Essendon Senior Coach Brad Scott is pleased in how his now second-placed side responded to the many challenges a plucky North Melbourne threw at it. 

Despite Sunday's Marvel Stadium clash being a third-verse-last match up, many pundits had pencilled in as an easy Bombers win. It was anything but that as a determined North Melbourne took it right up to Essendon.

The Roos' intent was there to see, with the Kangaroos' on-ball brigade doing damage around stoppages, eventually winning the clearance count 40-28.


The midfield battle was one which Scott was prepared for, citing "some grief" around stoppages early in the Bombers' eventual charge to a 40-point win.

"We got pretty much what we expected," Scott said.

"We've got a lot of time for the midfield. If you look at (Tom) Powell, (George) Wardlaw, Harry (Sheezel), (Luke) Davies-Uniacke. We started (Archie) Perkins, (Ben) Hobbs, (Jye) Caldwell. It was always going to be a tough battle, and our guys were certainly up for that."

It was a midfield battle the Bombers had to fight without Darcy Parish, who was a late withdrawal from the side with a calf concern.


Scott confirmed that the depth the Bombers have created in recent times, particularly in terms of their midfield group, made the decision to take Parish out of the side.

"Even if he could play, and even if he could get through and not get injured, is he going to play his best?" he said of Parish.

"But the decision for me was really easy, particularly when, I'll be honest, Elijah Tsatas is there. You know, we've been trying to get him into the team for a while."

After falling ill during the week, Scott also took the opportunity to sub Harrison Jones out of the game at three-quarter time, while also suggesting that he may have shared his illness with an absent Nik Cox.

"Jones just had an illness during the week. Not sure whether he gave it to 'Coxy' as well, but 'Jonesy' got his timing right, 'Coxy' didn't. But, no, 'Coxy' will be fine, assuming that it's as minor as we think. And Parish, we don't know," Scott said.

Sam Durham was also rested on the bench throughout the last quarter, after playing a physical brand of football all year, including some heavy knocks against the Kangaroos.