Essendon edge out Blues by 16 points - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Essendon edge out Blues by 16 points

By Adam Cooper 06/04/2008 12:24:02 AM Comments (0)

Essendon have withstood the collective might of Carlton's big trio to beat the Blues by 16 points at the MCG.

The Bombers were on the wrong end of a nine-goal, third-quarter blitz as Carlton's Brendan Fevola (eight goals) combined brilliantly with star onballers Chris Judd and Nick Stevens.

But they kept their composure and strung together seven goals either side of the final change, which set up the 23.12 (150) to 21.8 (134) win and condemned Carlton to their equal-worst losing streak of 14 successive defeats.

Carlton have not won a game since round 11 last year and their losing streak is equal to that of the one spanning the 1901-02 seasons.

Essendon captain Matthew Lloyd rose when his side needed him to boot four second-half goals, while Mark McVeigh capped an excellent game with four, including the first of the final quarter when he dragged Judd away from the action.

Fevola kicked five goals in the third quarter and looked set to steer Carlton to a second-half comeback win over Essendon, just as he did with eight goals in round three 2007.

With Judd and Stevens also rampant in that quarter, Carlton charged from 17 points down to go 13 points up late in the quarter.

But Lloyd dobbed a magnificent long goal and then Adam McPhee kicked truly after the three-quarter time siren to bring the Dons within one point and set up a great finish for a big crowd of 64,388.

The Bombers kept coming in the final term by kicking the opening five goals.

Carlton then drew within 17 points with enough time left, but McVeigh's long bomb sealed a great win for the Bombers, who have won two of their three games.

McVeigh starred throughout the night, as he gathered 26 disposals and was moved on to Judd after Damien Peverill found the Blues skipper too dominant.

Although the game was decided well before the final siren, it continued a run of epic contests between the rivals, who also fought out a draw and three other games decided by 10 points or less within the past three years.

Other good Essendon players included McPhee at centre half-forward, key defender Patrick Ryder, speedster Jason Winderlich.

Andrew Lovett also produced two electrifying goals with his pace and bounce, the first of which was the highlight of a 20-goal first half between the sides.

Judd had 32 disposals for Carlton and Stevens 26, while Fevola's excellent game also included three set shots which hit the post.

Other good Blues were small forward Eddie Betts, half-back Ryan Houlihan and No.1 draft pick Matthew Kreuzer, who kicked two goals in his debut between stints in the ruck and the forward line.

Essendon coach Matthew Knights said the win gave the Bombers an encouraging start to the season after a good win over North Melbourne and a pasting by Geelong.

"We knew coming here tonight Carlton were going to be hugely formidable," he said.

"Chris Judd and Nick Stevens, those sort of guys are getting fitter by the week, so I said to the guys it's a good reward after three rounds to be two and one.

Knights was pleased with the composure his side showed and said McPhee was a strong target and McVeigh a significant midfielder.

But he was disappointed Carlton's onballers constantly broke Essendon tackles.

"We were very ordinary defensively and that's something we're really going to have to work on as a group, to make sure we're better with our defensive actions so we put a lot more pressure on," he said.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten said the Blues conceded too many easy goals and lamented that things might have been different had the Bombers not scored twice late in the third term.

"Just under three minutes to go we were (13) points up and you go in one point up that can be demoralising for a team," he said.

"Young players need to grab their chance and hang on and if we'd gone in (13) points up, it might have been a different mentality going into the last quarter for Essendon and for us."

Ratten said Carlton were not concerned by their losing streak, but admitted he had contemplated trying to slow the game, but didn't.

"You think 'We've got our nose in front, do you keep that momentum going or do you try to change the whole complex of the game by getting players behind the ball or slowing it down?'," he said.

"I thought we were shooting it out with them and keep our nose in front and (could) kick a big enough score but probably got it wrong."

Ratten hailed Kreuzer's debut as outstanding for his tap work and competitiveness once the ball hit the ground.

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