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.
Martin Blake Essendon keeps taking two steps back for each step forward in the injury stakes.
Martin Blake Essendon will put its season on the line by fielding its best on-paper team for a month.
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.
Martin Blake Winless Essendon picks its strongest possible squad for tomorrow's NAB Cup match against Sydney.
Martin Blake James Hird has been driving Essendon's players since pre-season began on October 26.
Martin Blake Seamless is the best description for Dyson Heppell's entry to the big stage of AFL football.
Martin Blake A day out from the Anzac Day blockbuster against Collingwood James Hird is still pondering his 22 for Essendon.
Martin Blake The AFL's surprise new ladder-leader, Sydney, beat Essendon by four points in one of the games of the season.
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.
Martin Blake For half a game, Essendon and North Melbourne played footy from the 1970s.
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.
Martin Blake Finishers are the must-have item this season, writes Martin Blake.
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.
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...
Martin Blake Collingwood has made a last-ditch punt on Chris Dawes for the qualifying final.
Martin Blake Jobe Watson caps off his third consecutive outstanding year with the game's most prestigious and famous individual honour.
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.
Martin Blake A top-four spot is probably already out of the question, for Essendon this season.
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.
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...