Late burst seals win for AFL Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Late burst seals win for AFL Bombers

By Greg Buckle 28/08/2011 09:25:55 PM Comments (0)

Essendon narrowly avoided an embarrassing loss to bottom side Port Adelaide on Sunday as the Bombers produced a late burst of seven goals to seal a seven-point win.

The eighth-placed Bombers were down by 34 points seven minutes into the final term of their AFL round-23 clash at Etihad Stadium.

But the home side booted seven goals in 14 minutes to snatch back the lead and eventually win 17.18 (120) to Port's 17.11 (113).

It was Essendon's first win over Port in seven matches and was sparked by ruckman David Hille and onballer Jobe Watson who drew praise from Port coach Matt Primus.

Bombers coach James Hird in turn praised the tactical work of Primus.

"Fortunately for us at the end we were able to steal a victory," said Hird, who has guided his side to six wins in their past nine matches.

Essendon have the bye in the last round but Hird played down any suggestion the Bombers would be rusty going into an elimination final.

"It's absolutely perfect. Our boys are tired," Hird said.

Defender Dustin Fletcher, 36, was rested on Sunday with a minor ankle injury and is one player in particular who'll enjoy having next week off, Hird said.

"They've had a massive year and I think a week off will do them a lot of good," Hird said.

"We thought at the start of the year it was going to be a real positive for us if we could make the finals to have that week off.

"I still think that. In two weeks' time I might not.

"But at the moment I think it's a really good thing for our players. They get a bit of the pressure taken off them for a week where they can really recover well."

Michael Hurley booted four goals for the Bombers while Robbie Gray kicked six for Port and third-gamer John Butcher contributed four.

Leading by 16 points at three-quarter time, Port slammed on three goals in the opening seven minutes of the final term to seemingly ice the game.

But the Bombers surged back into the contest with a superior display at the stoppages to string together seven goals before Port responded with a late goal with 83 seconds remaining.

Port host 12th-placed Melbourne at Adelaide Oval next Sunday and Primus is confident his side can finish their season with a third win and hand Gold Coast the wooden spoon.

"We are all disappointed with the result today. But at least they can hold their heads up," Primus said.

"They showed some effort which is what has been lacking over the last month.

"They (Essendon) just totally dominated us at the stoppage. Hille and Watson were significant in the last quarter.

"We stopped winning the ball inside and then we got really exposed outside.

"In the last 15 minutes they were able to over-run us with handball-receives, their run and carry.

"We've had a pretty tough last month, everyone involved in the footy club has.

"We took a lot of positives out of the way we played today."

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