Jake Carlisle played a starring role with eight goals as Essendon came from behind in the last quarter to beat the Western Bulldogs by seven points on Sunday.
The Bombers won 15.11 (101) to 14.10 (94) before a crowd of 34,476 at Etihad Stadium to move to a 10-7 record and strengthen their position in the AFL’s top eight.
The Bulldogs faded in the final term, kicking two goals to Essendon’s five, after the Bulldogs had led by 13 points at three-quarter-time.
The Wayne Carey-mentored Carlisle’s career-best eight goals came a week after his career-best 19 marks and 26 possessions in last week’s win over Collingwood.
Carlisle had 12 marks and 19 possessions against the Bulldogs.
“He’s proven he’s a good defender and how he’s proven he’s a good forward,” Carey said on Triple M Radio on Sunday.
“Now I think he’s reading the game better. He’s finding himself in much better positions.”
Jake Stringer also notched a career-best tally of goals, kicking five for the Bulldogs.
Ruck/forward Patrick Ryder and midfielder Dyson Heppell were busy for the Bombers while Jack Macrae and Ryan Griffen were dominant in midfield for the Bulldogs.
Carlisle booted four of Essendon’s seven first-half goals but it was the Bulldogs who held a seven-point advantage at halftime, 8.6 (54) to 7.5 (47).
At the other end Stringer was also a constant threat, kicking two of the home side’s four goals in the third term as the Bulldogs extended their lead to 13 points at three-quarter time, 12.8 (80) to 10.7 (67).
Stringer’s fifth goal early in the final term handed the Bulldogs a 20-point buffer, but the Bombers hit back with four consecutive goals to lead by six points at the 18-minute mark.
The Bulldogs’ Marcus Bontempelli, 18, took a strong grab and his goal from close range levelled the scores two minutes later.
Jason Winderlich’s important mark and goal at the 24-minute mark was the last score of the game, as the Bombers held on for an exciting win.
Key forward Joe Daniher was a late withdrawal from Essendon’s selected side with a shoulder injury.
Both sides have next weekend off as part of the split round.