Essendon is good, but Eagles are better - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Essendon is good, but Eagles are better

By Roger Vaughan 21/05/2006 08:04:34 PM Comments (0)

Essendon will gain some encouragement from its 21-point AFL loss to West Coast, but ultimately the match demonstrated much more about the Eagles.

West Coast took top spot and Essendon stayed a game clear at the bottom as the Eagles kicked 6.8 to 2.1 in the last term at Telstra Dome to win 16.17 (113) to 14.8 (92).

Essendon lost seven in a row for the first time in Kevin Sheedy's 26-year reign at Windy Hill, on the day he reached 850 games as a player and coach.

The Eagles first absorbed some fierce physical pressure from Essendon, steadied when the Bombers threatened to take control in the third term and then displayed their class with an exclamation mark of a final quarter.

"Today is one (game) that I think 'we can play a lot better than that', but I also think with some of the situations we found ourselves in, it was a great win," said West Coast John Worsfold.

When asked to specify the situations, Worsfold explained: "Behind on the scoreboard, having some situations where frustration could have crept in and we could have lost our focus, but kept it, some players having a bit of a quiet day, but then really fighting back when it counted and not just wiping the day off."

In his 100th game, captain Chris Judd "only" had 20 touches after three outstanding games, falling victim to a strong tagging job from Mark McVeigh.

Ben Cousins, Daniel Kerr and Daniel Chick also suffered some heavy hits and the match review panel will have plenty to look at.

But Cousins still had 26 touches and was pivotal in the last term, while Chick starred with five goals.

Judd lost his cool late in the second term, sparking a mass wrestle, and spoke to the umpires either side of the final change after three 50m penalties in the third term resulted in Essendon goals.

The Bombers trailed by a point at halftime after kicking the last two goals of the half and there were more scuffles before the two teams left the field.

The body language of the two teams seemed telling - Essendon ran off, West Coast trudged.

But at halftime and three-quarter time, when trailing by 10 points, the Eagles were able to rally.

"Our focus was on playing our footy and we stuck with that all the way through, at halftime and three-quarter time," Worsfold said.

With Judd struggling and Cousins looking battered at times, West Coast's second-stringers were impressive, particularly Michael Braun, Adam Selwood, Quinten Lynch, Andrew Embley, Tyson Stenglein and Ashley Hansen.

Sheedy was pleased with his team's performance for the opening three quarters and conceded the Bombers are probably unable for now to match a side such as the Eagles for the whole game.

"We were probably lucky to get beaten by 2.9, but I thought in the first quarter we could have kicked more goals," he said.

Indeed, while Chick and Lynch were reliable at the other end, Essendon's much-maligned key forward Courtney Johns often failed to make the most of his chances.

But after four games he finally managed to kick his first AFL goal.

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