Eagles down gallant Essendon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles down gallant Essendon

By James Dampney 10/06/2005 11:28:29 PM Comments (0)

West Coast survived a spirited challenge from Essendon to retain its undefeated AFL home record in 2005 with a 24-point win in atrocious conditions at Subiaco Oval.

The Bombers were massive underdogs entering the game coming off a thrashing against the Crows in Adelaide and facing an Eagles outfit that had lost just once in 2005.

Essendon's cause wasn't helped when fullback Dustin Fletcher was ruled out prior to the opening bounce with an ankle injury.

The valiant Bombers held a three-point lead midway through the final term, but late goals to Phil Matera, Andrew Embley and Brent Staker stole victory for the home side 15.16 (106) to 12.10 (82).

Most had predicted appalling conditions in Perth all week would work in Essendon's favour and that proved the case in a dour opening term.

With the rain teeming down the Bombers controlled the term, kicking three goals to two.

Despite the absence of Fletcher in the Bombers' backline, the Eagles struggled to find any space inside their forward 50m.

Essendon's lack of pace was considered its Achilles heel against West Coast's jet-fuelled midfield, but the visitors were hungrier for the ball in the early exchanges.

The home crowd has been spoilt in recent times, with West Coast unbeaten in its past 15 games at Subiaco Oval.

But if the bumper crowd thought the first term was an aberration, the situation became worse early in the second when the Bombers kicked the opening two goals to stretch their lead to 19 points.

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