K rock Football

Bombers claim scrappy win

ESSENDON has moved into the AFL’s top four after a hard-fought 14-point win over North Melbourne on the Gold Coast.

The Bombers, who were guilty of blowing several scoring opportunities throughout the match, kicked clear in the final term to move to 4-1 with the 9.13 (67) to 7.11 (53) win at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

The Kangaroos, who started the year 2-0, are now 2-4 after four straight defeats and in desperate need of a win.

David Zaharakis kicked three goals for the Bombers and picked up 19 disposals in an all-action display while Kyle Langford had two majors including an important effort after the first quarter siren.

Andrew McGrath had a game-high 25 disposals while Devon Smith (23 possessions) was also heavily involved.

The Kangaroos have now lost their past five against Essendon and also have injury worries with Jed Anderson (quad) joining Ben Cunnington (back) and Jack Ziebell (hamstring) on the sidelines after being ruled out pre-game.

Cameron Zurhaar was the only multiple goalkicker for North, picking up two majors.

The Bombers were wayward in front of goal across the opening half, taking only a 10-point lead into the main break despite dominating territory.

Goals after the siren at the end of the first and second quarters by Langford and Jayden Laverde added some gloss to the Bombers’ scoreline as they struggled to finish in the absence of injured pair Jake Stringer and Joe Daniher.

A return of 5.11 at halftime highlighted the Bombers’ wastefulness but despite the Kangaroos doing their best to stay in the contest John Worsfold’s team did enough to keep their noses in front and claim the win.

There could be a nervous wait for Dylan Shiel who laid a third-quarter bump on North’s Curtis Taylor that sent the youngster to the sheds for a concussion test but the 20-year-old did return in the fourth quarter.

The match also marked Conor McKenna’s first appearance since his coronavirus scare, with the dashing halfback picking up 18 touches.

Essendon play the Western Bulldogs next weekend while North Melbourne take on premiers Richmond.

(C) AAP 2020

ESSENDON 2.5 5.11 8.11 9.13 (67)

NORTH MELBOURNE 3.4 4.7 6.11 7.11 (53)

Goals: Essendon: D Zaharakis 3 K Langford 2 A McDonald-Tipungwuti J Laverde J Townsend W Snelling. North Melbourne: C Zurhaar 2 B Brown B Scott S Atley S Higgins T Goldstein.

Umpires: Robert Findlay, Leigh Haussen, Paul Rebeschini.

Official Crowd: 4,271 at Metricon Stadium.