Bombers outlast Dockers
Essendon has overcome a three quarter time lead to defeat a wasteful Fremantle by 7 points at Docklands on Sunday.
The 10.8 (68) to 8.13 (61) defeat was the Dockers third in succession, now dropping off the pace after a great start to the season that saw them 4-2, now a game plus percentage out of the eight after nine rounds.
In a match that saw the 15th placed Bombers host the 10th placed Dockers under a closed roof, the home side made a fast start courtesy of three quick goals, young forward Harry Jones kicking two early majors to give his side an early spark.
Ben Rutten's side had an early injury concern when key defender Jayden Laverde landed awkwardly and was helped from the field with an ankle ailment.
He would return in the second term only to cop another hit, Fremantle slowly working their way back in to the game with three straight goals of their own to grab the lead.
The game was being played inside Fremantle's forward 50, Matt Taberner making the most of plenty of entries and a wounded opponent in Laverde to kick two first half majors.
Essendon made the most of limited supply to kick two majors for the term, enough to snatch back the lead at the major change.
Fremantle again had field position and control of the game without a convincing lead to show for their troubles, goals to Michael Walters and Taberner giving the Dockers their biggest lead of the afternoon at ten points.
Mason Redman answered with a long bomb from outside 50 as the game became an arm wrestle, Nat Fyfe and Matt Guelfi both missing simple set shots for their respective sides before Taberner slotted his fourth to push the lead back out beyond a goal for the visitors.
Darcy Parish goaled from a late free kick to set up a grandstand finish, Fremantle leading by three points with a quarter to play.
Essendon was forced to use it's medical sub with midfielder Devon Smith substituted off with a hamstring injury, giving young gun Nik Cox a chance to impact the game in the final term.
Having been soundly beaten in the ruck by Sean Darcy Andrew Phillips pushed forward for the Dons to mark and goal and return his side to the lead early in the last, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti breaking clear of Nathan Wilson with some individual brilliance to give the Bombers some breathing space.
Just when the Dockers appeared to be running out legs veteran David Mundy slotted a running goal, scores level with seven minutes remaining.
Braydon Ham snapped a goal from a stoppage to give Essendon the lead back, Rory Lobb controversially not awarded a mark inside 50 for Fremantle that would have given him a chance to deadlock the scores with under three minutes to play.
Essendon was able to lock the ball in their forward half, Ham registering a behind that proved to be the final score of the game, the Dons registering their third win of the season.
Fremantle finished with more scoring shots and more inside 50's but squandered their chances, now set for a crucial home fixture against Sydney in round 10.
Darcy dominated the ruck with 22 disposals and 38 hitouts, midfielders Andrew Brayshaw (33 disposals), Adam Cerra (28) and skipper Fyfe (28) finding plenty of the ball.
Darcy Parish continued his stunning form with 39 disposals, speedy half back Nick Hind his side's best player with 31 disposals while Andrew McGrath had 27 in another solid outing.
Essendon play North Melbourne in round ten, the Roos fresh of their first win while the Dockers host the Swans at Optus Stadium in their first home match since round six.
IMAGE: Fox Sports.