Essendon has signalled its intentions to hit the ground running in 2020, claiming an eight-point win over West Coast in a dramatic Marsh Community Series match at Mineral Resources Park.
The Bombers came firing out of the blocks and never surrendered their lead in the 14.11 (95) to 13.9 (87) victory, despite a 20-minute lightning delay threatening to stop their momentum in the second term.
As West Coast ticked boxes with star recruit Tim Kelly impressing and forward Josh Kennedy booting six goals, the undermanned Bombers fired a warning shot of their own, playing with spirit and dare.
Their run-and-gun style was eye-catching and efficient, putting the Eagles on the back foot for large periods of the match.
Devon Smith (20 disposals and six tackles) returned to the midfield for his first match since round eight last season and gave a large dose of hardness and leadership.
Andrew McGrath (24 and seven clearances), Dylan Shiel (27 and four) and Darcy Parish (29 and five) led the midfield, with Andrew Phillips holding his own in the ruck in the absence of Tom Bellchambers.
Shiel particularly looks primed to build on his impressive first season with the Bombers, slashing through the midfield and winning the contested ball.
Small forward Irving Mosquito excited the crowd with a left-foot snap in the third quarter, with Will Snelling, Jayden Laverde and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti each kicking two goals and first-gamer Harrison Jones also registering a major.
The Bombers will have a 10-day break before facing Geelong in Colac in their final Marsh Community Series match on Monday, March 9.
WEST COAST 2.2. 5.6 8.8 13.9 (87)
ESSENDON 5.3. 7.5 12.9 14.11 (95)
West Coast: Kennedy 6, Waterman 3, Ah Chee, Williams
Essendon: Snelling 2, McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Laverde 2, Parish, Langford, Smith, Merrett, Phillips, McKernan, Mosquito, Jones
West Coast: Kennedy, Sheed, Shuey, Kelly, Naitanui, Waterman
Essendon: McGrath, Shiel, Langford, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Merrett, Snelling
West Coast: TBC
Essendon: Hurley (leg)
Official crowd: 4,302 at Mineral Resources Park