JAKE Stringer has done it again, the 'Package' delivering another victory for Essendon, kicking the winning goal as the Bombers overran St Kilda by four points.

St Kilda led by just seven points at three-quarter time, but had recorded seven more scoring shots and left the door wide open for Essendon, which dominated the last quarter to win 10.11 (71) to 9.13 (67) at Marvel Stadium.

BOMBERS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats


It was a case of death by 1000 cuts for the Saints (and arguably for Essendon fans, too), the Bombers kicking 2.6 to 1.1 in the last term.

It'd been a shoddy first half on the skills front, but the Bombers finally clicked into gear in the final 15 minutes, flicking the ball around with ease until Stringer finally gave his side the lead for the first time in the game, with six minutes left on the clock.

Skipper Zach Merrett had 10 disposals in the first half, but worked his way into the game beautifully to help guide his side home with 12 last-quarter touches, along with Andy McGrath in a sweeping role off half-back.

St Kilda moved the ball from end to end with far too much ease in the first half – relatively stress-free viewing for its fans, while Bombers supporters would have been frustrated with the sheer number of times Saints players danced around their opponents.


Jack Higgins picked up from last week's four-goal haul with another three, looking very dangerous at ground level and relishing the space afforded to him. 

The Bombers had struggled with their connection moving up the field for most of the match, often getting caught in St Kilda's zone defence and battling to find a mark across half-forward in the absence of Peter Wright (suspension).

The standards fell at the tail end of the second quarter; both teams losing their composure, leading to wild, panicked choices and skill execution.

Essendon couldn't quite close beyond a two-goal gap in the first half, while St Kilda struggled to extend its lead beyond 20 points.

Bombers defender Nic Martin had an astonishing 27 disposals to half-time, demonstrative of both his exceptional workrate and the team's struggles to progress the ball out of defence, chipping it around across half-back, and finished with 44 touches.


Sam Durham's game came to an early end after injuring his shoulder during a Seb Ross tackle in the third term.

Essendon midfielder Will Setterfield was a late withdrawal due to knee soreness. Coach Brad Scott said it wasn't an overly serious issue and he could have played, but the withdrawal was precautionary.

Missing key forwards
Both teams were without their spearheads after dates at the Tribunal, with Bomber Wright and Saint Max King sitting on the sidelines. Anthony Caminiti was a straight swap for King and kicked 2.2. The Bombers threw the magnets around a little more to cover for Wright. Harry Jones was a late inclusion for midfielder Setterfield, while ruck Sam Draper played extended minutes in the goalsquare, leaving a lot of the ruck duties to Todd Goldstein. Stringer also spent more time in attack than in the midfield. 

Marvellous Martin
The newly minted Essendon defender brought his own football to Marvel Stadium, recording a whopping 27 disposals in the first half alone. His pace slowed somewhat in the third term as the Bombers had more possession in their front half, recording a "mere" nine, but he still finished with an equal-club record 44 disposals, drawing level with teammate Darcy Parish.

Twelve-point turnaround
St Kilda looked to have conceded the lead halfway through the third term when Jake Stringer thought he'd kicked the crucial goal – but he was called for a push in the back on Riley Bonner. Having booted the ball through the sticks and celebrated, not hearing the umpire's whistle, he conceded a 50m penalty and Seb Ross extended the margin back to 11. While the Bombers ended up victorious, at the time, it appeared to be a match-killer.

ESSENDON          3.1     5.3      8.5      10.11 (71)
ST KILDA             4.4     6.8     8.12      9.13 (67)  

Essendon: Stringer 3, Langford 3, Jones 2, McGrath, Duursma
St Kilda:
Higgins 3, Caminiti 2, Sinclair, Ross, Owens, Butler

Essendon: Martin, Duursma, Merrett, Parish, Langford
St Kilda:
Ross, Steele, Hill, Marshall, Higgins, Bonner

Essendon: Durham (shoulder)
St Kilda:

Essendon: Will Setterfield (knee soreness) replaced by Harrison Jones
St Kilda:

Essendon: Nick Hind (replaced Sam Durham in the third quarter)
St Kilda:
Angus Hastie (replaced Cooper Sharman at three-quarter time)

Crowd: 44,412 at Marvel Stadium