AFL News

Depleted Dons down Saints

Depleted Dons down Saints

ESSENDON has downed lowly St Kilda by 43 points despite a rash of injuries in their AFL clash at Etihad Stadium.

The Bombers had no interchange bench for the last quarter of Friday night’s 18.14 (122) to 11.13 (79) win, emulating the plight of GWS five days ago at the same venue.

Brendon Goddard suffered a knee injury in the first few minutes and then Saints defender Nathan Brown knocked out Adam Saad with a brutal bump late in the first quarter.

Saad was stretchered off and Brown can expect a season-ending suspension.

Cale Hooker (knee) and Orazio Fantasia (hamstring) were also hurt in the third term.

Kyle Langford was in agony when he left the field in the second term with a shoulder injury, but the Essendon onballer was able to play out the match.

The Bombers led by 51 points early in the last term, giving them plenty of breathing room.

Essendon mathematically remain a finals chance, but they must beat top side Richmond and then face Port Adelaide away.

They also need other results to go their way.

The Saints led by a point late in the second term after Nathan Freeman kicked his first AFL goal.

But once again they were unable to respond when the opposition counter-attacked.

Essendon kicked the the last three goals of the half – two of them to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti – and the opening two goals of the second half to kill off the match.

McDonald-Tipungwuti kicked five goals in a best-afield performance.

St Kilda have made it clear they will be busy in the trade period, confirming they are interested in Sydney star Dan Hannebery.

Friday night showed they badly need players of Hannebery’s experience and talent.

There were a few spotfires in the match, especially after Brown knocked out Saad, but the Bombers were too good.

Hooker will probably come under video review for a swinging arm on Daniel McKenzie in the third quarter.

In a television interview at halftime, Goddard was confident his right knee injury is not serious.

He needed a left knee reconstruction in 2007.

“Obviously, I have a bit of bone bruising, but we’re reasonably confident,” Goddard told the Seven Network.

Bombers captain Dyson Heppell returned to form after a quiet game last week and Seb Ross was best for the Saints in his 100th game.

St Kilda’s Ben Paton kicked the last goal of the match in his AFL debut.

© AAP 2018

ESSENDON 5.3 10.8 14.13 18.14 (122)

ST KILDA 4.4 6.8 7.10 11.13 (79)

Goals: Essendon: A McDonald-Tipungwuti 5 D Myers 2 J Stringer 2 K Langford 2 O Fantasia 2 A Francis C Hooker C McKenna D Heppell D Smith. St Kilda: J Billings 2 J Gresham 2 J Lonie 2 B Long B Paton J Newnes N Freeman R Marshall.

Umpires: Troy Pannell, Jacob Mollison, Curtis Deboy.

Official Crowd: 37,483 at Etihad Stadium.