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Match report: Rd 4

Team song: Essendon Watch the Bombers celebrate their round 4 win

Four goals from Jake Stringer have helped Essendon go from easy beats to giant killers in the space of a week, with the Bombers handing Port Adelaide its first loss of the season on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

The Bombers won by 22 points in an emphatic response to last Sunday's horrible loss to the Western Bulldogs – described by John Worsfold as the worst he's been in charge of – after a nine-goals-to-four first half.

"We showed that we learn," Worsfold said post-match.

"We responded well to playing below our best last week and we were back a lot closer to our best today."

They won 16.10 (106) to 12.12 (84), with Stringer putting in his best performance at his new club in a predominantly forward role after struggling in the midfield in previous weeks.

As impressive as the Bombers' turnaround was, the Power were equally disappointing with their level of intensity and disposal, despite managing to keep the margin from completely blowing out.

As expected, the Bombers rejigged things after their defensive debacle against the Dogs and started Cale Hooker in the backline alongside Michael Hurley and Michael Hartley, who was impressive after a late call up for the injured Mitch Brown.

Hooker's presence and early match up on Jack Watts gave Hurley the space to take five marks in the first quarter alone (he totaled 15 for the game plus 29 disposals), and instantly made them look better behind the ball.

Adding to that was Dyson Heppell and Brendon Goddard's solid opening term across half-back – plus a late goal-producing turnover from an Andy McGrath repelling move that started with a Hooker tackle – that contributed to the Dons' quarter-time lead of 18 points.

James Stewart was their leading goal-kicker with two at the first break after the Bombers capitalised on their clearance domination.

They got 36 points clear midway through the second before the Power, led by Ollie Wines and Robbie Gray, started to get their hands dirty.

Gray was the Power's best all afternoon with 39 disposals and 10 clearances, but untidy kicking in their forward half was the team's persistent undoing.

Despite holding the ball inside their forward 50 for 60 per cent of the second term, the Power trailed by 27 points at half-time.

Remarkably, they were still in the game as the last quarter started despite the Bombers stretching the lead to 40 points in the third thanks to three unanswered goals.

Just 19 points separated the sides early in the fourth after Darcy Byrne-Jones kicked the Power's fourth straight, but when Joe Daniher converted after an impressive contested mark seven minutes in, any chance of a comeback was all but snuffed out.

Power coach Ken Hinkley said his team remained "a work in progress" after having some inconsistencies exposed at the hands of a side with something to prove.

"We did some nice things at times, but we just weren't able to stay in that space of really strong, hard footy at every contest and that's why you lose games like this," Hinkley said.

"But we were in the game, as silly as it sounds.

"In the last [quarter] we were three or four goals away … but it would have been nowhere deserving by us to get that result."


Essendon: Mitch Brown was a late withdrawal with calf tightness he developed in Thursday's training session, but the Bombers said it was more a conservative move than anything to give him the day off, with Michael Hartley a suitable replacement. He'll face a fitness test this week but has the Bombers' long break before Anzac Day in his favour. James Stewart hobbled off late in the game after rolling his ankle and will be assessed in the game's wash up, while Adam Saad played out the game with strapping on his upper left leg that was applied in the third term.

Port Adelaide: Tom Rockliff tightened up in his left calf in the first quarter and went off to have it strapped. While he was deemed fit enough to play out the game, he was visibly hampered and faces assessment this week. Todd Marshall suffered delayed concussion that came on late in the third quarter. He didn't return after failing a concussion test in the rooms and will also be tested this week.


The Bombers have a big 10-day break to manage before their Anzac Day blockbuster against Collingwood on April 25 at the MCG, while the Power will host Geelong at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

ESSENDON         5.2   9.4    12.7   16.10   (106)
PORT ADELAIDE     2.2   4.6      8.8   12.12   (84)          


Essendon: Stringer 4, Stewart 3, Daniher 2, Myers 2, Fantasia, Green, Goddard, Baguley, McDonald-Tipungwuti
Port Adelaide: Watts 3, Dixon, Marshall, Westhoff, Boak, S. Gray, Amon, Byrne-Jones, Rockliff, Bonner


Essendon: Hurley, Stringer, Merrett, Heppell, Zaharakis, Hartley, McDonald-Tipungwuti
Port Adelaide: R. Gray, Wines, Polec, Ebert


Essendon: Brown (calf) replaced in selected side by Hartley, Stewart (rolled ankle), Saad (upper leg)
Port Adelaide: Marshall (concussion), Rockliff (calf)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Brown, Nicholls, Mollison

Official crowd: 30,900 at Etihad Stadium