The Northern Blues fell by 41 points to Essendon in the Round 9 VFL clash. (PHOTO CREDIT: Rose Zarucky)
THE Northern Blues found themselves on the receiving end of a 41-point defeat at the hands of the Bombers at Windy Hill on Sunday.
After last week’s disappointing result against Sandringham, Northern entered the Round 9 clash with in-form Essendon hoping to make amends with a solid performance.
But despite a tight contest for three quarters, the Blues ultimately fell short in a 6.7 (43) to 12.12 (84) defeat.
The Northern forwards picked up where they left off last week with ferocious pressure in the opening half, keeping the Essendon defenders on the back foot with Lochie O’Brien and Cameron Polson taking full advantage with two clever goals.
But in scrappy conditions, poor skill execution going forward cost the Blues the opportunity to build an advantage on the scoreboard in the first half.
Essendon took full advantage of the narrow margin in the second, stacking on the pressure to take an 11-point lead into half time.
It was an arm wrestle from the jump in the second half, with both sides trading behinds early in the third before Northern notched three quick goals to hit the front for the first time since the opening term.
Kane Keppel and Jesse Palmer both impressed with their majors, but the highlight was from Ben Silvagni: his true set shot saw him notch his first goal for the Northern Blues.
The Blues’ lead was short-lived, with Essendon hitting back with two goals to claw back a 12-point lead going into the final term.
The final quarter was all red and black as the Bombers ran away with the game, kicking five unanswered goals and keeping Northern goalless.
Dale Thomas was a class above the rest for the Blues, using his experience and tackle pressure to set up Northern’s run off half back.
Thomas collected 12 disposals in the first quarter alone and finished the day with 32 disposals and 5 tackles.
Sam Fisher battled hard all day providing support through the Northern midfield to finish with 26 disposals, while Angus Schumacher was a standout with 19 disposals.
Hugh Goddard proved his contested marking credentials, taking seven marks and sparking the run for Northern going forward.
Northern will look to regroup after disappointing back to back losses up against Coburg next Sunday at Preston City Oval.
ESSENDON VFL 2.3 4.8 7.11 12.12 (84)
NORTHERN BLUES 2.2 3.5 6.5 6.7 (43)
Northern Blues: Keppel 2, O’Brien, Palmer, Polson, Silvagni
Northern Blues: Thomas, Fisher, Schumacher, O’Brien, Polson, Goddard