middle of the ground as Essendon played on at all costs.

Bewick kicked the first goal of the term after two minutes and full-forward Paul Salmon slotted a left-foot snap shortly after. Ten minutes in, Bewick had another, this time from a set shot after a free-kick.

Then came the moment which for many was the turning point as the MCG shook like never before when the Baby Bombers combined for a memorable goal.

Dustin Fletcher, who was still at school and playing just his 16th AFL game but was on Modra at full-back, trapped the ball brilliantly on the ground in the back pocket and fed off a quick handball to Gavin Wanganeen, who in a couple of days time was to become one of the youngest winners of the Brownlow Medal at age 20.

He chipped a kick to Olarenshaw on the wing who took off and had four bounces as he crossed the centre square and kicked long into the forward line where Calthorpe marked. He immediately off-loaded a handball to Mercuri who ran in from 35m and kicked the goal.

“That was the most memorable goal that was ever kicked while I played in my 200-odd games,” O’Donnell said. “It was the biggest cheer or the biggest crowd roar I had ever heard as a player.”

Misiti was also shocked. “I have never heard a bigger roar in my whole life playing at the MCG,” he said. “If it had a roof it would have come off.”

The Crows heard it. They were under siege. In the final five minutes of the quarter, three significant things happened. Salmon kicked his second goal of the term, Bewick his third and Andrew Jarman gave an insight into the rattled minds of the Crows.

He took a mark 15m out from goal, directly in front, but sprayed the simple shot. Jarman’s team was frazzled and at the last change the margin was back to 12 points.

Sheedy marched out on to the ground with his eyes fixed on the Adelaide huddle.

“He used to always look over at the opposition huddle and see if they had their socks down or they were getting massages,” Harvey said. “He would say things like they have run their race, he would attack the coach saying he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

“If he was on the whiteboard then he’d say he was on delay, all that sort of stuff. I used to call him Jerry Springer because there was always a storyline and you didn’t know where it was going to finish up.”

His players knew where this story was going.

Olarenshaw had forgotten about his party plans as he was caught up in the tidal wave of momentum: “It was contagious, in the third quarter ‘Longy’ started getting the ball, running and taking bounces. We just played with a bit of freedom.”

Bewick had sensed it. “Within 10 or 12 minutes of the third quarter the feeling that we were right in this was huge,” he said. “From there we were going to be hard to stop.”

Specifically, he was going to be hard to stop. The red-haired goal sneak kicked the opening two goals of the final quarter to take his tally to six for the afternoon.

With 14 minutes to go O’Donnell finally put the Bombers in front and while Modra kicked his sixth goal shortly after, it was one of the Baby Bombers in James Hird who got the lead back as the clock ticked into time-on.

Fittingly it was the veteran Watson, who Sheedy had lured out of retirement to go around again in ’93 as he knew the young side would need some old heads, who kicked the matchwinner.

The former captain hadn’t seen much of the ball but with a minute left he gathered the loose ball on the half-forward flank and swung around on to his non-preferred left foot. The kick was a shocker, it had come off the side of his boot and gone almost straight up in the air.

Watson followed it up and threw himself into a pack of bodies who had contested his fluffed kick. This time he gathered and managed to get the ball on to his right foot, nailing the difficult chance from 35m out.

They’d done it.

Essendon had engineered one of the greatest comebacks in AFL finals history, coming from seven goals down at halftime to do the impossible, book a spot in the 1993 grand final.

The curfew for the Essendon players throughout the finals was between midnight and 1am.

This wasn’t at the forefront of Misiti’s mind as he looked around The Tunnel nightclub at 4am and saw a number of his teammates.

Like they had all year, the Dons played hard on the field and celebrated just as hard off it so the Baby Bombers saw no reason to change that routine even after the extraordinary preliminary final victory.

As usual they all made it to the Sunday recovery session at Windy Hill on time and did their best to keep their hangovers hidden from the coach.

Sheedy addressed his troops and explained what the week ahead looked like in terms of the thousands of fans who would flock to training and all the distractions that came with a grand final against the arch enemy Carlton.

The young players listened but didn’t really take too much of it in. They were riding a wave of emotion and figured they’d just keep rolling.

For the more experienced in the group like Bewick, the closeness of the team despite the varying age demographics had been the secret ingredient to their success.

“It was a really good mix,” Bewick said. “We had a lot of fun, the balance was good and we had a buddy system going on and we got on really well.

“There weren’t any cliques, we did everything together and I liked the smugness of the young blokes, they were like we’re just playing footy here and we’re all right, and I think that dragged us along a little bit.”

After Wanganeen’s Brownlow Medal triumph – he defeated Carlton’s Greg Williams by one vote in controversial circumstances – the next biggest distraction came at Thursday night’s selection meeting.

As usual the players waited after training for Sheedy to come out and reveal the line-up. But the coach had a bee in his bonnet about Simon Madden also being in attendance.

Normally having a club great there wouldn’t be an issue but given Madden had helped out at Carlton during the year where his younger brother, Justin, was the ruckman, the conspiracy theorist in Sheedy had his radar up.

He didn’t want Carlton to know his team – even though everyone knew Madden wasn’t a spy – so instead of reading out 20 names, he only revealed 18 who were playing in the grand final.

The players put it down to Sheedy being Sheedy, they were well and truly used to his bizarre ways.

But Derek Kickett hadn’t heard his name so an hour later he rang to find out if he was still in the team. He wasn’t.

Despite playing every game throughout the season, Kickett and David Flood were the unlucky players to be dropped to make way for Mark Harvey, who’d passed a fitness test on his injured foot, and young tough nut Dean Wallis.

It was a decision which would have ramifications for years and Kickett didn’t attend the grand final.

There was almost no need for any of Sheedy’s inspirational addresses before the GF as he sensed, as did his players, that they were more than comfortable coming up against Carlton.

The teams had met in the qualifying final three weeks earlier and while the Bombers lost by two points they had a handful of stars missing who were now back.

“We knew if we got a fast deck, the way we got hold of West Coast, then came back against Adelaide, there was no way Carlton were going to beat us,” Calthorpe said.

Another unusually hot September day gave the Bombers that fast deck and the opportunity to live out their speed kills motto.

As the players went over their final preparation before running out on to the MCG, O’Donnell yelled out: “Our time.”

Bewick smiled and followed suit. It was a motivational tool which those who’d lost to Collingwood in the 1990 grand final had been using throughout the year.

“A group of us who played in the ’90 Grand Final and got beat, we felt people around the club were still high on the 84-85 premierships which was a great piece of history,” Bewick said.

“We had a little theme about it being our time and we used to yell “Our time” as we went out. Gary O’Donnell led that as we wanted a little piece of history for the club as well.”

At quarter-time it was clear to everyone it was Essendon’s time. Michael Long was again running crazy and the Bombers had 5.8 on the board. The lead was 30 points, it could easily have been double.

Any ideas Carlton had of doing an Essendon-like miracle comeback – the Blues were 37 points down at halftime – quickly evaporated in the third quarter. In the end the margin was 44 points.

It was a famous victory, the club’s 15th premiership, and one which started with a smiley face on a whiteboard a week earlier.


Thanks @FurryLog :slightly_smiling_face:


Got a few goose bumps with the some of the players recaps of that 3rd quarter.

Hopefully it will be OUR TIME again in the not too distant future.