Orazio Fantasia of the Bombers kicks a goal against the Magpies.
Orazio Fantasia of the Bombers kicks a goal against the Magpies. JOE CASTRO

'They couldn't make any more mistakes if they tried'

TWELVE minutes.

That's how long it took for Essendon to click into gear.

That's how long it took for Collingwood to fall apart.

In a defining match that had the ability to make or break the seasons of both the Dons and the Pies, the first 12 minutes couldn't have been more different to the remainder of the game.

Collingwood looked confident, Essendon looked sloppy.

Then, in a moment that resembled the Pies' season as a whole, one moment sparked normality.

One turnover out of defence - seized upon by a hungry Bombers outfit - led to another, and another, and another.

All of a sudden, the tables had been turned.

Seven unanswered Essendon goals set the foundations for a comfortable 37-point win, which keeps its finals hopes alive and almost certainly ends Collingwood's chances.

 

Michael Hurley of the Bombers (right) tangles with Scott Pendlebury of the Magpies.
Michael Hurley of the Bombers (right) tangles with Scott Pendlebury of the Magpies. JOE CASTRO

But what was more stark?

John Worsfold's side playing that free-flowing footy they love? Or Nathan Buckley's team frustrating the life out of its fans once again?

"Collingwood can't find a way to score an easy goal," Gerard Healy said on Fox Footy.

"They're really frustrating to watch. It's 'Turnover City' for Collingwood - their skill level is way off the park.

"It's bordering on embarrassing. They're fumbling, they're missing targets and they're turning it over looking for targets that simply aren't there.

"On the counter attack, the Bombers are absolutely smashing them.

"They couldn't make any more mistakes if they tried, Collingwood."

But while Collingwood might have copped the criticism, Essendon deserved the praise for the way in which it steadied the ship.

Having lost two tight ones in recent weeks, blowing leads to Sydney and Brisbane, the time was right for Worsfold's side to hold its nerve and secure a deserved win.

But that's not say it was handed to them on a plate.

Collingwood fought back late in the third quarter, narrowing the margin to 15 points at one stage. Suddenly, those nerves Essendon fans had felt in the last fortnight were returning.

Five of the next six goals ended such concern.

 

James Kelly of the Bombers beats a tackle by Alex Fasolo of the Magpies.
James Kelly of the Bombers beats a tackle by Alex Fasolo of the Magpies. JOE CASTRO

"We got towed around in the first 10 minutes or so and that's something we spoke about at quarter time," Bombers veteran James Kelly told Fox Footy.

"To the boys' credit, they fixed that up. We got more aggressive in our defence and the pressure picked up around the footy."

Orazio Fantasia kicked five, Joe Daniher slotted three, while the midfield recovered from a slow start to completely overrun a talented Collingwood on-ball group.

David Zaharakis (38 disposals, five clearances), Dyson Heppell (32 disposals, four clearances) and Kelly (32 disposals, seven tackles) were among the most damaging.

"We know that's a massive factor and why they play their best footy, so I thought we steadied the ship quite well after the first six or seven minutes," Heppell told Fox Footy.

"We've been talking about playing our brand of footy right until the final siren and not letting down, so we have to stick to our values."

News Corp Australia


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