Essendon VFL has bounced back from a tough round one loss to Brisbane with a 35-point win over Collingwood in its Anzac Day eve clash at Victoria Park.
The Bombers, who managed to outscore the home team in the first term, were able to maintain a comfortable lead throughout the game to eventually run away with a 12.13 (85) to 6.14 (50) win.
Essendon started strongly and dominated possession, with Josh Smithson striking from outside 50 for the Dons' first.
Ruckman Nick Bryan had an excellent start and was dominant in the ruck and up forward, setting up forward-50 entries for Essendon.
Co-captain Danny Younan was impressive from the get go, dominating the Dons' forward half to secure two early goals.
Defender Patrick Ambrose also had a piece of the action in the first term, taking a mark inside the goal square and adding another major to the scoreboard.
Essendon had strength in numbers and was able to cover the ground well. Its pressure and intensity made it challenging for Collingwood’s forwards, which inevitably saw the Dons outscore the home team four goals to one at the end of the first term.
The Bombers' momentum diminished in the second quarter as Collingwood stepped up its pressure and defence, which meant the Dons were unable to secure a goal.
Although they struggled to get the ball down to their forward line, Essendon’s defenders were impressive in their ability to combat Collingwood’s consistent inside 50s. Ned Cahill was able to continue his impressive form throughout the quarter, making a big impact in midfield and defence.
Collingwood was too strong in the second term, however, cutting the margin to just five points at the main break.
The start of the third quarter saw Essendon regain its momentum and pressure it had shown in the first quarter, with Bryan continuing to dominate the centre bounces and in midfield.
Tom Cutler was prolific early on, scoring two sensational goals in a row from deep outside the forward 50 which put Essendon in a 17-point lead.
Cutler was able to follow this up later in the quarter, orchestrating a turnover near the Dons' goal square and running into an open goal to nab his third goal of the day.
As heavy rain set in and changed playing conditions, Essendon had already established a comfortable 29-point lead and had set itself up going into the last term.
Essendon’s movement inside 50 continued to be strong in the final quarter, with Alec Waterman and Ambrose scoring their second goals of the game which saw the Bombers end the day with a 35-point win.
VFL assistant coach and senior development coach Cam Roberts was happy with the forward leads the Bombers were able to generate in the first quarter, but said that lapsed in the second term which allowed Collingwood to bounce back.
“We sort of gave [Collingwood] a chance. At half-time we sort of addressed that particularly as a midfield group,” Roberts said.
“That second quarter we had a bit of a lapse, particularly when the rain came in. We just tried to get the footy forward and really focus on that contest and the boys did that really well actually. It was really good to see us do that.”
Overall Roberts was impressed with the Bombers' performance and what they were able to bring to the game.
“Our pressure around the footy all day was really good which was a focus area for us. Our ability to make [Collingwood] turn the footy over and us capitalise on that was really good.”
The Bombers will kick off round three against Carlton next Sunday from 12:05pm at Windy Hill.
COLLINGWOOD 1.4 3.8 5.12 6.14 (50)
ESSENDON 4.4 4.7 10.11 12.13 (85)
Goals: Cutler 3, Younan 3, Ambrose 2, Smithson 2, Waterman 2
Disposals: Cutler 27, Baker 21, Cahill 21, Tynan 21, Atley 17, Dunkley 17, Harrold 17, Waterman 17