Bombers' charge makes Magpies' win sweet - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers' charge makes Magpies' win sweet

Sam Lienert 25/04/2011 07:42:26 PM Comments (0)

Essendon's spirited challenge made victory sweeter and more valuable for Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse in his last Anzac Day AFL blockbuster in charge.

The reigning premiers started and finished stronger to win 16.11 (107) to 11.11 (77) in front of 89,626 spectators at the MCG to remain undefeated.

But while the Magpies again proved themselves the AFL's standout side, the Bombers, who have already had big wins over the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda this season, showed they are a fast-rising challenger.

Goal-less and trailing by 29 points when Anzac Medallist Scott Pendlebury kicked his second goal early in the second quarter, the Bombers clawed back to within a point in the third quarter and again to within two points early in the last.

"We know what it means to the Essendon side to probably try their arm against us, so they were always going to come and they were going to come pretty hard," Malthouse said.

Collingwood booted six of the last eight goals to quell the uprising, three of those coming to Travis Cloke, who had not kicked any in the first three quarters.

It was the way they answered the challenge that most satisfied Malthouse.

"We ground out passages of eight to 10 minutes basically in their half and that's a great lesson for us," he said.

"It's a great opportunity for us to be stretched and extended and find out a bit more about our playing group."

But there was plenty to like for the Bombers.

Most notable was a superb game from first-year player Dyson Heppell off halfback, a four-goal haul to elevated rookie-lister Stewart Crameri, a telling contribution from small forward Leroy Jetta and a solid performance from young ruckman Tom Bellchambers.

Most of Collingwood's team on Monday already have a premiership medal as testament to their ability to stand up in big games, with Leon Davis, Chris Tarrant and Brad Dick the three exceptions.

While substitute Dick had little chance to make an impact, Davis and Tarrant were excellent in defence, Malthouse nominating reinvented goalsneak Davis as Pendlebury's closest rival for best afield.

Essendon coach James Hird said it was Collingwood's consistency at winning the contested ball that proved the difference.

"At times we competed with them, but there were enough times through the game where we didn't, and that ended up costing us the game," Hird said.

"Early we were a little bit stiff to be where we were, but in the end I think it was 11 clearances they beat us by in the last quarter, which just shows the difference in the teams."

Pendlebury had an equal game-high eight clearances - level with teammate Dane Swan - among his 34 touches and three goals.

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