It all started so well for the Bombers.
Missing a few key players, but up against the Western Bulldogs, with the Marvel Stadium roof closed, shielding them from the nasty conditions outside, Essendon fans could have been forgiven for thinking they were in for a good night when Dylan Shiel booted the first goal of the match in the first 20 seconds of the game.
Unfortunately, Bombers fans were in for one of the worst losses the club has endured in the modern era.
The Bulldogs encountered little resistance as they piled on an incredible 21 goals in a row, before the Bombers finally got the ball through the big sticks late in the final quarter.
The loss marked the only time in AFL history that a top eight team had lost to a side outside the eight by more than 100 points.
Comp went to eight team finals competition in 1994— Swamp (@sirswampthing) August 10, 2019
Complete list of teams sitting outside the eight defeating teams inside the eight by 100+ points
2019 R21 WBD v ESS
@westernbulldogs #AFLDonsDogs @AFL https://t.co/6y73naYZsH
Three of the Bombers’ four goals for the evening came in that final quarter, with the Bulldogs having long since wrapped the game up.
The Dogs improved to a 10-10 record with the win and picked up six percentage points, while Essendon slipped to 11-9 in front of their home crowd of 41,806 fans.
Josh Dunkley and Jack Macrae led the charge with 39 and 38 possessions respectively, while Marcus Bontempelli was typically classy with 26 touches.
The rampant Dogs had 11 goal kickers in the mauling, Toby McLean, Bailey Dale, Josh Schache and Tory Dickson each booting three majors.
But as awesome as Luke Beveridge's men were, John Worsfold's charges gave little resistance in an insipid display.
Zach Merrett started slowly but finished with 33 disposals, but the story was really the low numbers, with stars Jake Stringer (seven disposals) and Orazio Fantasia (eight) receiving Bronx cheers from dismayed fans when they touched the ball in the second half.
The pressure on Worsfold that eased with a five-game winning run will return in spades following the lacklustre, at-times disinterested, performance.
Fans slam Bombers on social media
Essendon actually started brilliantly, Dylan Shiel slotting the opening goal with just 23 seconds on the clock, but the Dogs were largely unstoppable from that point on.
Dunkley had 16 possessions and a goal by the first break as the Dogs leapt out to a 32-point lead.
That margin blew out to 54 points at halftime as the Bulldogs piled on seven unanswered goals.
13 points under the roof is pathetic but nineteen goals in a row means l know how the Gold Coast Suns feel . We as supporters deserve better considering all the rubbish we have been through over the years. #AFLDonsDogs— PDavies (@Pdavies576Peter) August 10, 2019
This is probably the most spiritless @essendonfc effort I’ve seen in nearly 6 decades of supporting them.— André Haermeyer (@AHaermeyer) August 10, 2019
More desperation and less peroxide would be a start.
These players are better than that but it’s nowhere to be seen tonight. #AFLDonsDogs
Wouldn’t be surprised to see Woosha with a box of his stuff Monday morning walking out of the club sacked, honestly.#AFLDonsDogs— Jimmy. (@ImJimmyMcCallum) August 10, 2019
Give it another minute and I reckon the Doggies should declare.#afldonsdogs— Faouzi Daghistani (@fdaghistani) August 10, 2019
A bad night got worse for the Bombers after the break, with horrendous turnovers gifting the Dogs the first two majors of the second half.
A record margin beckoned as Essendon's scoring drought continued, leaving them 89 points in arrears at three-quarter time.
The Bulldogs cheer squad wryly applauded Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's goal with just over four minutes remaining in his side's nightmare, the Bombers kicking the last three goals of the contest.