Essendon have arrested their worrying form slump and broken through for their first win of the season after beating Melbourne by 18 points at the MCG last night, ensuring the highly fancied Demons remain winless after three rounds.
In a game of wild momentum swings, the Dons jumped to a 23-point lead early in the second term, before Melbourne piled on six consecutive goals to open up a 13-point advantage in the shadows of half-time.
However, Essendon responded with the next eight majors in a stunning 23-minute burst and were never meaningfully challenged again as they ran out 20.10 (130) to 18.4 (112) victors.
Melbourne headed into 2019 as one of the premiership favourites, but now they have a huge fight on their hands just to make the finals considering only seven teams have come back from an 0-3 win-loss record and made the finals in the 25 years of the top-eight era.
The lethargy, lack of effort, lack of care, horrid skill level and basic lack of pride in the jumper that marred the early part of Essendons season was replaced with the tenacity, speed, skill, pressure and ferocity which epitomised the final three months of their 2018 campaign.
After only managing five goals and nine goals in their first two games respectively, the Bombers broke the shackles in the first quarter with six majors, including freakish efforts from Jake Stringer (twice), Shaun McKernan and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
Five minutes after roving the pack and snapping truly with magnificent agility, Stringer unloaded with precision from 52 metres on the boundary. McKernans checkside punt from an acute threaded the needle while McDonald-Tipungwuti sold some candy to Christian Salem and Neville Jetta before snapping truly from an equally tough angle.
You got the feeling it was Essendons night and when Stringer and McDonald-Tipungwuti repeated the dose in the third term with a superb 40m bomb and a three-bounce running effort respectively, Essendons tails were up and the contest was only ever going to end one way.
Melbournes defensive 50 was disorganised for most of the night and allowed easy goals for Essendon players who were able to get goal side. McDonald-Tipungwuti (four), McKernan (four) and Stringer (four) cashed in as they combined for 12 goals.
DONS LEADERS SHINE
Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett and Orazio Fantasia were the only members of the Bombers under-fire leadership group who played on Friday night and all stood up in their own way after coming in for criticism during the week.
Heppell, who registered 27 disposals (14 contested), five clearances and five tackles, copped a massive hit on the members wing during the third quarter, but rather than feel sorry for himself and stay lying on the ground, the skipper immediately started the chain of possessions which led to McDonald-Tipungwutis third goal that gave Essendon back the lead.
Merrett, who coRead More – Source