Bombers shine after slow start to stun Giants

Roger Vaughan |

Essendon have jumped GWS on the ladder after downing the Giants in Melbourne.
Essendon have jumped GWS on the ladder after downing the Giants in Melbourne.

Brad Scott liked what he heard as much as what he saw in Essendon’s stunning 20-point AFL win over GWS.

The Bombers rebounded superbly from a sluggish start in Saturday’s twilight match at Marvel Stadium and won 12.10 (82) to 9.8 (62).

They are in the top four at the expense of the Giants, who have lost three of their last four after starting the season with five wins.

It is also important for Essendon in the wake of their round-23 humiliation last year, when GWS slaughtered them by 126 points to kill off their finals hopes.

But what particularly caught Scott’s attention as his team posted its best win this season was the noise from the long-suffering Bombers fans.

After notoriously going without a finals win since 2004, the Essendon faithful sounded like they’re starting to dare to dream.

Brad Scott.
Bombers coach Brad Scott celebrates a stirring win over GWS. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

“That electric feeling … I’m in an air-conditioned, climate controlled, soundproof coach’s box, but I could hear the Essendon fans,” Scott said.

“It sounded to me like they had real pride in their team and I said to the players, that’s as good a reward as you can get.

“They probably get a sense of what’s possible with the Essendon fans’ excitement, of what that could be.”

But in his next breath, Scott tempered the excitement. 

“The challenge then is to again, just keep coming back to how hard we’re working … and not being too caught up,” he said.

“The competition will punch you in the face if you take your foot off the pedal.”

GWS were 22 points up in the second term, but they could not cope as Essendon came at them.

The Giants’ famous Orange Tsunami steadily lost its oomph and Essendon took the lead for good late in the third term..

“It’s just a good step forward for our group, in terms of maturity, that we didn’t panic,” Scott said.

“We were able to address what wasn’t working for us and we were able to not only stem the flow, but turn the tide.”.

The Bombers clearly did their homework, with Matt Guelfi playing a crucial defensive forward role on Lachie Whitfield and then also kicking three goals.

Nic Martin was also mighty off halfback and Kyle Langford kicked four goals.

Kyle Langford.
Kyle Langford breaks for open space during the Bombers’ win. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

GWS star Tom Green racked up a game-high 34 possessions after there were fears he had suffered a serious ankle injury last weekend.

But he was a rare shining light on a dirty day for the Giants, who were unable to honour Callan Ward’s 300th game with a win.

“Ultimately, we were just beaten by a more desperate, hungrier team – after quarter time particularly,” said Giants coach Adam Kingsley.

“We did look sharp early, I was pleased with our start. Essendon re-grouped at quarter time, raised their pressure and we didn’t cope with it … it was very good.

“They were far better than us in the contest. We weren’t able to rectify that really after quarter time.”