Essendon have just secured its third win of the season with a dominant 35-point upset over St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Thursday night.
With the clash honoring the life and legacy of St Kilda legend Danny Frawley, the two parties came together before the bounce as Nathan Burke and Tim Watson addressed the crowd to start conversations about breaking the stigma surrounding mental health.
“Let’s talk mental health to honor Spud.”
— AFL (@AFL) June 17, 2022
Brilliant individual performances were rare for Essendon in 2022, but there were several for Bombers fans to cheer for in round 14.
Peter Wright scored four goals in his 100th game, while Jake Stringer returned to form with 15 disposals and two majors in a game-changing performance.
Mason Redman also finished with 32 disposals and 11 halfback grabs in one of his best games of the season, and Dylan Shiel backed up last week’s performance with 25 touches.
On the other hand, according to Gerard Whateley, it was an “expensive, costly loss” for the Saints, with the club dropping to eighth place on the AFL ladder.
There was an optimism before the game that you don’t normally see for a club that had lost four games at the trot. Perhaps it was mid-season conscript Massimo D’Ambrosio who made his debut just weeks after joining the club as, like his side, he lived up to the hype with a stunning first half.
The Bombers went into the game with the fourth worst defense in the league and managed to keep the side sixth on the ladder to just 21 points in the first two quarters.
They did it through intensity and desperation in all facets of the game. AFL Nation analyst Gerard Healy noted that Ben Rutten’s troops were positioned better “than (he) has been seen in a long time”.
Gone were the scenes of Essendon players scratching their heads at reserve players coming out of the back; on Friday night, they made the Saints work for every score.
It prompted Healy to declare, “This is Essendon’s best defense attempt in probably two years.”
In the 1950s, 29-26 favored Essendon at halftime, demonstrating an improved effort from one of the most pressured six units in the league, as well as impressive efficiency from the Bombers attackers.
But the Saints weren’t doing themselves any favors without football coming out of a six-day break. When Matt Guelfi kicked home the fifth of the Bombers, it was despite several mistakes. However, the usually stingy Saints defense was unable to take advantage and allowed Guelfi to extend the lead.
“So much more daring in the Bombers tonight”
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) June 17, 2022
It was a memorable moment in the first half, but the difference could not have been greater as the ball bounced after the main break.
St Kilda got the first major through Rowan Marshall, and intentions were established early on as every saint on the ground passed over to the 26-year-old in celebration.
They would follow that with another four majors in a row to rectify the ledger for half of the third term, despite falling 28 points behind a few minutes earlier.
Rutten needed a leader to keep the ship by his side, and it was the man he called “poor” in Jake Stringer last week.
The former Bulldog had seven first-half disposals and had to shoot after a rough comeback in his first game last week through injury, and he really kicked from the outside 50 to regain the lead for the Bombers.
— AFL (@AFL) June 17, 2022
Stringer had two goals, nine disposals and gained 150 yards in his best quarter of the season yet in a performance former Demon Nathan Jones described as “menacing”. He was crucial in one of the strangest scoring worms of the season. After the first five goals of the season, Rutten’s men hit back hard at the next six and walked confidently into the three-quarter time.
It was right in the end, the Bombers did enough to take the sting out of the game when needed to comfortably secure victory.
Earlier this week, St Kilda was described as the “vulnerable” team in the top eight by Port Adelaide Hall of Famer Kane Cornes, and they remain one of five teams with 32 points from fifth to ninth on the AFL ladder. .
They will face Sydney twice, as well as Carlton, Fremantle, Geelong, Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs in what is a tough run home on paper, and could come out of the top eight next week if they lose again if the September race. heats up.
The win doesn’t do much for the materialistic side of the Bombers season, but there’s certainly more hope around The Hangar now than for much of the season.
St Kilda: 2.1, 3.3, 8.4, 11.6. (72)
Essendon: 4.5, 7.7, 13.11, 15.17. (107)
St Kilda: Gresham 3, Billings 2, Higgins 2, Ryder, Marshall, King, Long
Essendon: Wright 4, Stringer 2, Guelfi 2, Jones 2, Draper 2, Martin, Durham, Perkins
St Kilda: Billings, Hill, Ross, Gresham, Crouch
Essendon: Redman, Stringer, Shiel, Perkins, Hindi
St Kilda: N/A