AFL 2020: Essendon v Bulldogs – Round Seven Knee Jerk Reaction

The Bulldogs were too strong for the Bombers on Friday night with Tim English going a long way to proving he is the next big thing.

Is Tim English the next big thing?

It’s been a tough initiation for Tim English, with the Bulldogs throwing the young ruckman in at the deep end in recent seasons. Along the way his youth and inexperience has been exploited by some of the big names in the competition but, based on his performance against Essendon, those days may soon be behind him.

Bulldogs Coach Luke Beveridge was understandable full of praise for his big man post match. “It’s definitely his best individual performance in his career,” Beveridge said post match. “For him to have a really dominant night, that’s exciting for our football club.” 

From the opening bounce of the game he threw his weight around with great effect. Providing silver service to his midfield, the Bulldogs took full advantage of first use of the ball. With a remarkable 203 ranking points for the match, as is the trait of the best ruckmen, English’s effect on this contest went beyond his hitout count.

One of the top disposal winners on the night, he led both teams for contested possessions. The most scary thing about this for opposition sides is the quality of his disposal. The 22 year old displays rare precision for a ruckman. Most importantly for the Bulldogs on Friday night he was able to impact the scoreboard too. He finished with one goal and a game high eight score involvements, having a big say on the final result.

We’ll leave the final say to his coach who was keen to suggest that this might only be the beginning for English. “Tonight, you know, it is probably a little bit of an awakening for him that he can have a significant impact on the game.” 

How the Game Was Won

After an even start which saw both teams trade goals in the opening term, the Bulldogs superior midfield depth was ultimately too much for the Bombers to handle. Unable to compete for the ball, Essendon’s scoring almost completely dried up after quarter time. After kicking three goals in the first term, they could manage just four more in the remaining three.

Despite this, they were able to hang in the contest until the half time with the margin just 13-points at the long break. Seven unanswered goal after the break ended the contest long before the final siren sounded. While Andrew McGrath, Adam Saad and Michael Hurley were brave for the Bombers they could not compete with the spread of the Bulldogs. English, Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore the standouts among a long list of quality performers for the winning team.

What the Coaches Said


The scoreboard might have suggested an even contest at half-time but John Worsfold believe his team’s problems started at the opening bounce. “Really was a disappointing game, not just second half. First half was pretty disappointing for us aswell where the Bulldogs were just too strong at the contest,” he told reporters post match.

He also called out his teams defensive efforts that contributed to the Bulldogs domination. “We didn’t put anywhere near enough pressure on them when they were winning that contested ball and allowed them to take it forward too easily. So they really dominated field position out of winning the contest and going forward,” he said.


Acknowledging the free flowing nature of the match, Luke Beveridge was proud of the way his team took the game on. “I imagine it would have been pretty exciting to watch at times with the transition from 50 to 50. It’s not the way you want to play at times but I am pretty happy with how bold we were at times, how quickly we used the footy and how we lengthened and transitioned,” he said.

After struggling to do so all season, he was also pleased with his teams ability to move the ball from coast to coast. “I think we kicked four goals from D50 through turnover which is really important,” he said. “Up until last week we hadn’t been able to kick a goal from kick in. We kicked three from kick ins tonight.

Pleased as he was with their performance, Beveridge still felt there was some work to do. “Plenty of room for improvement,” he told reporters. “We left some out there. We kicked out on the full early in the game so you can always improve. I felt like we fell away in the last quarter, maybe that’s a sign of our players being pretty fatigued but your always a bit fussy as a coach,” he said.

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ESSENDON                      3.3    4.3    4.6      7.9 (51)
WESTERN BULLDOGS    4.1    6.4    11.7    14.9 (93)

Essendon: Laverde 2, Hooker, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Smith, Snelling, Zaharakis
Western Bulldogs: Wallis 3, Suckling 2, Weightman 2, Bruce, Dale, English, Johannisen Lipinski, Richards, Vandermeer

Essendon: McGrath, Saad, Hurley, Parish
Western Bulldogs: English, Bontempelli, Liberatore, Macrae, Smith, Daniel

Essendon: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Nil

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