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VFL Dons hold off Zebras

BTV: VFL Rd 7 | Highlights Highlights from our round seven win over Sandringham.

Essendon VFL is back on the winners list after a narrow 13-point win over Sandringham on Sunday afternoon.

The Bombers made the most of a favouring breeze early, booting seven goals to two in the first term to ultimately set themselves up with the 15.10 (100) to 13.9 (87) triumph.

The match couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, with four consecutive Essendon goals to open the scoring at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

Edyn Sibbald booted one within the opening minute of play, followed by Jordan Ridley converting from a turnover and Jayden Laverde giving a fend-off to snap one through.

Jayden Laverde booted a goal in his return from injury. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Dylan Landt then had his chance, taking a strong intercept mark and going back to slot one.

Essendon continued to pile on the goals, as Sandringham struggled to break the early momentum.

Despite having a comfortable 33-point margin at the first break, the home side managed to bring it back to within one point late in the second term.

Five unanswered goals to the Zebras goals who now had the wind advantage, called for a big second-half response.

And the Bombers did just that.

David Myers (29 disposals, three goals, five marks) and vice-captain Danny Younan (eight disposals, four goals) combined for three early goals, outscoring the Zebras with five more shots on goal.

Sandringham continued to push and challenge, but was never able to snatch the lead.

Rather than switching to a defensive game-plan in the final term, Essendon decided to keep attacking the footy, adding immense pressure in the process.

The Zebras managed to claw back from a 32-point deficit to just 13 points, thanks to three late goals, but it was too late.

Younan and Myers were unstoppable in the Bombers’ forward half, while Dylan Clarke (21 disposals, five marks, one goal), Ridley (21 disposals, seven marks, one goal) and Liam McKenna (20 disposals, five tackles) found plenty of the footy. 

Dylan Clarke found plenty of the footy for Essendon VFL again. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Senior coach Dan Jordan was proud of his side for bouncing back after last week’s loss.

“We knew we were going to be in for a challenge – we knew there was going to be a bit of scoring and a chance to work defensively and transition hard, so it really challenged the boys to roll up their sleeves and get to work today,” Jordan said. 

“There was probably 15 minutes or so at the start of the second quarter where we went away from (our structures) and Sandringham were able to score heavily, but pleasingly in the last quarter when Sandringham had the wind, and probably could have run away with it, we dug our heels in.”

Speaking of the decision to continue attacking in the final term, Jordan said it was about trying to take risks while still being defensive. 

“I was proud of our guys for still having the courage to be able to (attack) – it’s quite easy to go into a defensive mode and put numbers behind the ball but we didn’t want to do that." 

He also praised Younan and Myers, and was pleased with the efforts of debutants Luke Goetz and Tynan Smith who he felt played their roles.

“We know Danny is a proven goalkicker, and we’ve been playing him up on the wing but having lost some scoring power with some injuries to our forwards I wanted to hold him back down there. 

“He didn’t have a high number of possessions but it was more about his pressure and being able to keep the ball in 

“‘Myersy’ was outstanding as well, especially around the contest. His contested ball work is great, and to finish with three goals as a midfielder is huge.

“His leadership and direction is just as important, especially for some of those younger guys so we’re really privileged to have a guy of his calibre play with us. 

The Bombers will take on the top-of-the-table Tigers and look to break the latter’s undefeated streak.

“We know how much of a quality side Richmond is, and looking back to that final we played against them last season was a terrific game,” Jordan said. 

“If we can get a game of similar standard, that would be great not just for the competition but also for our learning. 

“We go into every game trying to win it, and that’s definitely what we’ll be doing heading into next week.” 

The VFL Bombers celebrate their win over Sandringham. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Essendon will play Richmond from 2:30pm on Saturday, May 25 at Punt Road Oval, ahead of the annual Dreamtime at the ‘G match.

Essendon 7.4 8.5 12.9 15.10 (100)
Sandringham 2.1 7.5 10.5 13.9 (87)

Goals: Younan 4, Myers 3, Sibbald, Ridley, Laverde, Landt, D. Clarke, Smith, Hocking, Ham

Disposals: Myers 29, D.Clarke, Ridley 21, McKenna 20, Laverde 19

Brooke Varney is in the final year of her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at RMIT University. As part of their strategic partnership, Essendon Football Club and RMIT University are committed to providing opportunities for students, staff, players and the wider community.