Bombers belt Saints - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers belt Saints

By Roger Vaughan 30/07/2010 11:22:19 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda's worrying recent form has continued following an upset 33-point AFL defeat to Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

The Bombers stunned St Kilda with a withering first term and used their superior run to maximum advantage to easily beat the Saints 16.12 (108) to 11.9 (75).

It was Essendon's third-straight win over St Kilda and all have been surprise results.

Veteran Dustin Fletcher was best afield with an outstanding performance in defence as he, Cale Hooker and Michael Hurley restricted Saints captain Nick Riewoldt, while Angus Monfries kicked four goals.

The Bombers set up arguably their best win of the season with an eight-goal blast from early in the first term to the start of the second.

St Kilda will retain third spot regardless of other results this weekend, but alarm bells are ringing only a month out from the finals.

Their past three weeks have resulted in a big loss to Collingwood, a fortunate draw against Hawthorn and now an upset defeat to a side comfortably in the bottom half of the ladder.

As good as Essendon were, everything went wrong for the Saints - they made too many basic skill errors and the run of the umpiring decisions was against them.

Essendon kicked the first three goals of the third term to extend their advantage to a game-high 58 points after leading by 37 at halftime.

The Saints then goaled twice before three-quarter time - the first time in the match they had managed consecutive goals.

But Essendon quickly replied to kill off any hint of an unlikely St Kilda comeback.

Five weeks out from the finals, the likely top-four finishers were expected to flex their considerable muscle at Essendon's expense.

The Bombers broke a six-game losing streak last week with a narrow win over North Melbourne.

But it seemed as if the Bombers took a leaf out of Carlton's book in round seven, when the Blues beat St Kilda by 61 points.

Like Carlton, Essendon ran St Kilda off their feet early and split open their defence.

Fletcher must have licked his lips when he learned his match-up would be Saints first-gamer Tom Lynch.

He was able to marshall the Essendon defence at will and while Riewoldt continues to show promising sign in his comeback from hamstring surgery, the Bombers sometimes tripled-team him.

There were still some problems with the controversial Etihad Stadium surface, but it was nowhere near as bad as the St Kilda-Hawthorn match a week ago.

Typifying Essendon's night, Sam Lonergan and Alwyn Davey made fearless attacks on the ball late in the game, despite the fact that the game was effectively over.

Davey might have paid a price for his effort seconds before the final siren as he hobbled off with an injury to his lower leg.

Bombers coach Matthew Knights agreed it was perhaps his side's best win of the year.

"Setting the agenda and setting the tone of the game, we did that right from the start and probably didn't give St Kilda a look in after that seven-goal first quarter," Knights said.

"It's been good to bounce back in the last couple of weeks and have a couple of wins." Saints coach Ross Lyon was scathing of his team and said they would start their review of the match before leaving the stadium.

"They looked like they were a top-four team, we looked like we're 14th," he said.

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