Bombers hand Port first loss of AFL season

Essendon have rebounded from two losses to hand Port Adelaide their first setback of the AFL season - a 22-point defeat at Etihad Stadium.

Bombers hand Port first loss of AFL season

Bombers hand Port first loss of AFL season

The Bombers prevailed in the battle of the AFL's most renovated sides, kicking clear of the Power and withstanding a late comeback to win 16.10 (106) to 12.12 (84) on Sunday.

Jake Stringer had his best game in red and black, kicking four as a forward, including a stunning last-quarter snap from the boundary.

Fellow new boy Devon Smith brought ferocious pressure with 11 tackles.

But Essendon's triumph was underpinned by familiar names.

Dyson Heppell had 31 touches, Zach Merrett finally got off the leash with 29 disposals and eight tackles, while Michael Hurley (15 marks) and Brendon Goddard played dependable hands in key roles.

First-gamer Matt Guelfi also made a solid start to his AFL career with 17 touches.

The Bombers led from the outset, with Mark Baguley's first-quarter goal - just the fourth of his 106-game career - a sign it would be their day.

With improved pressure, Essendon denied Port Adelaide run and ball movement.

The win lays to rest the club's dire AFL loss to the Western Bulldogs last weekend and close loss to Fremantle the weekend before.

"Last week we talked about the fact it was disappointing so our aim was to understand what we expect from each other and show it," coach John Worsfold said.

"The aim was to play the way we talked about and the way we want to show ... we learnt a lot."

The Bombers can now look forward to an Anzac Day date with Collingwood. Both sides are 2-2 after the Magpies' surprise triumph over Adelaide on Friday night.

Port's loss means they're one of six sides at 3-1.

They threatened a late show with a run of four-straight goals about three-quarter time that brought the margin back to 19 points before the Bombers steadied.

Coach Ken Hinkley said his side showed their inconsistency.

"Silly enough, we stayed in the game but we never really felt from where I was sitting that we were really in the game," he said.

"Essendon to their credit pressured us well ... and we just couldn't cope."

Port's new recruits had contrasting days.

Jack Watts kicked 3.0 but an injury-curbed Tom Rockliff (calf) had just eight touches to continue his underwhelming start to life in South Australia.

Robbie Gray was clearly their best with 39 disposals.

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