Brutal Bombers hit 20-year highAn injury to Todd Goldstein will give the Shinboner faithful cause for concern. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

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A first-half blast has propelled Essendon to a thumping 72-victory over North Melbourne on Sunday, bringing the Kangaroos back down to earth and handing the Bombers their biggest win over their local rivals since 2001.

Powered by their star midfield trio of Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish and Andrew McGrath, Essendon got off to an absolute flyer, booting six of the first seven goals to shoot out to a 32-point lead late in the first quarter.

And it didn’t get much better for David Noble’s side, as the relentless Bombers continued to put the pedal to the metal to open up a 50-point lead at main break – North’s biggest halftime deficit of the season – before outscoring the Kangaroos by another 22 points in the second half to score their biggest win against their local rival in 20 years.

Essendon overwhelmed North with high-level pressure, leading to numerous costly turnovers and skill errors which deprived the Kangaroos of meaningful goalkicking opportunities.

Above everything else, North were let down badly by their terrible forward delivery. Their shoddy supply proved no match for Essendon defenders Jordan Ridley, Mason Redman, Aaron Francis and Dyson Heppell who picked off the Kangaroos’ attacking forays as they pleased.

The Kangaroos actually won the inside-50 (51-50) and clearance (31-28) counts, underscoring the cavernous difference in attacking efficiency between the two teams.

North ended up scoring 10.9 from their 51 entries, compared to Essendon’s 22.9 from 50. The Bombers looked far more dangerous in attack and finished with 12 goalkickers, including seven multiples.

In what was supposed to be a year of list renovation and development, the Bombers now find themselves just a game outside the top eight nearing the halfway mark of the season, a scenario which would surely have been at odds with even the club’s most optimistic internal prognostications.

Step up in midfield class for North

North had their way against Hawthorn’s midfield last week, but it was a different story in this round, with Merrett, Parish and McGrath teaming up with devastating effect in the middle of the park, slicing up the Kangaroos like a group of surgeons and finishing the game with 98 disposals and 18 clearances between them. Parish had a game-high 36 touches and 11 clearances to continue his breakout season.

The kids are alright

The Bombers’ future looks brighter with each passing week. Precocious youngsters Harrison Jones (three), Nik Cox (two) and Archie Perkins (one) combined for six goals, including a pair of impressive long bombs from Perkins and Cox on challenging angles. Jones also kicked one of the goals of the day midway through the first term when he quickly slapped the ball on his boot under pressure for a miraculous snap from the boundary in the pocket under pressure. After starting the year with 0.3 from his first two games, Jones has kicked 13.1 to become one of the Bombers’ most reliable shots at goal.

Another fast start for Dons

Essendon burst out of the blocks to be 6.4.40 at quarter-time for the third time this year, having also achieved that exact score at the first change against St Kilda and Carlton previously. The Dons have now kicked at least six first-quarter goals three times inside the first 10 games of a season for the first time since 2004.

Zurhaar hanger

Cameron Zurhaar produced the biggest North Melbourne highlight when he flew over Jayden Laverde and Aaron Francis on the broadcast side wing to take the mark of the game midway through the third quarter.

BOMBERS 6.4 11.5 15.6 22.9 (141)

KANGAROOS 2.1 3.3 8.8 10.9 (69)

LERNER’S BEST Bombers: Merrett, Parish, McGrath, Snelling, Heppell, Redman, Ridley. Kangaroos: Cunnington, Turner, Garner, Hall.

GOALS Bombers: Wright 3, Jones 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti 3, Hooker 2, Cox 2, Langford 2, Waterman 2, Zaharakis, Snelling, Perkins, Phillips, Hind. Kangaroos: Garner 3, Campbell 2, Thomas 2, Cunnington, J.Walker, Zurhaar.

INJURIES Bombers: Wright (cut eyebrow). Kangaroos: Nil.

UMPIRES Fisher, Fleer, Dore

VENUE Marvel Stadium

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

LERNER’S VOTES

3 Z.Merrett (Ess)

2 D.Parish (Ess)

1 A.McGrath (Ess)

Source

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