Bombers sink Eagles with early goal blitz

Justin Chadwick
Bombers sink Eagles with early goal blitz

Essendon recruit Jake Stringer has unleashed some early carnage to help lift the Bombers to a shock 28-point win over West Coast.

The Bombers booted the first eight goals of the Thursday night Optus Stadium match on the way to a 12.8 (80) to 6.16 (52) victory in front of 51,409 fans.

Stringer booted three goals in the opening term.

And although he failed to add to that tally after quarter-time, West Coast's wobbles in front of goal ensured Essendon secured the win, despite the visitors ending the match with two fewer scoring shots.

Essendon (6-7) have now won four of their past five matches, while West Coast (10-3) have lost two straight.

The Eagles entered the match without their best two forwards after Josh Kennedy (leg) joined Jack Darling (ankle) on the sidelines.

But it was in the midfield where the Eagles copped a first-half caning, especially in the opening term when Essendon booted six goals to nil.

The Eagles entered the first break with a solitary behind to their name - their lowest ever quarter-time score in Perth.

And when Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti snapped a clever goal from the pocket early in the second term, the scoreboard read 50-1.

Essendon coach John Worsfold praised Stringer's effort to play through injury.

"He had a bit of a sore leg tonight early, and wasn't moving anywhere near what we know he can for the majority of the night," Worsfold said.

"But he stayed out there and played his role for us.

"Early on he hit the scoreboard and he had chances to probably kick five or six goals, but he was hindered fairly badly in that last three-and-a-bit quarters."

Eagles coach Adam Simpson lamented his team's poor start to the match.

"We couldn't stop their rebounding defenders, and nothing to do with personnel," Simpson said.

"We just couldn't win the contest in the midfield the way we wanted to."

Nic Naitanui scored West Coast's first goal at the 11-minute mark of the second quarter but the Eagles fluffed a series of other opportunities during the remainder of the half.

Nevertheless, the Eagles had at least stopped the bleeding, with the home side entering the long break with some momentum.

The lead was still a daunting 40 points at that stage and West Coast sprayed even more shots in the third quarter.

Their plight was best summed up by ruckman Scott Lycett, who should have soccered through a goal from about 40cm out but missed it completely.

Trailing by 37 points, West Coast rolled the dice in the final term by moving Jeremy McGovern forward.

But the game was effectively put to bed early in the final quarter when Matt Guelfi's long-range bomb took a lucky bounce and rolled through for a goal.

West Coast won the inside 50s 59-45 but lost the clearance (39-33) and contested possessions (143-126).