Martin Blake

Martin Blake

Martin Blake has been a senior writer for The Age since 1986 and has covered numerous AFL seasons, three cricket World Cups and various Australian cricket tours overseas, two Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games, and a plethora of other major sports events including the British Open Championship and the US Masters. He covers all sports with an emphasis on Australian football and golf.

No regrets as Bombers veteran McVeigh calls it a day

Martin Blake Essendon's 232-game veteran Mark McVeigh has retired with no regrets. McVeigh, 31, told his teammates this morning at Windy Hill that he would not go on in 2013.

Baby steps as Bombers on the mend

Dustin Fletcher

Martin Blake Essendon keeps taking two steps back for each step forward in the injury stakes.

Football

Bombers close to full strength for decider

Essendon's Patrick Ryder battles with Carlton's Shaun Hampson.

Martin Blake Essendon will put its season on the line by fielding its best on-paper team for a month.

Football

Winderlich back as Bombers test the best

Jason Winderlich is set to make his return from injury.

Martin Blake Winless Essendon picks its strongest possible squad for tomorrow's NAB Cup match against Sydney.

No more booze for Bombers

Pinching himself: Sam Lonergan (left) and Dustin Fletcher share a joke while training at Windy Hill yesterday.

Martin Blake James Hird has been driving Essendon's players since pre-season began on October 26.

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Bombers back star Heppell to shine on

On the prowl: Dyson Heppell at training at Windy Hill this week.

Martin Blake Seamless is the best description for Dyson Heppell's entry to the big stage of AFL football.

AFL

Bombers team still not settled

James Hird, coach of the Bombers.

Martin Blake A day out from the Anzac Day blockbuster against Collingwood James Hird is still pondering his 22 for Essendon.

Football

Bombers fall short as Swans soar

.Essendon's Patrick Ryder battles with Sydney's Shane Mumford at Etihad.

Martin Blake The AFL's surprise new ladder-leader, Sydney, beat Essendon by four points in one of the games of the season.

Saints upset Bombers in thumping win

Stephen Milne and Nick Riewoldt

Martin Blake TWO moments encapsulated this game, both in the third quarter when St Kilda was on the verge of finally breaking Essendon's spirit.

McVeigh hangs up boots

Mark McVeigh

Martin Blake For the best part of a decade, Mark ''Spike'' McVeigh and James Hird had a ritual as players. Before each game, they paired off and hammered footballs at each other to spark up.

Dawes finds an opening as Magpies bolster ruck

Chris Dawes

Martin Blake Collingwood has made a last-ditch punt on Chris Dawes for the qualifying final against Hawthorn at the MCG tonight after the out-of-form ruck-forward was dropped for the last round of the...

AFL

Dawes finds an opening as Pies bolster ruck

Chris Dawes

Martin Blake Collingwood has made a last-ditch punt on Chris Dawes for the qualifying final.

AFL

Reward at last for Dons' skipper

Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson polled in a record 14 games.

Martin Blake Jobe Watson caps off his third consecutive outstanding year with the game's most prestigious and famous individual honour.

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AFL

Bomber stars return

Essendon's bad start to 2010.

Martin Blake Essendon coach James Hird has spent the season with headaches at the selection table and a glut of injuries, but the Bombers are on the verge of pulling their full list together.

Wake up Dons: season is slipping by

Martin-Blake-sport-dinks

Martin Blake A top-four spot is probably already out of the question, for Essendon this season.

AFL

'As a kid I hated Hawthorn': Hird gets personal

James Hird

Martin Blake Essendon coach James Hird is looking forward to renewing his club's rivalry with Hawthorn at Docklands tomorrow night, although he has bigger things on his mind.

Hodge back for Hawks

Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge

Jared Lynch, Martin Blake Luke Hodge is set to captain Hawthorn for just the third time this season in tonight's clash with Essendon, while Bombers speedster Jason Winderlich will play his first game for the season in his...

'Boomer' blitz fires the Roos

Bounding: Brent Harvey (left) proved a handful for Michael Hibberd, kicking three goals in as many minutes.

Martin Blake For half a game, Essendon and North Melbourne played footy from the 1970s.

Pieces of eight proves a flag fantasy

Martin-Blake-sport-dinks

Martin Blake In AFL footy, they don't do an FA Cup-style rags-to-riches thing. No fairytale stories like West Ham's triumph in 1980 from second division.

Forward thinking

Sydney's Jesse White in action.

Martin Blake Finishers are the must-have item this season, writes Martin Blake.