BOMBERS ARE MADE OF WRIGHT STUFF
ESSENDON HAVE NO PROBLEMS DEFEATING PIES
Melbourne: Essendon have stormed into the finals after sealing their third win on the bounce with a 38-point victory over Collingwood.
Fremantle’s loss to St Kilda earlier yesterday effectively locked up eighth place for Essendon, but the Bombers showed no signs of complacency, professionally seeing off the Magpies 16.6 (102) to 9.10 (64) at the MCG.
Essendon’s 11th victory underlined their brilliant turnaround in Ben Rutten’s first season as head coach and sees them enter their elimination final against the Western Bulldogs, who they beat just two weeks ago, on a high note.
Devon Smith (23 disposals, two goals) was excellent, while revitalised recruit Peter Wright and Alec Waterman combined for eight goals.
Zach Merrett (27 disposals) and Jake Stringer (24 touches) maintained their strong form, while Nick Hind and Tom Cutler provided run and carry off half-back.
Taylor Adams (31 disposals, 10 clearances) and Jamie Elliott (four goals) led the way for Collingwood, while youngster Jay Rantall put the clamps on Essendon sensation Darcy Parish.
Collingwood had the better of Essendon around the stoppages early but the Bombers were more efficient, booting the game’s opening three goals.
The Magpies hit back, with Waterman left red-faced after giving away back-to-back 50m penalties to allow Jordan De Goey to equalise late in the first quarter.
But the Bombers booted the next five goals unanswered to firmly seize control of the match.
Wright booted his fourth after the half-time siren to power Essendon into a 34-point lead and they didn’t look back.
Exciting Collingwood youngster Ollie Henry suffered a firsthalf shoulder injury and after attempting to play through it, was substituted out for Beau McCreery in the third quarter.
Collingwood fought out the contest but it proved too little, too late in Robert Harvey’s last match as interim coach.
Magpies veteran and former Fremantle utility Chris Mayne retired after 248 AFL games, while defender Jordan Roughead played his 200th match, with both players chaired off the field.