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'He was a special player'

Simon Conway  June 22, 2017 3:35 PM

BTV: WBW | Lloyd's Lucky 13 Matthew Lloyd reflects on kicking 13 goals against the Swans in 1999.

Matthew Lloyd was coming off a 70-goal year when the 1999 season got underway.

He started the home and away season with two bags of three goals against Carlton and North Melbourne.

He was only 20 years old, but already he’d set lofty expectations and Lloyd wanted more as the Bombers ran on to the field to take on the Swans in round three at the MCG.

“I set myself the individual aim of trying to beat 70 goals that year,” Lloyd said.

“In rounds one and two I kicked three and three – it felt like I was going ok but I had a lot more in me.

“I remember setting myself for a big one that day.”

And he delivered.

Lloyd finished with 13 goals, a career best.

He had 17 shots at goal, 26 possessions and 14 marks for the day.

The match was also significant as Dean Rioli made his Essendon debut.

Rioli went on the play 100 games for the Club and the skill he would become famous for was on show from the outset.

He set up two of Lloyd’s goals with 'tap ons' and finished with 11 possessions and a goal of his own.

“In terms of pure skill level I rate him up there with Michael Long, that’s how skilful he was,” Lloyd said.

“He was one of those selfless players.

“I often get asked if you could have one player come out of the midfield and put one down your throat ... I say Dean Rioli. 

“He just weighted the ball perfectly, he had eyes on the back of his head, he knew where I was turning before I’d even started leading.

“He was a special player and some of his deft taps that day to me were amazing.”