Collingwood Magpies defeat Essendon Bombers
Nathan Buckley’s side won its fifth Anzac Day contest in six years, triumphing 9.15 (69) to 6.13 (49) on a wet MCG. Rain through the morning ensured a scrappy contest, which finished with almost twice as many behinds as goals. Led by Anzac Day medalist Paul Seedsman, who kicked the Magpies inside 50 a remarkable 14 times and charged into every contest, Collingwood prevailed. Medal judges had a pack of Magpies to pick from, with Jack Crisp, Taylor Adams, Jamie Elliot and their entire back line all making strong contributions.
Collingwood’s win was earned through effort rather than statistical domination. The Bombers set themselves to play uncontested football, chipping and marking their way across the MCG. In contrast, Collingwood set itself up for a scrap, often kicking long to contests and looking to dominate at ground level. The Magpies plan worked in the first term, though Jamie Elliot’s opening goal from outside the boundary line was highly dubious. It was not until mid-way through the second quarter that Essendon’s engine started to work, though James Hird’s team was guilty of wasting opportunities.
The Bombers were on a run of five straight behinds until Dustin Fletcher in his 18th Anzac Day game broke the deadlock. The veteran’s bomb from 60 metres was just his second goal in three seasons and richly savoured by Bombers among the 88,395 crowd. Brent Stanton’s goal shortly after put Essendon nine points ahead, its greatest lead of the match. But Collingwood returned to the front with another Elliot effort and never gave its advantage up. The impressive Seedsman, Crisp and Dane Swan booted third-quarter goals. Rain teemed down to begin the fourth quarter, making Collingwood’s 14-point lead seem unassailable. Jake Carlisle had the chance to put Essendon back within range but fluffed his kick from 15 metres out. Five minutes later, Travis Cloke marked strongly in the goal square to goal and make the game safe. Essendon midfielders Dyson Heppell, Brent Stanton and Cale Hooker were among the Bombers’ best.