Essendon has survived a massive scare from North Melbourne to bank its seventh win of the season and keep a planned return to finals on track.

The Bombers survived a seesawing final quarter to secure the 16.9 (105) to 15.9 (99) result at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.


BOMBERS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats

Zach Merrett was huge for Essendon in the first quarter, gathering 16 disposals and two goals to set up a 20-point lead at the first break, and while the skipper kept leading from the front throughout there was little his teammates could do to stop the irrepressible young Kangaroos as they surged back.

The job was made more difficult for the Roos when they lost Jy Simpkin and Hugh Greenwood to concussion in the first half.

The lead changed four times through the third quarter before a Nic Martin goal seconds before the final break gave the Bombers a nine-point lead to take into the fourth term.


However, North got the first two of the last to grab back the lead and it was very much game-on.

The lead changed multiple times through the final quarter before Essendon substitute Massimo D'Ambrosio slotted the one that made the difference.

Merrett is building a massive season
Zach Merrett was huge against North Melbourne, continuing a season that would have had him in Brownlow contention if he weren't suspended for a rough tackle on Tom Sparrow in round five. He was huge in the first quarter and continued on to finish with 34 disposals, 11 marks, eight clearances and two goals. The Bombers skipper has been right in the mix for best on ground in all his side's wins this year and shows no sign of stopping, and as much as that pleases Bombers fans, it could lead to yet another frustrating Brownlow outcome.


'I meant that'
Ruckmen have been the butt of football jokes as long as the game has been played, but every now and then they do something special. Many may question the intention behind Andrew Phillips' centering pass in the third quarter, but no doubt he will be saying that was exactly what he meant to do, even disguising the perfect play to look like a rank shank. Phillips seemed to be snapping for a vital goal but the ball went at an almost impossible angle, only to find Nic Martin - via his head. Martin was obviously in on the set play and dutifully slotted the set shot to extend Essendon's lead to 11 points.

ESSENDON                   6.2    6.6    12.7    16.9 (105)
NORTH MELBOURNE    3.0    6.4    10.8    15.9 (99)

Essendon: Langford 4, Perkins 2, Merrett 2, Martin 2, Guelfi 2, Stringer, Menzie, Draper, D'Ambrosio
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 4, Larkey 2, Coleman-Jones 2, Tucker, Thomas, Scott, Phillips, McDonald, Goldstein, Stephenson

Essendon: Merrett, Ridley, Martin, Caldwell, Heppell, Perkins
North Melbourne: McDonald, McKay, Zurhaar, Coleman-Jones, Phillips, Tucker

Essendon: Shiel (calf)
North Melbourne: Jy Simpkin (concussion), Greenwood (concussion)

Essendon: Massimo D'Ambrosio (replaced Dylan Shiel at three-quarter time)
North Melbourne: Tom Powell (replaced Jy Simpkin at quarter-time)

Crowd: 40,488 at Marvel Stadium