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VFL Fall Short

Essendon VFL fought to the end, but fell short against Port Melbourne. (Photo by Gallivant Photo - Click to view profile)

A second comeback victory in as many weeks wasn’t to be on Saturday with Essendon losing to Port Melbourne by seven points at Windy Hill. 

The Bombers dominated the scoring throughout the second half but failed to make the most of their opportunities, eventually going down 10.13 (73) to the Borough’s 12.8 (80). 

In front of a massive and vocal crowd at the Bomber heartland, the home side trailed by 28 points at half time before fighting their way back into the contest. 

Missed shots on goal and, some costly errors moving the ball forward, ensured the Bombers never got within a kick of the visitors during a tense final term. 

Essendon skipper Daniel Coghlan got his side off to a great start kicking the first goal after being rewarded for some great tackle pressure. 

The pressure applied by both sides in the first quarter was of the highest order, but it was the Borough who came away looking the goods kicking the next five goals to open up a four goal advantage. 

The Bombers looked to settle back into the game with goals from Sam Grimley, Sam Heavyside and Nick Kommer who were all back in the side following injury layoffs. Another Port Melbourne goal saw them lead by 14 points at the first change. 

Aaron Heppell saved a certain goal early in the second and was one of the standouts for the duration of the game with his desperation at every contest. The Borough looked a class above at times early, opening up a 32-point lead, but a late goal from Grimley kept the Bombers alive at the major change. 

The tight and tough affair continued into the third quarter with Heavyside eventually breaking the deadlock 10 minutes into the term. Conor McKenna’s influence on the game was starting to rise, combing well with Kyle Langford and James Polkinghorne through the midfield. 

A Borough major was quickly answered through goals Polkinghorne and Kommer, cutting the margin to eight points at three quarter time. 

The brilliant atmosphere rose another notch in the final term but was hushed when Aaron Francis went to ground following an attempted tackle. He was sent off with the blood rule but wasn’t injured in the contest. 

Almost when the game seemed lost Jake Long’s defensive effort and gather, combining with Kommer, Coghlan and debutant Victor Carboni found Jack Langford over the back to reduce the margin to seven points but the Bombers ran out of time. 

 

Coach Matthew Egan said the feeling post game was one of frustration at a lost opportunity. 

“Frustrating, disappointing - we are just leaving our run too late,” he said post match. 

“It’s a bit like the Werribee game, things went our way in the second half and we were able to claw our way back but you can’t do that every week. 

“I don’t know if it’s mindset early in games, we were OK in the second half because we had nothing to lose, but you can’t have an attitude that we play well only when we have to. 

“It’s as disappointing a game as I’ve had this year.”

The Bombers were left to rue kicking four goals 10 in the second half to Port’s two goals one.  

“We actually had more scoring shots in the end than Port Melbourne,” Egan said. 

“I thought we rushed it at times. When we had a good chance to score a goal we rushed it and played on, we were just a bit reckless.”

Kyle Langford led the Bombers ball winners with 28 possessions and also the tackle count with 10. 

Polkinghorne gathered 26 touches and McKenna was influential with his run and carry with 23 possessions, seven inside 50’s and four rebound 50’s. 

Defenders Aaron Francis and Josh Freezer both had 19 touches and took 13 and 12 marks respectively across the backline while at the other end Jack Langford has 18 disposals, seven marks and kicked two goals. 

Heppell was among the Bombers best with 16 disposals and countless defensive efforts which Egan said ‘saved us three or four goals.’

 

Sam Michael was left to carry the bulk of the ruck duties after Shaun McKernan withdrew from the match and Gach Nyuon played no further part after a corked hip in the opening minutes of the game. 

The loss leaves the Bombers at five wins and six losses, but could remain inside the top eight depending on other results. 

Click back for more #EssendonVFL news on Monday.