Essendon VFL has fallen to Sandringham by 38 points at Trevor Barker Oval on Sunday.

A physical encounter from the early stages, the Zebras booted six of the first eight goals to establish a solid lead going into quarter-time, with the Bombers defence struggling against the breeze early.

There were still promising signs ahead of centre, as rookie-listed Bomber Vigo Visentini stepped up to boot his first two goals for the club.

The Dons were a man down for most of the contest after young forward Nate Caddy lost a tooth in an accidental clash at a marking contest in the first term, being taken for dental surgery.

After the first change, the Bombers came out firing and produced an inspired 20 minutes of footy where the ball was constantly locked in their forward half.

With Elijah Tsatas (24 disposals) getting the clearance game going and Sam Weideman providing a strong forward presence in Caddy's absence, the Dons piled on four quick goals in a row to rush back into the lead by half-time.

Draftees Luamon Lual (21 disposals) and Archie Roberts (23 touches) generated exciting link-up from half back to the wing, taking nice strides in their development at VFL level.

After half-time, Sandringham adjusted to the run and regained the momentum with a six-goal-to-one quarter, leaving the Bombers with a big task required at the final break.

The Zebras' lead reached 50 points at the halfway mark of the final term, but the Bombers booted three of the final four majors to cut the eventual margin to 38 points.

Lewis Hayes was an admirable performer under pressure all day, finishing with 25 touches and seven marks as one of his side's best, while skipper Xavier O'Neill fought hard in the midfield to end up with 24 disposals and seven tackles.

Essendon VFL will have time to reset this week as they have their first bye of the 2024 season.

SANDRINGHAM     6.4     7.6     13.9    17.13   (115)
ESSENDON      2.1     7.7     8.8     11.11  (77)

Weideman 2, Visentini 2, Toma 2, Smartt, Peris, Hately, J. Davey, Bryan