A last-minute goal and goal from Sam Durham gave Essendon their first win in 14 games since 2014 in Saturday night’s Dreamtime match at the MCG. Victory for Richmond.
A victory for the shorthanded Bombers will reinforce the feeling that they are finally on the path to a sustainable future under new coach Brad Scott. When the game seemed out of their control, they stuck to their possession game plan and maintained their form and were rewarded. Richmond, on the other hand, is once again coming off a rocky recovery from a fruitless season. They deserve to win this game and will know it. They miss an injured Tom Lynch terribly.
In fact, the quality of the football that night did not match the grandeur of the stage. Long scrappy games marked by missed goals were the theme of the night. They won’t be talking about it around a campfire for years to come. The most notable performers until the second half were Michael Long, Dean Rioli and Kevin Sheedy of all people who sang Archie Roach during the long break.
But sometimes a game is memorable not for how it went but how it ended. This is a.
None of this is to underestimate the performance of Essendon captain Zack Meret, who, without Darcy Parish, quit after Dylan Hill’s late arrival, was tasked with playing the three and did. His vision scored for Durham and Jack Stringer early in the final period as Richmond threatened to steal the game. His 39 touches earned him a well-deserved medal for best ground.
Due to their midfield crisis, the Bombers could not get the ball at all in stoppage time and only advanced the ball to their forwards 50 times in the first 12 minutes of the game, which was very short. They need to at least be precise with the ball in possession and be efficient in the forward arc, which they deliver. They took the lead four minutes later with two goals from Sam Weidmann’s free-kicks and held their lead until quarter-time.
Shai Bolton of Richmond In the beginning, it was as if he got his own football for the 100th game. But despite the Tigers’ advantage, they couldn’t find a single marked forward target. Jack Riewoldt couldn’t see, Lynch wasn’t there at all, and the only sign Samson Ryan gave them was the referee’s yelp.
The Bombers were better in the second quarter, but kicked 1.6. Weidmann was the only forward on the floor to earn his spot, but he was profligate, kicking 3-pointers from available shots. Dustin Martin’s long-range curveball was a rare highlight.