Essendon have continued their winning ways to start the 2023 season, downing Richmond with a strong second half performance.

The 11.11 (77) to 9.6 (60) result marked the first time the two sides had met since their 2022 Grand Final matchup, with the Bombers making amends this time around.

The players were involved in a pre-match gift exchange in commemoration of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, with Dons skipper Sam Maraldo presenting the Tigers a pair of Indigenous-designed clapsticks.

The Bombers looked crisp in the early stages and were gathering plenty of uncontested ball, but found themselves unable to convert their scoring opportunities, going 0.5 before registering their first major.

A much-improved Richmond flexed their muscle in the second term, working their way into the match and eventually taking a slim lead into the half.

A hotly-contested third term saw the combination of Maraldo and Caleb Logan come to the forefront for the Dons, generating fluid attacks through their ‘pick and roll’ style of play.

The Bombers managed to build on their re-established lead in the final period, with Scott van Gemert’s dominance in the centre causing a headache too many for the Tigers to overcome.

Van Gemert was rewarded for his superb effort, taking home the ‘Player of the Match’ award on the day and continuing his stellar start to the season in a new role through the middle.

Both the senior and community VWFL sides for the Dons will return to action next Sunday, May 28th against Hawthorn at Boroondara Sports Complex, with the community side opening proceedings at 1pm.