Gold Coast have downed the Bombers 12.9 (81) to 11.12 (78) after a last-gasp comeback at Windy Hill.

The match marked a special day for the Essendon faithful with Michael Hurley making his long-awaited return to senior footy.

Despite playing limited gametime, Hurley was able to get through unscathed in his first hit out in 666 days.

After a slow starting first quarter, the Bombers began to lift, reclaiming the lead at halftime behind a massive first half from Patrick Voss (four goals).

The contest remained tight the rest of the way, with the Dons going down in the final minutes of the match to back-to-back Suns goals.

Billy Cootee (21 disposals, 11 clearances) and Stefan Rasinac (29 disposals) were two of the Bombers best, working hard through the midfield all day.

Massimo D’Ambrossio was solid with 15 disposals and one goal, whilst Jye Menzie continued to push his case for senior selection with an impressive game (14 disposals, five tackles, one goal).

James Stewart was influential in his return, kicking four majors.

Essendon will look to snap their two-game skid next week in their round 18 matchup with the Southport Sharks.

ESSENDON 2.2 (14) 8.8 (56) 9.9 (63) 11.12 (78)
GOLD COAST 5.2 (32) 6.4 (40) 10.8 (68) 12.9 (81)

Goal kickers – Patrick Voss: 4, James Stewart: 4, Billy Cootee: 1, Massimo D’Ambrosio: 1, Jye Menzie: 1