Sam Draper evades a group of Bullants during Friday's practice match at the NEC Hangar. (Photo: Essendon FC)

A solid four-quarter performance saw Essendon VFL take a 16-point win over the Northern Bullants in Friday's practice match at the NEC Hangar.

Highlighted by the promising returns of three AFL-listed players in Sam Draper, Nate Caddy and Ben Hobbs, the Bombers had strong contributions across the board on a hot night in Melbourne.

A clean end-to-end passage saw midfielder Tom Toma open the scoring, but after peppering at goal with several opportunities the Bombers found themselves with a 1.4 score line at the first change.

Caddy made a promising start to his first hit-out against external opposition, crashing packs and taking a couple of contested marks early in the piece prior to being rested at half-time as planned.

Nate Caddy looked lively on managed minutes. (Photo: Essendon FC)

The physical presence and connection between Draper and Hobbs became apparent throughout the second term, generating clean breakaways out of the middle and scoreboard impact.

Hobbs converted truly from some strong forward pressure before Draper got in on the act with two snap goals, showing his willingness to provide a target deep inside forward 50.

Another centre clearance saw VFL midfield recruit Bailey Scott charge forward to continue a clean run of goals for the Bombers, who'd started to find another gear.

After half-time, the Dons continued to showcase their attack in a five-goal third term, Matt Foley and Mac Hallows both slamming through goals from outside 50.

The key forward pairing of Jack Jedwab and Lachie Monteath worked into the game well with more opportunities, each booting two goals and competing hard in the air after the break.

Although the Bullants pushed for a comeback, goals to Monteath and young forward Oskar Smartt kept the Dons afloat in securing the final 16-point margin.

Hobbs was arguably the Bombers' best on the day, lending his contested ability to a midfield brigade developing nicely under the leadership of VFL Captain Xavier O'Neill.

Hobbs was in and under for the Dons all day. (Photo: Essendon FC)

The growing chemistry of the Dons' young VFL squad has been bearing fruit over the past month, with developing talls such as Campbell Gray getting better with each practice game.

Essendon's VFL season officially kicks off in two weeks' time when they face the Brisbane Lions at the NEC Hangar on Saturday, March 23. 

ESSENDON     1.4     5.7     10.7    13.8   (86)
BULLANTS      2.2     5.6     8.8     10.10  (70)

Hobbs 2, Draper 2, Jedwab 2, Monteath 2, Toma, Scott, Foley, Hallows, Smartt