Demons honour mate with big win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demons honour mate with big win

By Chris Lines 26/03/2005 10:06:00 PM Comments (0)

A superb defensive display gave Melbourne an easy round one AFL win over a disjointed Essendon at the MCG, closing the book on an off-season of grief for the Demons.

In a match preceded by tributes to teammate Troy Broadbridge, who was killed in the Boxing Day tsunami, Melbourne dominated Essendon after quarter-time to win 15.13 (103) to 8.9 (57).

The win was revenge for the narrow elimination final loss last season, and clawed back some ground on the Bombers' dominance in recent head-to-head contests.

But such rivalry would only occupy the back of Melbourne's players and fans' minds, with Broadbridge - who played his best game in that elimination final loss - occupying the front as well as their left arms, where all wore armbands incorporating the former teammate's No.20.

They walked off the ground arm-in-arm and all delivered kisses and hugs to Broadbridge's widow Trisha, who met them at the top of the race.

Before the game, coach Neale Daniher had been uncertain how his players would respond to the Broadbridge tribute, with the tragedy having weighed down the club for the past three months.

After an even first quarter, his mind would have been at ease as his troops ran Essendon ragged.

Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy had been publicly agitated by the growing army of critics who felt the Dons would struggle in 2005, but on Saturday's evidence those sceptics may be proven right.

The Bombers could find no way past an impressively resolute Demon backline, where reigning Rising Star Jared Rivers and stand-in fullback Ryan Ferguson repelled the majority of Essendon's entries to the forward 50.

The Demons, having trailed by two points at the first break, played the best football of the match in the second quarter to seize a 20-point advantage at halftime.

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