PORT ADELAIDE 4.3 8.6 11.9 11.11 (77)
ESSENDON 4.2 8.4 13.8 19.13 (127)
Essendon has shaken off a plucky Port Adelaide outfit in the last quarter to run out 50 point winners and in the process keeping their top four dreams alive.
The scoreboard ultimately flattered the Bombers, who were challenged at every turn by the Power who just couldn’t keep up in what was a dominant final term for Essendon.
There was bad news for the ‘Dons however, with Michael Hibberd suffering a quad injury in the third term – another soft tissue for a club that has suffered more than its fair share of those injuries over the past few years. Hibberd will be under a huge injury cloud for the clubs massive matchup against the Cats next week.
One player who has been hit with a stack of injuries in his career would have been the major positive for Essendon, with unlucky forward Scott Gumbleton finishing the contest unscathed and kicking three vital goals. It was Gumbleton’s first match since 2010, and you’d be hard pressed to find a Bomber fan without a smile on their face about the result.
Surprisingly, it was Essendon’s first victory over the Power in twelve years, so the victory becomes an important mental milestone as coach James Hird continues to develop his side hopefully back to the powerhouse they once were.
For the Power, it was another ‘honourable loss’, despite what the final scoreboard read. They scrapped, hassled and did everything to bring the Bombers down to their level, but ultimately Essendon had too much class for Port Adelaide to contain.
Coach Matthew Primus will look at matches like these as a lost opportunity, but with one side determined to break into the top four, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Power to remain close for the full four quarters.
2 Brett Ebert
Port Adelaide: Westhoff, Ebert 3, D Stewart 2, McCarthy, P Stewart, Thomas
Essendon: Gumbleton, Jetta 3, Dell’Olio, Bellchambers, Hille 2, Davey, Dyson, Melksham, Reimers, Howlett, Myers, Watson
Port Adelaide: Brad Ebert, Brett Ebert, Moore, Broadbent, Boak, Westhoff
Essendon: Bellchambers, Howlett, Jetta, Gumbleton, Heppell, Watson
Port Adelaide: Nil
Essendon: Michael Hibberd (quad)
Port Adelaide: Matthew Lobbe replaced by Chad Wingard in the third quarter.
Essendon: Michael Hibberd (quad) replaced by Nathan Lovett-Murray in the third quarter.
Umpires: Farmer, Ritchie, Fila
Official crowd: 17, 344 at AAMI Stadium