Bombers, Magpies struggle in AFL clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers, Magpies struggle in AFL clash

By Roger Vaughan 25/04/2005 09:29:32 PM Comments (0)

The dire predictions of a nil-all draw were given plenty of credibility as Essendon ground out a 14-point AFL win over Collingwood.

Only the atmosphere and a capacity crowd of more than 70,000 justified the status of the annual Anzac Day match as the highlight of the season outside the finals.

Essendon was 11th on the ladder and Collingwood 14th after the Bombers won 11.17 (83) to 10.9 (69) - and going on Monday's efforts, that will be their neighbourhood for the season.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse sent the support staff away at three-quarter time, sat his players down like schoolboys and gave them an old-fashioned "spray".

The promising skills of Anzac Medallist Andrew Lovett, his Essendon teammate Jason Laycock and Collingwood debutant Travis Cloke were rare highlights in a game riddled with skill errors on a perfect autumn afternoon.

Essendon also faces an anxious week, with captain James Hird and utility Mark Johnson on report for charging.

Hird, one of Essendon's best, was suspended in 2002 for striking.

"We've got to improve. We didn't play that well today, to be honest," said Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy.

Malthouse refused to comment on what he said to his players at three-quarter time, but he was clearly furious and his mood had not lightened after the game.

"To play like we did, I'm very disappointed and I know the players are disappointed," he said.

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