First term sets up Essendon win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

First term sets up Essendon win

By Roger Vaughan 01/04/2006 10:34:31 PM Comments (0)

Essendon's stunning first quarter was the difference on Saturday night as the bombers beat Sydney by 27 points in their round-one AFL match at Telstra Dome.

The premiers recovered from their poor start to heap the pressure on the Bombers, but could never quite narrow the gap as Essendon steadied in the last quarter to win 17.6 (108) to 12.9 (81).

New captain Matthew Lloyd kicked eight goals - six of them in the frenetic opening term as his side piled on nine goals to two for a 41-point lead at the first break.

New Swans co-captain Barry Hall was equally destructive up the other end with seven goals and former Brownlow medallist Adam Goodes was also awesome for Sydney.

Displaying the strongest trait of last year's unlikely premiership campaign, Sydney never gave up and trailed by only 17 points late in the third term.

Even when Essendon kicked the opening three goals of the last term, the Swans persisted and mounted a final charge.

Hall's impossible snap somehow eluded full-back Dustin Fletcher - the only mistake the big Essendon defender made all night - and Sydney was again only 23 points behind.

But Lloyd's successful snap at 21 minutes ensured his side would open the new season with a win.

Bombers centre half-forward Scott Lucas kicked two vital goals in the last term and four for the match, while ruckman David Hille also had a strong game.

Essendon played Sydney twice in the pre-season and has a 3-0 record this year against the AFL champion.

After Essendon's storming first term, it was Sydney's turn to dominate as it kicked six goals to two and reduced the margin to 17 at halftime.

Fifteen of the 19 first-half goals were kicked at the Lockett, or northern end.

Sydney started its premiership defence with a goal through Michael O'Loughlin in the opening minute but Essendon kicked the next eight for a seven-goal lead.

After the Swans kicked a badly-needed goal, former Carlton midfielder Scott Camporeale kicked a goal on the quarter-time siren.

Essendon benefited from a series of curious umpiring decisions through the first half in range of its posts.

Hall appeared in distress at the quarter-time break, but he showed no ill effects in the second term as he kicked four.

The Sydney midfield was much tighter after quarter-time and Lloyd was frequently forced to play further up the ground, meaning Essendon often lacked a target inside 50m.

James Hird, who injured his calf muscle during the week, was a late withdrawal from the Essendon side.

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