Essendon’s ability to withstand the pressure of the Anzac Day clash is sitting very well with Dyson Heppell.

While both the Bombers and Collingwood will feel unlucky not to have pinched the four points on Thursday, Heppell is more focused on the four-quarter effort, as well as the Dons’ awareness to halt the momentum of the reigning premiers.

With the ‘ebb-and-flow’ nature of the game as prominent as it’s been, absorbing the energy of playing in front of a 93,000-strong crowd against quality opposition will be beneficial for the Dons in the long run.


“It’s a bit of a strange feeling (to draw). It’s not the real sinking hollow feeling of a loss, it hurts just as much, but you take just as much confidence out of that game as any other,” Heppell said.

“I think we were fantastic right throughout the course (with) our ability to arrest momentum when it was swinging against us, but I’m so proud of the boys, stuck fat all day, stuck to our process and really tried to dig in to the way we wanted to play.

“You obviously have little purple patches throughout games and it was played the way we really wanted to. The contest work was outstanding from the outset.

“It’s a super effort against one of the best in the comp.”

The Bombers’ defensive unit found themselves under the pump when Collingwood got their run going in the second and third quarters, but the efforts of Heppell (27 touches at 96 per cent efficiency) and Vice-Captain Andrew McGrath (31 disposals, 10 intercepts) played a huge role in quelling the Pies.

With Heppell himself in terrific form this year as a cool head down back, he’s just happy to keep playing his role in a system that’s working for the side.


“There were some monster efforts over the course of the day, the boys’ willingness to support and come off their man to intercept,” Heppell said.

“‘Pidgey’ (McGrath) led from the front in that regard, ‘Bull’ (Jake Kelly) was outstanding and the big boys just locking down. She’s a whole collective effort and had support from guys up the field, so we keep building.

“I’m really enjoying my footy, I’m really enjoying the group and the way we’re being coached, we are building something and there’s a nice little feeling about it.

“It’s a tough thing to go week-in and week-out, it’s a real step forward for us. I’m really excited for what’s to come, we’ll just keep cracking in.”