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Edging towards glory

BTV: Skipworth post-match - VFL Semi Final BTV caught up with EFC VFL Head Coach Hayden Skipworth following the win over Footscray in the VFL Semi Final.
Photo by Mark Witte.

Essendon VFL is just one win away from a Grand Final after knocking over the reigning premiers Footscray on Saturday afternoon.

The win means the Bombers progress to a Preliminary final next Sunday against Williamstown, while the Dogs bow out of the finals after consecutive losses.

“We couldn’t have played any better,” VFL Coach Hayden Skipworth said.

“The boys stuck to the game plan all day, we were discipline for the whole four quarters and they got the result that they deserved.”

After a tight first term, the Dons held a narrow lead of just seven points.

But the Bombers took control of the match, in the second term, booting five goals to Footscray’s one and lead by 31 points at the main break.

“We started winning the contest and we started getting the ball forward,” Skipworth said.

“We picked a smaller forward line that was lively and they started to hit the scoreboard.”

The Dons were never challenged after half time, building on their lead to eventually run away 66-point victors.

Aaron Heppell and Anthony Tipungwuti were superb across the half backline.

The duo impacted a number of contests, as well as generating a number of chains of attack throughout the afternoon.

“Hepp was fantastic,” Skipworth said.

“He waited all year to get an opportunity, and he’s come in the last four weeks and really cemented his spot.”

“While Tippa gives us plenty of run and dash, and he’s a great defender and ball user as well.”

Alex Browne and Lachlan Dalgleish dominated throughout the middle.

Both worked hard inside and outside the contest for the duration of the match.

“I thought him and Lachie Dalgleish were super on the wings,” Skipworth said.

“When it was their turn to go they put their head over the ball.

"They also gave us some run and some good ball use on the outside.”

Sunday’s Preliminary final means the Bombers will enjoy an eight-day break before facing Williamstown.

Despite going down to the Seagulls earlier in the season, Skipworth maintained the team will be holding nothing back.

“We’ll do a review Monday, light skills Tuesday, and main session on Thursday,” Skipworth said.

“The first half we played them last time was excellent, we probably didn’t score as much as we would have liked though.

“Then in that third quarter they really blew us away- so it was really one quarter that cost us the game.

“They’re a fantastic side, but we’ll certainly have a crack.”

Essendon 19.9 (123) defeated Footscray 7.8 (50)

Goals

Essendon: K. Hardingham 3, Al. Browne 3, J. Thompson 2, S. McKernan 2, J. Polkinghorne 2, J. Long, A. Tipungwuti, S. Edwards, A. McLeod, S. Heavyside, K. Langford, C. McKenna

Best

Essendon: A. Heppell, Al. Browne, J. Polkinghorne, K. Hardingham, S. McKernan, B. McNiece