Are Essendon a contender?
At 3-1 with a game in hand, the Bombers are just a Liam Jones header away from being one of the last two undefeated teams standing in 2020. Now with a victory over a top side, after beating Collingwood, should they be considered a genuine contender for the top prize this season?
The problem with jumping to this conclusion is Collingwood’s form post restart and just how recently the Bombers were outplayed by the Blues. Apart from their dismantling of an overawed St Kilda, Collingwood has not set the world on fire which raises questions as to the value of a victory against them. Then while the Bombers nearly pinched the points against the Blues, they still fell short.
Perhaps, it is the uncertainty surrounding the top teams that actually makes the Bombers contenders. After years of knowing the premiership can only being won by four or five teams, perhaps the 2020 flag is open to a much larger field.
How the Game Was Won
Falling behind early in the wake of a Magpie blitz, Essendon had to dig deep to turn the game around. After conceding the first three goals of the match, the Bombers slammed home the next eight to take control of the contest before hanging on desperately as Collingwood made a final quarter charge.
Played in wet conditions, Jake Stringer was influential for the winners with three goals before succumbing to injury. Among the best for Collingwood was Adam Trelor, in his first game of the season, who collected 30-possessions for the night.
What the Coaches Said
A proud John Worsfold was particularly happy with the win given the quality of the opposition. “We were playing a very good team tonight, we know that,” he told reporters post match. “To get a win against them is full credit to the way everybody focused on the week and got ourselves prepared and delivered on how we wanted to play.
Nathan Buckley also devoted time post match to praising his opponent. “The opposition brought more energy than we did,” he told reporters. “They out tackled us, they outworked us inside and they generally gave their backs more time and put our backs under more pressure. We lost the arm-wrestle for the majority of the match and we were on the backfoot, didn’t have the momentum for much of the game. When we have it we looked alright,” he said.
COLLINGWOOD 3.0 3.1 3.5 7.6 (48)
ESSENDON 3.0 5.0 8.2 10.3 (63)
Collingwood: Stephenson 3, Brown, Daicos, Mihocek, Varcoe
Essendon: Stringer 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, McKernan, Parish, Shiel, Townsend, Zaharakis
Collingwood: Treloar, Maynard, Daicos, Stephenson, Pendlebury
Essendon: Shiel, Hurley, McGrath, Stringer, Ridley, Hooker
Essendon: Stringer (ankle)