Switched on Dons too smart for Swans

Essendon have defeated the Sydney Swans by 7 points at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. With the disrupted AFL season resuming after the COVID-19 shut down and strict safety procedures put into place, Essendon resumed their season in fine style. Their first quarter effort went a long way into securing the win. Jake Stringer and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti were superb in the Bomber forward line with both kicking two goals in the first term. McDonald-Tipungwuti secured one of his goals with a magnificent run down tackle, whilst Stringer took a solid pack mark with one of his two goals for the term. Sydney were able to pull themselves back in the game via goals from Nick Blakey and Tom McCartin.

Nick Blakey (with ball) kicked Sydney’s first goal of the match. Photo: Jodie Newell

It was a competitive game and both sides were to be commended with the way they played the game out after being isolated the past several weeks with “normality” being severely disrupted by the CV-19 crisis. Skill wise there were surprisingly few errors from both sides. Players tackled each other fiercely and threw themselves at the ball. The Essendon midfield were another factor in their hard fought victory. Zach Merrett, Andrew McGrath, Dylan Shiel, Kyle Langford and Adam Saad were outstanding. McGrath was right amongst the action and got out the quick handball to teammates, as did Zach Merrett. Saad’s dash and pace created plenty of possessions for his side.

This image typifies the work that Andrew McGrath applied in and around the contest. Photo: Jodie Newell

For Sydney, midfielders in Jake Lloyd, Luke Parker and Oliver Florent  worked hard at getting their side back into the game. Lloyd in particular worked extremely hard, amassing 29 disposals and laying 5 tackles. Former Brisbane Lions player Lewis Taylor looked right at home in the Sydney Swans forward line kicking 3 goals for the game.

Former Brisbane Lions player Lewis Taylor looked right at home on the Swans forward line kicking 3 goals. Photo: Jodie Newell

Sydney rallied in the second term and got within a goal of the Essendon lead. Tom Papley and Isaac Heeney closed out the quarter with two handy goals. Heeney’s goal was impressive which saw the Swan forward tucked up hard in the forward pocket at the Randwick end. The degree of difficulty proved no obstacle as Heeney saluted the judge as the ball sailed post high for a superbly taken 6 pointer and with it a chance to get closer at the Bomber lead.

Tight Angle? No problem Isaac Heeney salutes a well taken shot on goal. Photo: Jodie Newell

Essendon again started well at the beginning of the second half by reasserting their scoreboard dominance with two well taken goals from tall Bomber forward in Shaun McKernan who would kick three goals for the match. Sydney were unable to bridge the gap due to a determined Essendon defense. With every goal Sydney scored, Essendon were able to reply. The final term saw both sides give their all. Essendon remained resolute despite a Swans late charge with Darcy Parish sealing the win with a superb tight angle goal from around 40 metres out at the Paddington end. Essendon winning by seven points inflicting the Swans first loss for the 2020 season.

The game was keenly contested by both teams Essendon’s Matt Guelfi lays a solid tackle on Nick Blakey of the Swans. Photo: Jodie Newell

Essendon coach John Worsfold whilst happy with his team’s solid beginning he thought it wasn’t the main reason behind the victory “Obviously games are played over four quarters. You always like to get off to a good start but that doesn’t mean that’s how the game is going to play out. We’ve seen that with other games played over the weekend as well. So obviously we saw some good signs early on in the way we wanted to play. Then it got tight and tough. We defended really well when Sydney came at us in the second quarter”

“We saw some good signs early on in the way we wanted to play” Essendon coach John Worsfold. Photo: Jodie Newell

Swans coach John Longmire thought the quick start from Essendon made a big difference and hampered his sides attempt to get back into the game “The start wasn’t anywhere near what we wanted to (do) They jumped out of the blocks and when you are down 20 points, you get yourself back in the game. Once we evened up the competing side, it became technical and a number of inconsistencies entered our game with regards to forward entries”.

“A number of inconsistencies entered our game” Sydney coach John Longmire. Photo: Jodie Newell

The win for Essendon (3rd, 2 wins 0 losses) sees them third on the AFL ladder. Sydney (9th, 1 win 1 loss) drop out of the final eight and are sitting at ninth spot. Essendon return home and play Melbourne (14th, 1 win 1 loss) next Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Sydney head to Victoria and play an unbeaten North Melbourne (2nd, 2 win 0 loss) on Saturday afternoon at the Docklands Stadium.

Aaron Francis channels the famous John Coleman no: 10 with this high flying effort. Photo: Jodie Newell

SYDNEY           2.0     5.3     9.4     11.7 (73)
     5.2     6.3    10.6    12.7 (79) 

Taylor 3, Papley 3, Blakey, McCartin, Sinclair, Heeney, Lloyd
Stringer 3, McKernan 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Smith, Merrett, Langford, Parish

Sydney: Lloyd, Parker, Taylor, Papley
McGrath, Shiel, Parish, Stringer



Umpires: Justin Power, Brendan Hosking, Jacob Mollison

Crowd estimate: just under 800

Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Driver Avenue, Moore Park, Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

About the Author

Jodie Newell
Love reporting on sports, politics, history and music