The Fremantle Dockers bounced back from a poor display against the GWS Giants to end the Essendon Bombers run of four consecutive victories. The Dockers' return to winning form started slowly with Essendon leading for most of the first quarter. The Bombers started well by winning contested possessions and out-running the Dockers to create loose players. After four minutes of play the visitors had booted two goals. The first, courtesy of a clever chip kick out of a pack by Zach Merrett, was marked (caught) by Kyle Langford. Langford's set shot was accurate. Merrett was involved two minutes later when he intercepted a Docker handball to chip to Darcy Parish, who handballed to Jye Caldwell who slotted a running goal from just thirty meters. After an initial shock, the Dockers settled and were more competitive around the ball. Despite the pressure, the visitors still won more contested possessions but the Dockers were well served by their defenders. A free kick to Sam Switkowski for a high tackle resulted in the home team's first goal after eleven minutes of play.
The Essendon Bombers accounted for the West Coast Eagles in a match in which the Eagles recorded their ninth consecutive loss. The Eagles were more competitive than last week, but lacked the class of Essendon's forward entries. The Eagles made two more attacking forays than the Bombers but their delivery and goal kicking was poor. At the other end, Essendon were more efficient in attack and were far more accurate with their set shots at goal.
The Eagles began by applying good pressure in the midfield, but Zach Merrett and Mason Redman gained plenty of possessions for the Bombers and the run of Nic Martin gave the Bombers more opportunities. Within the first thirty seconds Jake Stringer had kicked to Kyle Langford who marked and goaled. The Don's next two goals came from snaps from Redmond and Archie Perkins. The Eagles didn't panic and kept to their game plan of using the ball across the field to spread play. At the fifteen-minute mark they moved the ball across the 50 meter arc to Oscar Allen who marked (caught the ball) and kicked truly from long range. Two minutes later a chain of passes out of defense ended with Allen booting his second. The quarter was then evenly balanced until Essendon scored the last goal, after Sam Draper laid a good tackle on Bailey Williams to win a free kick.
After the prematch activities celebrated indigenous Australian culture through ceremony and dance, the Tigers won the toss and play was underway. A big crowd was in, and the atmosphere was electric.
Rhyan Mansell, one of those in the game with indigenous heritage, appropriately kicked the first goal of the night as he was taken over the shoulder by Redman and he kicked the resulting goal. Sam Weideman responded, and went one better at the other end when quick kicks inside 50 saw Weideman interfered with twice in two minutes. On both occasions his kicks for goal were on target. Alwyn Davey Jr added a third for the Bombers
The West Coast Eagles ended a club record losing streak of nine consecutive losses by beating the Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium. It was the Eagles' first victory at their home stadium in eleven months and the lively home crowd enjoyed the ride in a game where the lead changed nine times. The Bombers pushed away to an early lead in the first quarter with Jake Stringer finding plenty of space and booting the first goal. The Eagles' first goal came three minutes later when they worked the ball out of defense to Josh Kennedy, who marked and kicked truly. From there the Bombers took control and produced three goals. The first, a good snap by Matt Guelfi from a stoppage near the goals. The second by Stringer after a turnover in the center and the third by Peter Wright after the Bombers had transitioned from defense. The Bombers were running and the Eagles had lead boots. The first quarter was played mostly in the Bombers' half of the ground. A rare change of play saw Jack Darling complete a clever one-handed mark (catch) and convert, which inspired the home team.
A dramatic change has taken place on the AFANA AFL Power Poll over the past weekend with some big results that could have a significant effect on the race for the 2019 premiership. After finally reaching number one on the back of a string of brilliant performances, the West Coast Eagles came crashing down to earth and have dropped all the way to fourth on our Power Poll after an unexpected loss at home to its 2018 premiership victim in Collingwood.
The Cats move back into the number one spot after a hard fought win against Saint Kilda, while a red hot Brisbane Lions move up to second after a road win full of merit against a frustrating Port Adelaide. Essendon needed a last gasp goal from their barometer in Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti to down the Kangaroos, Richmond overpowered an undermanned Greater Western Sydney and the Adelaide Crows smashed the Gold Coast Suns up at Metricon Stadium.
An extended round six kicked off with the unusual Wednesday night game that saw Richmond victorious by 43 points over the struggling Melbourne Demons. The Anzac Day battle between Collingwood and Essendon was a classic that ended with the Magpies hanging on to win by four points in controversial circumstances as the Bombers fell just short of pulling off a great comeback. Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Fremantle and the Giants took care of business as expected while Carlton almost pulled off back to back victories before succumbing by just five points to a frantic Hawthorn down in Tasmania.
The big movers on the AFANA AFL Power Poll this week were the Tigers and the Saints up four places each, while the Adelaide Crows fell four spots after a disastrous loss to the previously winless Kangaroos. Other notable happenings over another topsy-turvy round of footy were the Demons notching their first win for the season up in Sydney, while the previously unbeaten Cats were ambushed late by an impressive Giants outfit despite losing Callan Ward to a nasty knee injury in the first quarter.
Thursday night saw Geelong continue its early season dominance with a stirring win over Adelaide, the upstart Brisbane Lions stormed home to defeat the vastly improved Port Adelaide and the Grand Final replay saw the Eagles once again victorious over a disappointing Collingwood.
Highly fancied Melbourne are yet to register a win after faltering against Essendon, the much maligned Gold Coast Suns won again, and Richmond added a couple more players to its ever increasing injury list in a big loss to an impressive Greater Western Sydney Giants at Spotless Stadium.
After another top notch round of footy, Richmond holds onto top spot on the AFANA Power Poll as a result of its 47 point win over the Adelaide Crows, damaging the Crows chances of returning to finals football in 2018. Collingwood had to fight hard to defeat a determined Essendon, while the Swans stumbled at home against a very impressive Geelong.
Port Adelaide kept in touch with the top two after a comfortable win over Saint Kilda, the Eagles returned to the winners list in the “battle of the decimated forward lines” as they held off the Giants in Perth, and the Hawks solidified their run at the finals with a second half blitz to defeat the Bulldogs.
The Essendon Bombers completed a surprising and convincing demolition of the West Coast Eagles to knock the big birds from the top of the ladder. The fleet-footed Bomber midfielders tore the Eagles apart in the first half, and their work was finished with flair and panache by Jake Stringer and Devon Smith up forward.
The Eagles’ Nic Naitanui had a slight edge over the Bombers' Tom Bellchambers in the ruck but Essendon cleared the ball from congested areas more efficiently. Bellchambers also took a number of strong marks around the ground. The Bombers concentrated on exploiting the Eagles’ lack of midfield pace by giving their speed machines freedom to take on their slower opponents. Fittingly, the Bomber’s first goal was initiated by the pace of Adam Saad. Dashing from half-back, Saad weaved his way past four Eagles’