Essendon VFL has recorded its second win of the season in convincing fashion, beating North Melbourne by 94 points at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.
Both sides got off to a slow start before the Bombers turned things around with a seven-to-two-goal second term, leading them to the 20.14 (134) to 5.10 (40) victory.
Despite its inaccuracy in front of goal, North Melbourne managed to get the run-on early and find space across the ground, leaving Essendon to chase.
It wasn’t until halfway through the first term before Essendon turned things around, and was able to play the game on its terms.
The Bombers worked overtime to give themselves every opportunity as vice-captains Heath Hocking (15 disposals, two goals) and Danny Younan (15 disposals, two goals) led by example up forward.
With the temperature reaching 29 degrees, the game heated up both physically and mentally with both teams going hard in one-on-one contests.
The Kangaroos put together some good patches of play in the final term, but left their fight too late.
Senior-listed Bomber Jayden Laverde finished with a bag of six goals in his return match after overcoming an ankle injury.
Trent Mynott put in another solid game with 25 disposals, eight marks and two goals, proving his impressive round one performance was no fluke, while Dylan Clarke (20 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) and his efforts didn’t go unrecognised.
Noah Gown (three goals, five marks) took some strong grabs in the pack, while debutant Liam McKenna (20 disposals) found plenty of the footy.
Captain Aaron Heppell (20 disposals, eight tackles) was pleased with the result and the group’s response to the contested opening term.
“DJ (senior coach Dan Jordan) was very honest with us in terms of how we were going at quarter-time – there were a few areas where we really needed to lift and I think we came out and answered that through our scoreboard performance,” Heppell said.
“North Melbourne like to bring that hard, contested footy and are very quick moving the ball, so our main focus was to try and combat that run and win the inside ball.”
After sitting out the season opener due to a niggling knee injury, the skipper admitted it was good to be playing.
“It was my first game for the year and was nice to get one down – (missing round one) was more precautionary than anything but I’m feeling really good now,” he said.
Looking ahead to next Saturday’s clash against Collingwood, which will be Essendon VFL’s first home game at Windy Hill for 2019, Heppell acknowledged the upcoming month or so would test the group.
“It’s been an exciting two games with strong wins, but we’ve got a tough block of six games coming up next so its really important that we rally around each other and launch into them.”
Essendon 3.5 10.9 14.10 20.14 (134)
North Melbourne 1.4 3.5 4.9 5.10 (40)
Goals: Laverde 6, Gown 3, Hocking, Houlahan, Younan, Mynott 2, J.Brown, Clarke, Mosquito
Disposals: Mynott 25, Clarke, Heppell, McKenna 20, Connellan, Laverde 19
Brooke Varney is in the final year of her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at RMIT University. As part of their strategic partnership, Essendon Football Club and RMIT University are committed to providing opportunities for students, staff, players and the wider community.