The World When Essendon Last Won A Final

From the time this article was published, it will be 5,476 days since Essendon beat Melbourne by Five points in the First Elimination Final of 2004.

Little did people know that the once mighty and dominant Dons would go without tasting finals success for another 15 years (and counting)

Since then Sheeds left, Hird left, Matty Knights became coach, He got sacked, they made Hird the coach, the Dons got really, really, really good and very fit at the start of 2012 only to fall off due to soft tissue injuries that season, made a few finals and lost and have we forgotten anything? Oh yeah,. the supplements scandal. That old chestnut. 

It’s fair to say, it’s been a bloody long time since the Bombers had a finals win and it’s coming close to 20 years since they last won the flag.

The Neds blog has hopped in the Delorian, set the date to September 4th, 2004 to bring you a snapshot of what the world was like when the Bombers last won a final. 

Australia was going to an Election – and Mark Latham was favourite to win! 

In the week leading up to the Bombers last taste of finals victory, the then Prime Minister John Howard had visited the governor-general and called the Federal Election for October the 9th that year.

The Newspoll going into the Essendon and Melbourne final saw Labor leading 52-48 and Australian’s seemed prepared and willing for life under a Latham Labor Government. 

YouTube was 6 months from being launched.

Back in early September 2004, if you wanted to binge on cat videos, find old ads from your childhood or classic footy you’d have to actually get physical VHS/DVD videos and watch them.

There were videos you could download on Real Player or Windows Media back then, but YouTube was still six months away.

Bomber fans that wanted to watch highlights would have needed a very decent internet connection for 2004 and watch on the AFL website if they wanted any highlights of them beating Melbourne that day. 

YouTube launched six months later, with this guy talking about being at the Zoo one of the very first videos. 

Mark Zuckerberg created “Hot or Not” and “The Facebook” in his Harvard Dorm

There was MSN Messenger and if you were really keen to talk footy online there was the good old Big Footy Forums (which are still full of nuffies in 2019) 

Some computer nerd studying at Harvard University at the time known as Mark Zuckerberg initially created a “Hot or Not” website rating the girls of Harvard until he took over the University’s student social network “The Facebook” and turned it into someplace you can link up with people you know online.

It seemed so simple then, now it just runs our lives and knows everything about who we are and what we do – odds on you clicked on this story from Facebook didn’t you? 

The iPhone Had Not Been Invented

Mobile phones were still very much Nokia territory back in 2004.

The iPhone was around four years away as Steve Jobs and Apple focused on the classic iPod at the time, which was still very revolutionary. 

Ironically, Essendon’s sponsor back then was indeed 3 Mobile, who was the first to bring out 3G Camera Phones and Video calling to the Australian market. 

At an amazing 2 Megapixels, the future was now…back then.

Nelly was Top of the Charts 

Mr “Hot In Here” Himself had knocked out 2003 Australian Idol contestant Cosmia Di Vito’s (who dropped out of the finals) cover of Cold Chisel’s “When The War Is Over” with his new single “My Place” a beautiful song about having someone to hook up with every now and then. 

It spent one week on top of the charts. That week happened to be when Essendon last won a final. 

Australian Idol Season 2 Had Just Got Underway 

The likes of Courtney the bloke who just wanted his Dad to be proud of him, Em Rusicoano before she did a breakfast radio stint at every station in Australia, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Anthony Calea and eventual winner Casey Donovan wowed Australia as they all hoped to get a TOUCHDOWN from Mark Holden.

Much like most of the Australian Idol contestants that year, they haven’t done much since 2004 – the last time Essendon won a final. 

George W. Bush Was Still in his First Term in the White House

Remember the good old days when George W.Bush was President of the USA?

Things seemed so much simpler then. 

Dubya was still in his first-term and gearing up for re-election against his Democratic opponent John Kerry.

The OC was the Biggest Show on TV

The OC was in its second series and for many Australian’s Tuesday nights was OC Night before you could talk about what happened at school the next morning.

It was the second series and while it wasn’t as good as the first one, there was still plenty of drama and you kept watching it week after week.

You all remember where you were when Marrisa shot Trey.

She hadn’t died yet and I’m still not over it. It was a much happier time. 

Foxtel Didn’t Even Have the IQ box & Blockbuster Video was still doing a roaring trade. 

You couldn’t record, pause or rewind the TV.

If you wanted to record something, you still had to tape it or wait for the replay to start on Fox Footy. 

Foxtel and Australian TV for that matter had only just gotten a grasp of digital television, it was seen as revolutionary at the time. 

Wanted to get a movie on demand? You had to go down to your local Blockbuster Video and make the most of the 5 weeklys for $7 special or even better the overnight movies for $5. Some stores had a mix of VHS and DVD format, depending on if you had made the switch just yet. 

Damien Pevrill won Cleo Bachelor of The Year*

(*He didn’t, but he really should have) 

The Essendon cult hero who was known for the ability to be pretty on the inside did play that day against Melbourne and got a solid 19 disposals. 

The actual winner of the Cleo Bachelor of the Year was the artist formerly known as Andrew G…aka Osher Gunsberg the host of the Bachelor.

Osher or Andrew G as he was known back then, was 30, the host of Australian Idol and a presenter on Channel V when people actually made an effort with music TV. 

Footy News From the Footy Record of Essendon’s last Finals win in 2004

A lot happened in the Footy world in 2004 but here’s a summary of what was in the Footy news back when the Bombers last tasted victory in the month of September according to the Footy Record from the match:

  • Could the Brisbane Lions equal Collingwood and make it Four Flags in a row?
  • Can Port Adelaide shake off their reputation as chockers and beat Geelong on the Sunday in the 1st Qualifying Final at AAMI Stadium (Football Park)? 
  • There was speculation as to who would make the All-Australian team with the likes of Matthew Scarlett, Chad Cornes, Warren Treadrea, James Hird, Paul Hasleby, Nick Riewoldt, Mark Ricciuto, Jeff White, Simon Black and Brownlow favourite Chris Judd all likely to feature.
  • Melbourne youngster Jared Rivers had just been awarded the NAB Rising Star for 2004.
  • In what was a bleak year for Richmond, Tigers youngster Brent Hartigan gave a glimmer of hope as the Rising Star nominee for Round 22, 2004
  • The G-Train Fraser Gehrig pipped Matthew Lloyd by one goal to win the 2004 Coleman Medal.
  • In the “Your Club:” section featured an article on how Essendon broke a finals record for seven consecutive finals appearances. Little did they know another record was about to be broken for the next 15 years or so.
  • Terry Wallace had started as senior coach of Richmond, in his first week the Plough spoke about a “five-year plan” to bring the Tigers back to glory.
  • Smokin’ Joe Misitti and Sean Wellman announced they would be retiring from Essendon at the end of the season.
  • Carlton informed fans the club would be leaving Optus Oval (Princes Park) with one farewell game in season 2005 with the rest split between the MCG and Telstra Dome (Docklands) 
  • Brian Waldron announced he would be stepping down at St.Kilda to take up a job as CEO of the Melbourne Storm.