Bombers hold off fast-finishing Dockers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers hold off fast-finishing Dockers

By Justin Chadwick 29/06/2008 09:53:40 PM Comments (0)

With less than a minute remaining, the Bombers up by four points and the ball deep inside the Dockers' forward 50, Essendon's Adam McPhee and Fremantle's Byron Schammer typified what the game of AFL football is all about.

The pair threw any consideration of personal safety out the window and raced full tilt towards a loose ball.

The result - two breathless players writhing in pain.

It was a contest that capped a fine match, which the Bombers held on to win 14.11 (95) to 13.13 (91).

"What do you say after playing 99 per cent of the game and then you get two individuals who run at the ball like they do," Essendon coach Matthew Knights said.

"It's amazing. That's why it's such a great game. That players can commit themselves to contests like that.

"Similar to last week when Judd and Lloyd clashed - fair, hard. Both hit the deck, both got up.

"From our perspective I'm really proud of Adam to commit himself like that ... he's a very courageous player."

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey was equally proud of Schammer.

"In the end it will be moments like that that will lift the team over the line," Harvey said.

"You've just got to continue to do those things."

Essendon looked on course for a comfortable victory when they shot out to a 24-point lead early in the final quarter, but a Matthew Pavlich-inspired comeback, during which the Dockers skipper booted three goals, saw the home side close the gap to four points with 83 seconds remaining on the clock.

But the Dockers, reduced to just one fit man on the bench, couldn't find the winning goal despite launching countless attacks.

It was a gutsy performance by Fremantle, who lost Roger Hayden and Ryley Dunn to first-half hamstring injuries and were dealt a further blow when Ryan Crowley was rushed to hospital during the third quarter with a suspected punctured lung.

Essendon were also hit by injury, defender Dustin Fletcher suffering a suspected broken hand in the second quarter.

Bombers midfielder Mark McVeigh finished with 36 possessions and a goal, while Brent Stanton (two goals), Jobe Watson, Nathan Lovett-Murray and Leroy Jetta were also crucial in Essendon's third win on the trot, lifting the club to within two wins of the top eight.

Pavlich was superb for the Dockers with a six-goal haul, taking his season tally to 53, while Aaron Sandilands (45 hit-outs) was unstoppable in the ruck.

But their fine contributions couldn't save Fremantle from their 12th loss of the season, six of them by fewer than ten points.

"It hurts and I said to the players it's got to hurt," Harvey said.

"It's got to hurt the fact we are continually losing those games by a small margin, and you can never accept that."

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