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VFL Dons rue missed chances

Essendon VFL Coach Paul Corrigan says the Bombers failed to take their chances in the Elimination Final against Footscray.

The Dons started strongly, taking an 18-point lead into the major break but the Dogs rallied in the third term with the aid of a strong breeze.

Each side booted three last quarter goals as the reigning premiers held on to win by five points.

“I felt our first quarter was really good. I felt we played the brand of footy that we wanted to – looking after the contest and we held them with the breeze that was there,” Corrigan said.

“To go in a goal or two down at quarter time, I felt it gave us the opportunity to get a decent lead with the breeze going into half time.

“The boys played really well in that second quarter and then we got the first goal of the second half.

“Then the Dogs turned the game around and they got back in front.

“They outnumbered us around the contest in the third quarter and got to the contest quicker than what we did.

“That helped them get those couple of goals in a row.

“To go into the final term only a goal down – I really thought we had it in us.

“To their credit, they played really well. We probably just didn’t take our chances in that last quarter.

“We had our chances but we just fell short.”

Captain Nick O’Brien was one of the Bombers best with 25 possessions and a clutch goal late in the game.

Kyle Langford (23 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles and a goal) continued his excellent form, while first year player Kobe Mutch (23 disposals and six mark) gave Bomber fans cause for excitement ahead of the 2018 season.

“I thought the whole group was really impressive yesterday,” Corrigan said.

“We were really challenged when Aaron Francis went off with his injury, we had to readjust our team and look for more avenues toward goal.

“The older players Howlett, Bird and Dea really stood up for us.

“Shaun McKernan was really good for us up forward, he finished with three goals.

“Shaun was a really good target for us, he provided a lot of aerial support for us when we had to kick long down the line.

“Langford and Kobe Mutch were great in the midfield – they performed really well for us.

“I thought it was one of Mason Redman’s best games, playing half back.

“I think we had a really good blend of contributors.”

The AFL listed players will all continue regular training this week, with the possibility they might get a call-up into the senior side.

“Anything is a possibility,” Corrigan said.

“The main thing is for the AFL players to keep preparing themselves through this week in preparation for Sydney because if you get called upon – those guys could be playing against Sydney next week, depending on what happens with the side.”

James Ferry, Nick Hind, Alex Boyse and Kieran Strachan will also continue training, in preparation for the AFL State Combine in October.