Roos jump Bombers in AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roos jump Bombers in AFL

By Roger Vaughan 13/06/2003 10:32:15 PM Comments (0)

The Kangaroos have shone again under pressure, beating Essendon by eight points in an AFL classic at Telstra Dome.

Trailing by 11 points midway through the last term, the Kangaroos kicked three goals in as many minutes to steal the initiative and held on to win 14.12 (96) to 13.10 (88).

Essendon's season is now on the line heading into the break, with the Bombers on five wins and seven losses, while the Kangaroos improved to 7-4-1.

There was speculation the Kangaroos might be flat after last Friday night's emotional win for Bali bombing survivor Jason McCartney, but if anything they were more tenacious.

It was the third-straight week the Kangaroos had won a heart-stopper, beating Richmond by three points a week ago and coming from behind the week before against the Western Bulldogs.

Midfielders Adam Simpson and Brent Harvey set up the win, while fearsome vice-captain Glenn Archer was superb in defence with his body work and intelligent use of the ball.

Matthew Lloyd kicked five goals for Essendon, while Dean Rioli worked hard in the midfield and Mark Johnson made up for some bad errors in the first half by sparking Essendon's third-term fightback.

Rioli could find himself at the tribunal next week after a down-the-ground camera caught an incident off the ball in the third term where Simpson went to ground.

Leading at half-time by three points, the Kangaroos kicked the first goal of the third term and looked ready to break the game open.

But Essendon kicked the next three goals to steal the advantage.

The Bombers could have further hurt the Kangaroos, but two gettable shots at goal went through for behinds.

Kangaroos hardman Glenn Archer and team-mate Corey Jones cleaned up Essendon defender Danny Jacobs in a marking contest.

Late in the quarter, Essendon took a nine-point lead after Adam McPhee marked and a controversial 50m penalty was awarded against Archer, putting the Bomber within range.

But the Kangaroos hit back after the siren as Jess Sinclair marked and goaled from a tight angle, despite several Essendon players trying to distract him by forming a line alongside his run-up.

Essendon full-back Dustin Fletcher looked scratchy after six weeks out, while there was a big cheer for midfielder Adam Ramanauskas when he entered the game in the first term.

It was Ramanauskas' first game in nine weeks after needing surgery to remove a benign tumour from his shoulder and he did some good work in the midfield.

Kangaroos coach Dean Laidley called a 6.30am training session last Tuesday morning to ensure no momentum was lost from the McCartney match.

"That would have gotten them back into line pretty quickly," he said.

While Laidley was impressed, particularly with his younger players, he said the Kangaroos overused the ball at times and let Essendon back into the game during the third term.

"When our workrate was up and we got hold of the footy, we were okay," he said.

"We were so wasteful at times, pretty dumb how we used the footy."

Laidley also refused to buy any more into the much-talked about "Shinboner Spirit" which characterises his club.

"All that's fantastic, but all we look at is the win-loss stuff," he said.

Laidley added Archer's play, particularly in defence, "brought a smile to my face".

Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy refused to put any blame on his players for errors, such as Mark Johnson's costly turnover in the second term or David Hille's two vital misses when kicking for goal in the last term.

He also remained confident Essendon could be a finals contender.

"We owe it to our fans to pick our best side to win the game week in, week out," he said.

"It's not as if it's an impossible task for us to make the finals, I know a lot of people will say it will be.

"We're not that far out of the ballpark.

"We will probably have the best (fit) list coming back off the break....since 2000."

The biggest gain from injury after the break for the Bombers will be captain James Hird.

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