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VFL Dons reclaim top spot

BTV: VFL Rd 14 | Highlights Highlights from our round 14 win over Coburg at Piranha Park.

Essendon VFL has reclaimed top spot on the ladder, defeating a fast-finishing Coburg by 39 points at Piranha Park on Sunday.

The VFL Dons were hot from the get-go, with a five-goal-to-zero second term ultimately sealing the 15.8 (98) to 8.11 (59) victory.

Senior-listed Bomber Josh Begley had the perfect start with a goal within the first minute, as Essendon brought its trademark pressure and intensity.

Skipper Aaron Heppell forced a turnover by taking a strong contested mark, before setting up Brayden Ham with a shot from directly in front.

Mark Baguley then slotted his first, followed by another quick goal from Ham.

It looked as if the Dons would hold the Lions goalless in the first, but a shot after the siren changed that.

Similarly to the opening quarter, the home side had a lot of the footy early in the second but just couldn’t capitalise.

The Bombers, however, were converting with accuracy and managed to boot five unanswered goals to extend their lead to a game-high 48 points.

Entering the second half, Essendon was two down on the bench, with Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (finger) and Kobe Mutch (leg) succumbing to injuries.

This challenged the Dons once again to work through the extra minutes and fewer rotations, but proved they were capable.

At times some signs of fatigue did set in, allowing Coburg to cut the margin back to as little as 22 points in the final term, but Essendon had done more than enough to hold on as victors.

Will Snelling once again made a case for AFL selection, notching up 33 disposals, eight tackles and four marks, while Heppell was just as important with 30 touches and seven tackles.

Begley and vice-captain Heath Hocking finished with three goals each, while Baguley and Ham contributed with two each.

Senior coach Dan Jordan was pleased with his side’s efforts, which led to Essendon VFL’s fifth straight win.

“In the first half we were fresh and playing some really good footy, but then were probably challenged a bit in the second half when Coburg came at us and started playing some really aggressive footy,” Jordan said.

“We dug our heels in though. It was a bit of an arm-wrestle in the second half but in the end it was just a workman-like performance from us which is all we asked for today.”


Jordan also touched on the second quarter, which was potentially the game-changer.

“We were really playing the footy we knew we can in the first half, which set us up well.

“It potentially could have opened up to a high-scoring game, but I’m really glad we got challenged – full credit to Coburg who came at us with some aggressive, through-the-corridor ball use.”

Essendon VFL now has a six-day break before returning home to face North Melbourne on Saturday, July 13 from 12pm.

Essendon 4.3 9.5 11.6 15.8 (98)
Coburg 1.2 1.5 4.7 8.11 (59)

Goals: Hocking, Begley 3, Ham, Baguley 2, Mynott, Ridley, Myers, Gown, Houlahan

Disposals: Snelling 33, Heppell 30, Myers 26, Ham, Mynott 25

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.