AFL: Melbourne Demons Hold Off Brave Essendon Bombers 14.15(99) – 10.10(70)

AFL Melbourne Demons Hold Off Brave Essendon Bombers

Essendon had the reigning AFL premiers Melbourne Demons at their mercy as they held a narrow lead in the final minutes of Friday night’s contest at the MCG.

But the Demons quickly regrouped and powered away to record a 29-point victory, handing Essendon their sixth straight loss.

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The lead changed multiple times during the contest, but Peter Wright missed a shot for his fifth major that would have reduced the margin to six points, before Ed Langdon slotted a miraculous goal-of-the-year contender less than a minute later to end Essendon’s resistance.

Melbourne flexed their muscle in familiar fashion by kicking the last three goals to win 14.15 (99) to 10.10 (70), improving their winning streak to 10 games with their most recent defeat in round 19 last year.

DEMONS coach Simon Goodwin said: “We came here to play a certain way and I think we did that for the majority of the night”

Despite the Essendon Bombers making improvements in both games since their round-one capitulation against the Geelong Cats, they haven’t been enough to avoid going 0-3 for the first time since 1967. Three is the magic number in most sports but 3 also happens to represent ominous and ominous things.

There is no question that Essendon’s Andrew McGrath did an excellent job of running with Melbourne’s Christian Petracca. Both players had 21 touches, but Petracca averaged 39 possessions in his previous three games to earn the Norm Smith Medal.

But if Petracca doesn’t dominate, then Clayton Oliver usually will. Oliver, the three-time Demons best-and-fairest, gathered 38 possessions in a display that should result in the umpires giving him three Brownlow Medal votes.

Melbourne forward Sam Weideman starred with four goals, three behinds in his first game since round 13 of 2021, after stepping in to replace premiership full-forward Ben Brown who was forced into isolation on Friday.

Weideman could have finished with two or three more after missing a number of easy shots in the first half but made up for it by nailing a goal backed up against the boundary line late in third quarter.

He made a spectacular mark to bring up his third goal on the stroke of three-quarter time, then split the middle from 30 metres out on the run early in the final term to put Melbourne back in front.

The Demons kicked eight of the last nine goals, including six in a row, to put away their struggling opponents and stay within striking distance of top four.

Weideman took another strong grab and goaled from 40 metres out to finish with four majors, and Petracca also finished with four goals before being chaired off by teammates after his 150th game.

Tex Wanganeen’s first career goal on his debut sparked celebrations from his legendary father Gavin in the stands.

The Bombers coach, Ben Rutten, said he thinks it’s given us a really nice template for the rest of the season. He said that to be able to play three top-four teams from last year at the start of the season is a good test and now we’ve got time to work on it.

The Demons have just six days to prepare for Port Adelaide on Thursday night, while the Bombers will host Adelaide at Marvel Stadium next weekend.