AFL Round Five Western Bulldogs vs. Essendon: Western Bulldogs v Essendon result, AFL news 2024

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Essendon have rebounded from their lame showing against Port Adelaide last week in fine fashion by producing their best performance of the year with a 29-point victory over the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.

The Bombers’ midfield is their biggest strength, but that theory was almost singlehandedly debunked last week by Power superstar Connor Rozee, with a big hand from Jason Horne-Francis.

Essendon’s on-ball division had to respond this week after being humbled by the Power, and they did so in a big way, eclipsing star Bulldogs trio Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore and Adam Treloar to win the centre clearances 16-10 and clearances 35-27.

Sam Durham and Jye Caldwell put the clamps on Bontempelli and Liberatore respectively, veteran recruit Todd Goldstein did a great job on opposing ruckman Tim English and captain Zach Merrett was influential as usual with a team-high 27 disposals.

The game was an arm wrestle for the first three quarters, but the Bombers had the ascendancy for the most part, and cracked the game wide open with six goals in a row to lead by 43 points in the final quarter, before running out convincing 15.6 (96) to 9.13 (67) winners.

Essendon’s pressure was ferocious all night and played a big part in the Bulldogs’ skill level nosediving as they regularly second-guessed themselves under the red-and-black blowtorch.

But the Dogs were their own worst enemies as well and despite finishing with more scoring shots (22-21), a stack of set-shot misses from Sam Darcy (two), Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (two), Rhylee West, Aaron Naughton, Cody Weightman and English gave them no hope of winning.

Conversely, the Dons had 10 individual goalkickers.

Bombers forward Kyle Langford continued his career purple patch in attack with another three goals, Xavier Duursma played his best game for the club and Ben McKay and Jake Kelly kept Naughton and Weightman quiet respectively.

DONS TURN TABLES

The Bombers have been the Bulldogs’ bunnies for the best part of a decade, losing nine of their previous 10 meetings by an average of 50 points.

That one Essendon win in that period was behind closed doors too in 2021, so it’s been a very long time since Bombers fans have witnessed their team defeat the Dogs.

QUESTIONS LINGER, THOUGH

However, it’s a result that will leave both sets of supporters still asking question about two of the most enigmatic teams in the league.

Essendon fans will be asking where was this last week?

Similarly, Bulldogs fans will be asking where was last round’s super effort against Geelong this week?

BULLDOGS BOWL EACH OTHER OVER

The Dogs’ lack of connectivity was perhaps best displayed late in the third quarter when Liam Jones, Buku Khamis and Bailey Dale all spoiled each other attempting a mark at the top of Essendon’s goal square.

Compounding the horrible play was a silly free kick from Treloar for holding Jake Stringer at the back of the pack in what was a 4 v 1 situation for the star Bomber.

The ball fell in Langford’s lap and after being paid advantage, he kicked the easiest of goals by himself 10m out.

SCOREBOARD

BULLDOGS 4.2, 6.6, 7.9, 9.13 (67)

ESSENDON 5.0, 8.2, 10.5, 15.6 (96)

RONNY LERNER’S BEST

Bulldogs: Ugle-Hagan, Duryea, Treloar, Liberatore.

Bombers: Durham, Caldwell, Goldstein, Merrett, Langford, McKay, Duursma, Kelly.

GOALS

Bulldogs: Ugle-Hagan 3, West 2, Naughton 2, Vandermeer, Darcy.

Bombers: Langford 3, Jones 2, Duursma 2, Stringer 2, Goldstein, Caldwell, Martin, A.Davey, Gresham, Durham.

UMPIRES: Fisher, Meredith, Mollison, Rodger

CROWD: 50,144 at Marvel Stadium

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: RONNY LERNER’S VOTES

3 Sam Durham (ESS)

2 Jye Caldwell (ESS)

1 Todd Goldstein (ESS)

Originally published as AFL 2024: Essendon defeat Western Bulldogs 96-67

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