12-months to the day, Essendon sat at a respectable 10 wins – four losses, seemingly cruising toward a birth in September.
What was to happen next was a capitulation of major proportions; as the boy’s from Windy Hill went on to win one miserly game from the next eight encounters and finish well out of finals contention with a pedestrian 11 wins – 11 losses.
Return the present day; Round 16 and the Bombers find themselves in an eerily similar position at 11 wins – three losses.
The Don’s finals cause hampered furthermore last weekend, with Jobe Watson suffering a broken collarbone after a rather innocuous bump from Port Adelaide’s Justin Westhoff.
An injury that will keep the skipper sidelined for at least four to six weeks.
It’s enough to make even the most zealots Essendon fan anxious.
It really is a case of ‘let’s see how far we’ve come’, as the Bombers look to consolidate their place in the eight, with an impending ASADA investigation, tough run home and the absence of their captain and – arguably – best player all looming precariously above the club.
Hawthorn, Richmond, Collingwood, West Coast (home), North Melbourne, Carlton in the last six rounds leaves The Bombers to play first, sixth, seventh and ninth through eleven, respectively.
None of these games gimme’s by any stretch, yet the bombers do have some factors working in there favour.
Wins against the very beatable Western Bulldogs and hapless GWS in the next two rounds could potentially move the Dons to – an almost finals cementing – 13 wins.
It is also noteworthy that Essendon will play all it’s final six games of the Home and Away Season in Melbourne, with the last road game coming against the Giants in Round 17.
Additionally another year of development amongst the teams midfield stocks in Dyson Heppell, David Zaharakis and boom recruit Brendon Goddard should cater for the absence of Watson; a viewpoint that was mimicked by Watson himself when speaking to The Hanger.
“With the leadership group that we have got there’s a lot of guys that have stepped up already this year,” He said.
Going on to say: “I feel as if the guys are really well organised and they know what is required and they will drive the group.”
The club also divulged that the skipper is expected to begin running again on Monday, and is on track for a speedy recovery.
The Bombers season has been a tale of two distinct polarities. Its success on field contrasting with the drama and controversy experienced off it.
Is there yet another twist in this cautionary tale?
The next eight rounds will truly expose Essendon as either premiership contenders or pretenders.
Callum Godde is a second-year Journalism (Sport) student at La Trobe University, Follow him on Twitter @Calgodde.