The VFL Bombers suffered a 33-point defeat to Richmond at the MCG on Saturday. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Essendon's VFL side has been outclassed in a 33-point defeat to Richmond in its curtain raiser to Dreamtime at the 'G on Saturday.

The Bombers were made to pay for a slow start, trailing by 22 points at the first break and struggling to seriously challenge an inaccurate Richmond in the 6.10 (46) to 10.19 (79) loss.

Despite the defeat, Harry Jones' return from an ankle injury was a positive, with the 21-year-old recording 11 disposals and a goal.

Ruckman Andrew Phillips impressed with 23 hitouts and 14 disposals, including five clearances. He also had five marks and a goal.

Teenage defender Cody Brand gathered a VFL career-high 24 disposals with 15 kicks, nine handballs and nine marks.

Irish youngster Cian McBride had 20 disposals and 11 marks plus nine hitouts, while Brayden Ham and Garrett McDonagh both gathered 20 touches.

Kaine Baldwin was quiet, managing only four disposals and no goals.

The loss to Richmond keeps the Bombers winless after nine rounds, with Coburg up next from 11:35am at Windy Hill on Sunday.

RICHMOND  4.5  5.11  6.15  10.19 (79)
ESSENDON  1.1  3.3  5.6  6.10 (46)

Goals: Cootee, Hallows, Ham, Jones, McDonagh, Phillips

Disposals: Brand 24, Landt 21, Bernacki 20, Fitzgerald 20, Ham 20, McBride 20