Essendon make statement after Power drubbing as Western Bulldogs fall to 29-point defeat

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa Maria
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Jake Stringer celebrates a goal.
Jake Stringer celebrates a goal. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Is this the game that proves Western Bulldogs are not finals contenders? Essendon bounced back from a Port Adelaide thumping to move into the top eight.

The Bombers had copped it from all angles after an insipid performance against the Power last week, but the so-called ‘edge’ returned on Friday night in a 15.6 (96) to 9.13 (67) victory.

For the Bulldogs the pressure will mount on coach Luke Beveridge after a meek performance sees them tumble out of the top eight with a 2-3 record.

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The margin wasn’t made clear in the key stats but Esendon edged each one to give them enough of a foothold to build into the 29-point win.

Xavier Duursma had his best game for the Bombers.
Xavier Duursma had his best game for the Bombers. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Another strong performance from Tom Libertore who topped the night with nine clearances was wasted as Marcus Bontempelli had a quiet night by his standards with just 17 disposals

A competitive first half saw the two sides trade goals with Jamarra Ugle-Hagan looking dangerous with two in the first quarter but the Bombers kept finding targets at the other end.

The Bulldogs got to a 10-point lead midway through the second term with Rhylee West’s second but it was all Bombers their after.

Xavier Duursma had his best game since switching from the Power kicking the first of four straight goals for Essendon to lead at the half including this dead-eye from the boundary.

Again the Bulldogs continued to try their best out of the middle with Adam Treloar shining with XX but they looked toothless in attack.

Ugle-Hagan would get his third but Kyle Langford responded with his third to the Bulldogs under serious pressure trailing by 14 points at the final change.

It was here the Bulldogs’ dam would break as the Bombers kicked five straight goals as Jake Stringer’s crunching tackle on Libertore summed up the night.

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan of the Bulldogs attempts to mark.
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan of the Bulldogs attempts to mark. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The Bulldogs would kick the final two goals of the game to add some respectability to the scorecard but the game was well and truly buried by then

Jye Caldwell (23 disposals, four clearances) and Zach Merrett (27 disposals) had big nights for the Bombers but it was the faltering attack that cost the Bulldogs.

They edged the inside 50’s 50-49 but their accuracy let them down with nine behinds between Ugle-Hagan, Sam Darcy and Aaron Naughton as they struggled to generate deep entires in the second half.

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