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Rd 7: VFL Match Report v NB

Essendon VFL has strengthened its position in the top eight with a 38-point win over North Ballarat at Windy Hill.

Shaun McKernan was a constant threat in the forward half, finishing with four goals and eight marks.

Nick O'Brien (34 possessions), Kyle Langford (31 possessions, two goals), Craig Bird (31 possessions, seven tackles, two goals) and Heath Hocking (28 possessions, five tackles, two goals) were prolific in the midfield.

Alex Carr, the 2014 Morrish Medal winner, was impressive in his first game for the Bombers.  He finished with three goals.

Jordan Ridley made a composed return to the field.  He collected 17 disposals in his first match since he was sidelined with a back problem in March.

The Dons were on fire early kicking three goals in the opening six minutes, but the Roosters made their limited forward 50 forays count in the opening term.

At the first change the margin was 18 points with Langford (11 disposals), Bird (10) and Hocking (10) all making an early impression.

The two sides traded goals in the second term, with each team booting five majors.

The Bombers put their foot down in the third quarter with experienced big men Matthew Leuenberger (seven disposals for the term) and Shaun McKernan (three marks for the term) having an impact around the ground.

Leuenberger ended the match with 23 disposals.

The Dons booted six goals to four to take a 33-point lead into the final change.

But every time Essendon threatened the pull away, North Ballarat answered.

In the last quarter the margin was reduced to 23 points midway through the term, before a late goal to Jackson Merrett sealed the win.

Essendon 20.17.137 defeated North Ballarat 15.9.99

Goals: McKernan 4, Francis 3, Carr 3, Bird 2, Langford 2, Hocking 2, Leuenberger, Draper, McNiece, J. Merrett

Disposals: O'Brien 34, Langford 31, Bird 31, Hocking 28, Mutch 25