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Gutsy Dons down Dees

Highlights | Rd 3 Highlights from our round three win over the Demons at the MCG.

Essendon has claimed its all-important first win of season 2019, defeating Melbourne by 18 points at the MCG on Friday night.

An electric third quarter, which saw the Bombers ram home eight unanswered goals in 21 minutes, including two apiece to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Devon Smith, laid the foundations for the 20.10 (130) to 18.4 (112) victory.

McDonald-Tipungwuti put on a show on Friday night, with his four goals – two of them absolute pearlers – from 13 disposals sparking the Bombers' misfiring attack.

 

Shaun McKernan (four goals) and Jake Stringer (four) also made the most of their opportunities, as the Bombers sliced and diced Melbourne's porous defence with up-tempo ball movement.

Marquee recruit Dylan Shiel was influential throughout, and although his disposal efficiency (51.6 per cent) will be questioned, his ability to win the ball in congestion and drive it forward (eight inside 50s) was pivotal in the Bombers' victory. Smith also provided important run and carry and laid nine tackles, while David Zaharakis finished the night with 31 touches.

Essendon's win did not come without its shaky moments, as Melbourne turned a 21-point quarter-time deficit into a seven-point lead at the major break after ramming home six goals on the trot in a period of outstanding football.

Angus Brayshaw (34 disposals) and Christian Petracca were central to the Demons' second-quarter fightback, although the latter's influence waned the longer the game went, while Jayden Hunt (three goals) and Bayley Fritsch (21 touches) battled hard to keep their team in the game.

But as Essendon's third-quarter charge went into full swing, the Demons' team defence was all at sea and, coupled with dreadful ball use coming out of defensive 50, the Bombers were able to take full advantage of Melbourne's inconsistency.

The Demons trimmed the margin to 16 points early in the final term after Hunt's third major, but young Bombers Andrew McGrath and Darcy Parish stepped up when their side needed them to, with clutch goals that put the exclamation mark on a much-needed victory.

 

NEXT UP

Melbourne has a six-day turnaround before its first interstate trip of the season against Sydney at the SCG on Thursday night. Essendon will face Brisbane at the MCG next Saturday afternoon.

MEDICAL ROOM

Melbourne: Tom McDonald limped from the field in the second term after landing awkwardly on his ankle and went straight down to the rooms. The forward came back onto the ground and played out the game.

Essendon: Kobe Mutch injured his left hamstring in the first quarter and played no further part in the match. Devon Smith spent time down in the rooms with a corked quad in the second term, but returned to the game. Aaron Francis was sore late in the game and hobbled to the bench before receiving treatment.

MELBOURNE
      3.1    10.1    12.3     18.4 (112)
ESSENDON          6.4     8.6     15.6    20.10 (130)

GOALS

Melbourne: Hunt 3, Harmes 3, Lockhart 2, Weideman 2, Melksham 2, Neal-Bullen, C.Wagner, Petracca, Gawn, Kolodjashnij, Brayshaw
Essendon: 
McDonald-Tipungwuti 4, McKernan 4, Stringer 4, Smith 2, Fantasia 2, Baguley, Zaharakis, McGrath, Parish

BEST

Melbourne: Brayshaw, Gawn, Oliver, Petracca, Jetta
Essendon: 
Heppell, Shiel, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Zaharakis, Stringer, Fantasia

INJURIES

Melbourne: McDonald (ankle)
Essendon: 
Mutch (hamstring), Francis (corked quad) 

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Stevic, Harris, Haussen

Official crowd: 52,475 at the MCG