Ahead of Friday night's showdown, we take a look back at some of the best moments of the great rivalry between Essendon and North Melbourne.
- Essendon had North Melbourne excluded from the VFL because both clubs drew supporters from the same area. North fans have long been bitter about this move by the Dons, arguably igniting a rivalry between these current powerhouse clubs.
- Essendon and North Melbourne face off in a Grand Final for the first time in front of 87,601 fans, the Dons prevailing by 38 points.
- North Melbourne defeat Essendon in an Elimination Final by 13 points. Phil and Jim Krakouer dominate for the Roos booting four and two goals respectively. While Terry Daniher was among the better Bombers, with 19 disposals and four goals.
- Essendon thump North Melbourne by 86 points the Preliminary Final. Tim Watson stars with five goals and 19 disposals, while fellow Don Roger Merrett boots four goals. The Bombers eventually go on to lose to Hawthorn in the 1983 Grand Final, before winning back-to-back flags in ’84-’85.
- Essendon lose to Sydney in the Preliminary Final by a point as Tony Lockett kicks one of the most famous behinds in AFL history. North Melbourne go on to play Sydney in the GF and win by 43 points– you were lucky Roos, if only it had of been against the Dons.
- Prior to the round 14 match between Essendon and North Melbourne, Kevin Sheedy infamously labeled Kangaroos executives Greg Miller and Mark Dawson ‘marshmallows’, referring to their softness. North would win that clash by 18 points on the Friday night stage, adding to the intensity of when the two would meet again, which would be in the Qualifying Final.
- This match had all the hype in the lead up, as it was known as the ‘marshmallow match on the back of the round 14 clash earlier that year. Unfortunately for the Bombers sake, North Melbourne triumphed again, winning by 22 points. Remarkable scenes followed, as Roos’ fans hurled marshmallows at Kevin Sheedy as he walked along the boundary line towards the dressing rooms.
- The Round 17 match between Essendon and North Melbourne was one of the classic shootouts in AFL history. Both clubs had spearhead forwards in Matthew Lloyd and Wayne Carey at either end of the ground. The total match points would combine to a whopping 290 as Carey kicked 10 goals to Lloyd’s seven. Although North might have won that battle, Essendon won the war, as they defeated the Roos by 26 points.
- In identical fashion to the 1996 Preliminary Final, Essendon lose by a point to Carlton who go on to face North Melbourne in the Grand Final. North Melbourne go on to once again record a convincing 35-point victory and bank another premiership. If only it had of been against the Bombers.
- Essendon absolutely annihilate North Melbourne in the 2000 Qualifying Final by 125 points after a near flawless season. Matthew Lloyd kicks seven goals, and James Hird boots five goals. While Joe Misiti stars with 41 touches and four goals. The Bombers would go on to win the 2000 premiership convincingly.
- Essendon record the biggest comeback in AFL history, as they drew back a deficit of 69 points to eventually win by 12 points. Matthew Lloyd booted nine majors, while Corey McKernan kicked five for the Roos. Jason Johnson stared for the Bombers with a 31-possession and four-goal game.
- The Bombers started their season in style with a nail-biting 2-point win over North Melbourne in round one of 2012. Hamish McIntosh had the chance to steal the victory for the Roos with a shot after the siren, but he missed, making it all the sweeter for Bomber fans. Brent Stanton dominated with 35 disposals and two goals.
- The last time we encountered North Melbourne was in last year’s Elimination final where we went down by just 12 points. It was a ferocious contest all night with the Dons maintaining a lead for much of the night. However a last-quarter comeback from the Roos saw them snatch victory, with Drew Petrie’s late goal celebration sure to be very fresh in the mind of Bomber fans. Dyson Heppell was gallant in defeat, gathering 34 possessions.
- So now we come to the round-seven blockbuster under the Friday Night Lights between Essendon and North Melbourne. This match is not to be missed as these two fierce rivals are set to add another chapter to the history book.