Shepparton News

BULLDOGS SEND ESSENDON PACKING

ESSENDON’S LONG WAIT FOR FINALS GLORY CONTINUES

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Launceston: Cody Weightman has starred in the rain as the Western Bulldogs inflicted more finals pain on Essendon with a runaway 49-point eliminatio­n final victory.

The small forward kicked four goals, which all came from free kicks, at University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston yesterday afternoon.

The 13.7 (85) to 4.12 (36) result was the Bulldogs’ first finals win since breaking their 62-year premiershi­p drought five years ago, and sets up a semi-final at the Gabba against Brisbane next weekend.

The Bombers, who started the stronger of the two sides but couldn’t convert their chances, haven’t tasted finals success since 2004 and have now lost six straight eliminatio­n games.

The Bulldogs were ahead by just 34-31 at the main break before flying home courtesy of a eight goals to none second half.

The last club to go goal-less in the second half of a finals match was Geelong in 1956.

Weightman nailed two goals in the crucial third term, one from a tight angle after a free kick for a seemingly innocuous push, while Josh Schache justified his late inclusion with his second.

Schache, who was promoted from the emergencie­s moments before the first bounce, also set up a crucial goal to give his side a four-goal break early in the final quarter.

Aaron Naughton finished with three goals and Mitch Hannan two in what ended up being a convincing victory.

Essendon’s Darcy Parish was one of the best on ground in the first half and finished with a team-high 35 possession­s for the match.

Jake Stringer had his moments, snapping the first goal of the contest and an important major to keep the Bombers in touch just before the main break.

Tempers flared at the end of the third quarter after Essendon were awarded a free for a hit off the ball.

Essendon had the better of the inside 50s in the opening quarter but trailed 13-10 at the first break.

The Bulldogs went on a threegoal run early in the second term, with Weightman grabbing his second from a high tackle free kick.

The Bulldogs were forced to overcame a late change, with Zaine Cordy pulling out with illness.

Bulldogs’ Jack Macrae topped the match disposal count with 36 and Tom Liberatore was next best with 35.

 ?? Picture: AAP ?? Dangerous Dog: Small forward Cody Weightman kicked four goals as the Bulldogs defeated Essendon in their eliminatio­n final clash in Launceston yesterday.
Picture: AAP Dangerous Dog: Small forward Cody Weightman kicked four goals as the Bulldogs defeated Essendon in their eliminatio­n final clash in Launceston yesterday.

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