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.
In the second quarter Williams, won more hitouts against Draper and the Eagles evened the clearances. Despite this, Essendon booted the first goal with a snap out of the pack by Will Snelling. Two minutes later Jack Petruccelle was caught high by Draper and converted his free kick to give the Eagles reward for effort. The game was played between the half back zones with both teams spreading the ball wide and across the ground when building attacks. West Coast played man-on-on man in defense which prevented Essendon from playing their preferred attacking style of chipping their way through the opposition's defense. The Bombers were forced into playing a more contested style of football, which didn't slow them down too much as they had the edge in contested possessions. The Bombers pulled away in the second half of the quarter with goals to Matt Guelfi and Jake Stringer.
The Eagles battled hard in the third quarter but again were let down by their work forward of the center. When the Bombers got the ball in defense they generally worked it well through chains of possession into attack. However, the Eagles defenders of Tom Barrass, Shannon Hurn, and Liam Duggan were up to the task and stopped the game from becoming a blowout. After seven minutes of play, Ben Hobbs booted the first goal of the quarter for the Bombers. The highlight of the quarter for the Eagles was Hurn booting the ball out of defense and then moving forward to take the next kick into attack, which was marked by Jake Waterman, who converted. For Essendon it was Kyle Langford booting two in succession to push his team into strong position.
The final quarter was more of the same. The Eagles tried hard but were outclassed by the Bombers. Essendon seemed content to play the ball across the ground rather than put the Eagles to the sword. It was a slow kill, with the Bombers adding another three goals for the quarter without really pressuring the Eagles. Both teams missed relatively easy set shots as fatigue set in, as a result of much of the game being played man-on-man. It was an unspectacular workman like win by Essendon. The Eagles might be mildly pleased with their improved effort, but that is about all they can take from the game.
Next week Essendon meet North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium and will get their chance to push into the top eight. The Eagles will remain at Optus Stadium where the Collingwood Magpies will plan to add to their misery. Already after 11 rounds the potential draft picks are hot topics for discussion among fans and journalists. The pressure on the Eagles coaching staff and administration will continue to build as long as no turnaround appears in sight.
Scores: West Coast Eagles: 2.3 4.5 5.9 6.10 (46) Essendon Bombers: 4.1 8.5 11.6 14.12 (96) Best West Coast Eagles: Duggan, Hunt, Kelly, Hurn, Allen Essendon Bombers: Martin, Merrett, Redman, Ridley, McGrath
Article last changed on Saturday, May 27, 2023 - 12:03 PM EDT