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Demons hold their nerve to pip Bombers at the post

Jack Viney of the Demons beats the tackle of Paddy Ryder of the Bombers.

Jack Viney of the Demons beats the tackle of Paddy Ryder of the Bombers. Photo: Getty Images

MELBOURNE 0.3 3.3 7.6 12.6 (78) ESSENDON 2.4 5.12 8.12 10.17 (77)
Goals: Melbourne: C Pedersen 2 D Kent 2 J Frawley 2 J Watts 2 B Vince C Salem J Grimes N Jones. Essendon: D Zaharakis 4 B Goddard J Daniher P Ambrose P Chapman P Ryder Z Merrett.
BEST: Melbourne: Dunn, Howe, McDonald, Jones, Grimes, Watts, McKenzie, Viney, Kent. Essendon: Zaharakis, Goddard, Heppell, Hibberd, Carlisle, Ambrose.
Umpires: Justin Schmitt, Troy Pannell, Brendan Hosking.
Official Crowd: 44,622 at MCG.

They came to the MCG uncertain what they would see, the players and faithful alike. They came looking for a signpost, an understanding of what the events of the last week might mean for Essendon. Would they bounce, or pop?

Brendan Goddard, David Zaharakis and Michael Hibberd lead The Essendon players on to the ground. Click for more photos

AFL Round 13: Essendon v Melbourne

In a major upset at the MCG, Melbourne defeated Essendon by a point in one of the season's most memorable games. Final score: 12.6 (78) to 10.17 (77). Photo: Pat Scala

Time
Q4 30:20
Team
EFC
Score
10.17.77
Team
MFC
Score
12.6.78
Essendon versus Melbourne
View Match Statistics
Players Zaharakis (4.1), Daniher (1.2), Goddard (1.2), Ambrose (1.1), Chapman (1.0), Merrett (1.0), Ryder (1.0), Bellchambers (0.3), Dempsey (0.1), Myers (0.1), Stanton (0.1), Winderlich (0.1) Scorers Frawley (2.1), Pedersen (2.1), Kent (2.0), Watts (2.0), Grimes (1.1), Jones (1.0), Salem (1.0), Vince (1.0), Dawes (0.1), Riley (0.1), Tyson (0.1)

They bounced, then popped. They rallied, then were rolled. How could it be otherwise? They fell, Melbourne rose. It was a single point but it was a point well made.

If they came hoping the game would provide a clear picture on Essendon and what they events of last week might mean for the remainder of their season they left believing that the Dons had been left in a muddle-headed fog. The 44,622 who came will have left concluding Essendon's year might end as last year's did.

David Zaharakis insists this is wrong and premature, but also could not adequately explain why it was that his team's game fell apart so dramatically as it did in the third quarter after they stretched out to a 33-point lead.

He was frustrated. Frustrated that the game was lost but now excuses would be made. The ASADA notices were not front of mind for the players when they were bustling out to be almost six goals up, neither were they when the gave up that lead, he said.

“We started playing as individuals, we don’t move the ball as a team, we start going safer than what we have been as a team ... we build a lead and then we start playing as individuals,’’ he said.

“We spoke a lot about our last kick inside 50 and that is what is hurting us. It’s a combination of the mids are putting the ball on the forwards’ head and then the forwards are not moving enough. Tonight we missed five or six from 30 metres out that is just inexcusable.’’

Of course the easy answer is also that it is easier for Zaharakis to put the matter out of his head - he has not received a notice.

“I just know the guys were up and about for a game. We just think about the footy when we get to the MCG or Etihad. It is our funnest three or four hours for the week,’’ he said. Sunday was not so much fun.

Essendon played as a side determined to go forward, to get on the front foot, but didn’t quite know how. It was attack without direction, offence without effect. They ended the game with an astonishing 69 inside 50s, dwarfing Melbourne’s 36. And lost.

Paul Little began the afternoon formally, speaking before the game at his chairman’s lunch. It was a measured speech with less spirit than evident in his fighting press conference on Friday. He dutifully noted the various coteries in detail – their support in spirit and that cash will be required as the months pass.

There was no ovation, but no jeer. There was one ripple of applause when he insisted that the board were steadfast in the belief their players had not been given a banned substance.

After an ugly week for both teams – though Melbourne’s ugliness was confined to the field – it began an ugly contest that improved as the match wore on.

The Essendon players began the game with urgency, energy and intent but without focus. They comfortably had the majority of the ball for the first half, occupied it in their half of the ground but battled to convert that to a score.

When the second half began the Dons began as they did the first term with two bright pieces of play that delivered Brendon Goddard and Zaharakis quick goals and the lead was built to a game high 33 points. From there by stealth the Essendon game fell apart. Their ball use in the third term in particular was atrocious and it not only allowed Melbourne into the contest, it demanded they come in.

Melbourne became bolder and played with more adventure after the static style of Queens Birthday had leaked into the first half of this game. Melbourne had 11 inside 50s in the first half, then 14 in the third quarter alone. They had been held in the match by their defenders - Lynden Dunn was outstanding, Jeremy Howe and Tom McDonald helping to withstand the assault on the defence that threatened to be overwhelming.

Melbourne found their run. They kicked six straight goals from late in the third term until they hit the lead 17 minutes into the last quarter when Dean Kent ran assuredly inside 50, pursued by Jake Carlisle, who could pressure but not catch him, and the young Demon goaled.

Zaharakis booted two in a minute to recover Essendon’s lead but when with 19 seconds to go, Christian Salem marked and goaled Melbourne was home. Such was Essendon’s lot.

Related Coverage

AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.10)vs RIC ($1.70) 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.00) 13:45MCG
WBU ($1.72)vs PTA ($2.05) 14:10ES
BRI ($2.50)vs GCF ($1.50) 16:35G
GEE ($2.00)vs SYD ($1.75) 19:20SS
WCE ($2.10)vs HAW ($1.70) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL ($3.50)vs NTH ($1.28) 13:10MCG
GWS ($1.33)vs ESS ($3.20) 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK ($3.70)vs FRE ($1.25) 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.25)vs COL ($3.70) 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS ($2.50)vs ADE ($1.50) 13:45ES
NTH ($1.28)vs STK ($3.50) 14:10BA
PTA ($1.25)vs GWS ($3.70) 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE ($4.60)vs HAW ($1.18) 19:20MCG
BRI ($1.70)vs CAR ($2.10) 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC ($1.10)vs GCF ($6.25) 13:10MCG
WBU ($1.28)vs MEL ($3.50) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.87)vs WCE ($1.87) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW ($1.18)vs PTA ($4.60) 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL ($2.35)vs RIC ($1.55) 13:45MCG
GWS ($3.50)vs SYD ($1.28) 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF ($1.40)vs ESS ($2.95) 16:35MS
STK ($2.80)vs GEE ($1.40) 19:20ES
ADE ($1.08)vs BRI ($6.75) 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH ($2.00)vs FRE ($1.75) 13:10ES
CAR ($2.25)vs MEL ($1.60) 15:20MCG
WCE ($1.18)vs WBU ($4.60) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE ($1.50)vs COL ($2.50) 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($3.70) 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($13.00) 14:10AS
NTH ($1.70)vs WBU ($2.10) 16:35ES
ESS ($5.00)vs RIC ($1.15) 19:20MCG
GCF ($2.50)vs PTA ($1.50) 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.95)vs WCE ($1.38) 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK ($3.80)vs SYD ($1.25) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.07)vs MEL ($7.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL ($1.50)vs ESS ($2.50) 00:00MCG
RIC ($1.70)vs NTH ($2.10) 00:00ES
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($13.00) 00:00MCG
GEE ($1.50)vs ADE ($2.50) 00:00SS
SYD ($1.05)vs GCF ($8.00) 00:00SCG
MEL ($1.87)vs GWS ($1.87) 00:00ES
BRI ($3.05)vs WBU ($1.35) 00:00G
PTA ($2.15)vs FRE ($1.65) 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE ($1.06)vs STK ($8.00) 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 17 15 2 0 127.06 60
West Coast Eagles 17 13 3 1 154.43 54
Hawthorn 17 12 5 0 164.23 48
Sydney Swans 17 12 5 0 115.86 48
Western Bulldogs 17 11 6 0 113.12 44
Richmond 17 11 6 0 112.43 44
North Melbourne 17 10 7 0 107.19 40
Geelong Cats 16 9 7 0 102.42 38
View all
 

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