North Melbourne has notched an impressive 11-point win on Friday night, dismissing several spirited Essendon comebacks at Docklands.
SCOREBOARD: ESS v NM
|at Docklands, May 15 2015|
| Essendon: Ambrose, Colyer, Watson 2, Merrett, Bellchambers, Daniher, Heppell, Melksham, Goddard|
North Melbourne: Ziebell, Waite, Petrie, Thomas 2, Cunnington, Gibson, Higgins, Harvey, Nahas
Resilience has been the Bombers’ refrain this week following the World Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to appeal not-guilty verdicts reached by the AFL’s anti-doping tribunal.
Coach James Hird and captain Jobe Watson declared the players would find a way to ignore the impending WADA wait and instead focus on the Kangaroos.
The Bombers were overwhelmed and outclassed at times during an eventful match, but always found a way to fight back.
Ben Brown injured his knee in the third term, while fellow North forward Jarrad Waite was reported for striking Zach Merrett.
Both sides suffered due to inconsistent umpiring, however it was the Bombers’ inability to find targets in their forward line that proved decisive in the Roos’ 13.15 (93) to 12.10 (82) victory.
Defender Lachie Hansen benefited the most and was among the best-on-ground contenders, grabbing 14 marks.
However, there could be no faulting Essendon’s endeavour.
The Dons started brightly, booting the opening three goals thanks to Watson, Dyson Heppell and Travis Colyer.
North were plagued by the yips early, but steadied in style during the second quarter.
Drew Petrie, who finished with two goals, started a run of five consecutive goals from the Kangaroos.
It took a final-minute goal from Brendon Goddard, who had erred moments earlier, to cut North’s lead to 12 points at half-time.
The ebb and flow continued in the third quarter, when Joe Daniher and Lindsay Thomas clutched spectacular marks but missed the straightforward shots that followed.
The Bombers regained the lead shortly after halftime, but coughed it up to trail by nine points at the final break.
Again there was a burst from the Bombers.
Patrick Ambrose bridged the gap to just five points with his second goal of the game, but it was as close as his side would get.
Shaun Higgins booted the match-winner with three and a half minutes remaining, steering home a difficult set shot to silence the crowd of 43,972.
Aside from Hansen, Jack Ziebell and Petrie both starred and lifted when the game was on the line late.