Bombers defy odds with inspired win over Hawks as Lions take down depleted Eagles
Posted On May 7, 2022
Peter Wright has kicked six goals to help Essendon pull off a dramatic 27-point win over Hawthorn, breathing life back into its season.
Also on Saturday night, the Brisbane Lions defeated an understrength West Coast Eagles outfit by 75 points at the Gabba, while Geelong, Richmond and Gold Coast won the earlier matches.
Ravaged by illness and forced into five late changes, the Bombers produced an eight-goal final term to run away with a 16.12 (108) to 11.15 (81) win on Saturday night at Docklands.
Jordan Ridley, Matt Guelfi, Jake Kelly, Sam Durham and Alec Waterman were all picked in the starting 22 but were too unwell to play.
And the magnitude of Essendon’s desperation was highlighted when they called on Devon Smith as a replacement just days after ruling him out for two weeks because of a knee injury.
The Bombers trailed by as much as 25 points during the third quarter but fought back and finished full of running to claim their second win of the year after a tough 1-6 start.
Nic Martin provided a spark in the final term as he kicked one goal and set up another for Wright to get Essendon back within a kick.
Dylan Shiel missed a gilt-edged chance to put them in front and Mason Redman thought he had done so from long range until Wright was called for holding an opponent on the goal line.
The Bombers eventually took the lead when Zach Merrett accidentally kicked the ball through for a goal when trying to pick it up off the ground.
Wright then galloped forward after winning a contest on the wing and bounced through his fifth major to whip the red-and-black crowd into a frenzy.
Heavily criticised for not having enough impact with their possessions, Merrett (28 disposals and six clearances) and Darcy Parish (32 disposals and six clearances) were outstanding for the Bombers.
Redman (27 disposals) starred at half-back and Sam Draper fought back from a tough start to split his ruck duel with Max Lynch.
Jai Newcombe (28 disposals and five clearances) was brilliant in the first half for Hawthorn as Max Lynch, Jacob Koschitzke and Jack Gunston kicked two goals each to help establish what looked to be a match-winning lead midway through the third quarter.
But the Bombers were irresistible in the final term, piling on 8.2 to 1.2 to overrun their rivals.
Lions score comfortable win over Eagles
An undermanned West Coast scrapped valiantly and Brisbane lost another tall forward but the Lions still did as expected in their comprehensive win.
Daniel McStay’s nasty ankle roll in the first quarter soured the host’s 16.9 (105) to 4.6 (30) win, as the Eagles fronted up despite mass absences due to injury and COVID-19.
McStay joined fellow tall targets Joe Daniher (shoulder) and Eric Hipwood on the injury list, although Hipwood could return from his ACL tear next week.
It was the Lions’ (7-1) smaller men who instead got to work.
Charlie Cameron (four goals) continued his fine form, Hugh McCluggage (four goals and 26 disposals) impressed and Cam Rayner (two goals) also grew in confidence.
Lachie Neale (30 disposals and 10 clearances) controlled traffic again, while offsider McCluggage was everywhere as his push for All-Australian honours stepped up a gear in the percentage-boosting win.
With just 20 AFL-listed players available and coach Adam Simpson in isolation because of COVID-19, the Eagles were always going to face an uphill battle in Brisbane.
Top-up player and first-gamer Jake Florenca did his best with 19 disposals and four clearances.
Cameron stars in Cats’ win
A powerful first quarter from Jeremy Cameron has haunted his former club and got Geelong’s inconsistent season back on track.
Cameron had three goals by quarter time against Greater Western Sydney and finished with five, helping the Cats lead from start to finish and win 12.15 (88) to 4.11 (35) at Manuka Oval.
He got help from Tyson Stengle, who slotted three classy goals, while it all started in the middle with an impressive display from Mitch Duncan, who had 16 disposals in the first term.
The win moved the Cats to 5-3 for the season, while the result leaves the Giants all but eliminated from the finals race at 2-6.
Ahead by 20 points at half-time, Stengle and Cameron both snapped goals in a two-minute span in the third term to break the GWS fight.
Cameron made it five in the last quarter as Geelong blew the margin right out.
Duncan carved the Giants up at will and had 33 touches, while Patrick Dangerfield impressed on his return to the side with 28.
Accuracy in front of goal certainly did not help GWS, who finished with 4.11.
Isaac Cumming was best for the Giants having found 29 disposals and 12 rebound 50s, with 25 of those possessions kicks.
Dusty helps Tigers take care of Pies
Dustin Martin’s eagerly-anticipated AFL return has been a success but his teammate Tom Lynch has stolen the show in Richmond’s 27-point victory over Collingwood.
Martin gathered 23 possessions in his first game since round one, when he stepped away from football to deal with personal issues, as the Tigers improved their record to 4-4 to jump back inside the top-eight.
The three-time Norm Smith medallist was mobbed by every one of his Richmond teammates when he slotted his first goal early in the third quarter.
Martin’s 293rd career major extended the Tigers’ lead to 30 points, setting them on their way to a comfortable 17.11 (113) to 12.14 (86) triumph in front of 64,481 fans at the MCG.
After snapping his second goal midway through the last quarter, the Richmond faithful started chanting “Dusty” to rubber-stamp the comeback of one of the AFL’s modern greats.
He played mainly as a forward, working in tandem with Lynch as the former Gold Coast co-captain produced one of the best games of his 12-year career.
The Tigers full-forward had a first half to remember, kicking five goals, taking eight marks and collecting 18 possessions to be the most influential player on the ground.
Lynch had a career-high 25 touches and finished the match with 6.1, backing up his seven-goal haul against hapless West Coast last week.
Richmond youngster Rhyan Mansell could attract some attention from the match review officer after appearing to strike Collingwood dynamo Jack Ginnivan late in the third quarter.
Ginnivan, who was reportedly spoken to by Collingwood hierarchy after a drinking session after his Anzac Day heroics, was fairly quiet but still managed to slot three goals and frustrate the opposition and their supporters.
The Tigers’ forward-line was firing but their defence was just as impressive with Noah Balta starring in a performance that will make it difficult for veteran recruit Robbie Tarrant to force his way back into the team.
In a rare highlight for the Magpies, Will Hoskin-Elliott brought down a mark-of-the-year contender late in the match.
Richmond will be gunning for a third-straight win when they meet Hawthorn at the MCG next Saturday, while Collingwood’s next assignment is a clash with the Western Bulldogs on Friday night.
Suns stun Swans in Sydney
Gold Coast have overcome a fightback to topple high-flying Sydney in a 14-point AFL victory at the SCG.
The Suns were the better side for much of the match but had to withstand a tense final quarter before triumphing 10.15 (75) to 8.13 (61) on Saturday afternoon.
Izak Rankine helped spark the upset as he showed glimpses of the brilliance he often produced early in his short career.
The Suns small forward kicked two important goals, having underwhelmed many in his previous four matches, while also showing he can win his own ball when needed with nine of his 13 disposals contested.
Matt Rowell (15 contested possessions, seven clearances), Touk Miller (11, 5) and David Swallow (9, 6) dominated around the stoppages while Brayden Fiorini (30 disposals) and Brandon Ellis (26) were also among the best for the Suns.
While the Suns won the clearances 36-29 they were also able to gain easy ground with the Swans giving away four 50m penalties for moving off the mark too early, helping the visitors to top the inside 50 count 55-41.
The Suns (3-5) will also be cheered by Rory Thompson getting through his first AFL match in 1379 days after being sidelined due to serious knee injuries since round 19, 2018.
The key defender spent much of the match opposed to Logan McDonald and helped restrict the emerging forward to one goal and nine disposals in a stirring return.
Paddy McCartin was one of Sydney’s best, especially when the Suns were on top in the first half, impressing in defence on his return after missing one match under concussion protocols.
McCartin ended the match with 19 disposals and 10 marks as he often intercepted the ball coming inside 50.
Nick Blakey (25 disposals) provided his usual attacking run coming out of defence but the Swans’ leaders in the middle, including Callum Mills (20) and Luke Parker (16), failed to have their usual impact as their team dropped to a 5-3 season record.
The Suns improved their impressive record at the SCG, now winning three of their past four matches against the Swans at the venue, and looked comfortable early as they built a 17-point lead at the main break.
They had an opportunity to take the contest away from Sydney early in the third term but inaccuracy in front of goal could only result in 1.5 as the scores were level at the last change.
An early final term goal to Levi Casboult restored the Suns’ lead but the Swans kept within touching distance until the veteran key forward booted his second to put the contest out of reach.
After consecutive losses at the SCG. the Swans will return to the venue again next Saturday night to take on Essendon, while the Suns will face an in-form Fremantle at Carrara Stadium.