Essendon could still end up in the middle of the table in 2021, but they showed against Geelong that they will not stagnate under Ben Rutten as they showed a competitive and organized performance against the star-studded cats at the GMHBA stadium

They narrowly won, but few visiting teams will leave Geelong with the four points in 2021, and few will score more hits than the cats, with the Bombers leading the way with 27-19 points

But they can walk away satisfied with what they saw and keep a narrow head start on time before goals for Jordan Clark and Francis Evans gave the Cats a seven-point win, 127 (79) through 918 (72)

The margin was also big enough to disrupt any conversation about a Shaun Higgins goal that should never have been allowed in the first quarter after falling well behind the goal line as the referee’s reputation prevailed in the absence of the goalkeeper Score review

The signs were good for Essendon as midfield dominated after Geelong scored the first three goals of the game The tireless Zach Merrett led the way in a best-on-ground performance

They took a narrow lead at halftime when Sam Draper’s dominance over the inexperienced cat Sam De Koning enabled Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith and Jye Caldwell to join Merrett to push the ball forward and trap it

The cats missed Rhys Stanley after knocking on Collingwood the week before, and when Darcy Fort and Esava Ratugolea dropped out, they used youngster De Koning in the jerk

The most impressive aspect for bomber fans was their organization behind the ball when they held up Geelong and made it hard for them to get off their backs

With Geelong’s ball movement, Essendon’s undersized defense slowed down, led by Jordan Ridley, the best and fairest winner, and held up well with James Stewart and Aaron Francis battling the Cats Twin towers in Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron

Cameron brought his hands to the ball regularly but only held three points but once his hands are secure he will cause problems as he connects well with midfield

Dyson Heppell’s leadership will come in as handy as his left foot in defense as it provides stability that was lacking in 2020

Nik Cox has been calm for Essendon but he stays well within the frame to win a spot in the first round as he runs and has class when he gets the ball and Harrison Jones is good enough too to debut against Hawthorn as he did a good pair of hands Archie Perkins had a run in the last quarter but had little chance of strutting his stuff

Geelong’s victory wasn’t relevant, but it was important that they come through unscathed Patrick Dangerfield was ready to play after an interrupted preseason, and Joel Selwood was as strong as ever

The bombers also had the look of a team on the move with many new faces that fans could watch with interest

Atkins has been pushed off the striker’s line and is trying to reinvent himself as a running defender.If he can play as well as he did in the first half at Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, the role is his in 2021 as he made the run-out of Defense, making good use of the ball and staying calm in traffic. His presence in the back half allows Jordan Clark to cement a point on the wing where he faces Isaac Smith in his first game for the Cats, Sam Menegola and the injured Mitch Duncan has played well

The Bombers have some holes in their list, but unlike Geelong, they won’t have to worry about the jolt for the next five years as Sam Draper’s presence is already evident, the 22-year-old has only played eight games but his Ability to bounce the ball forward from the central jumps is a perk the Bombers should take advantage of this season Granted, he has faced De Koning who has not yet debuted and the Cats are mediocre when it is It’s all about defending center bounces, but Essendon’s midfield has no excuses when Draper jerks off the last quarter when Nick Bryan got a chance

GEELONG: 42 62 95 127 (79) ESSENDON: 15 510 615 918 (72) DESTINATIONS: Geelong: Rohan 2, Cameron 2, CGuthrie, Higgins, Hawkins, ZGuthrie, Bews, Blicavs, Clark, EvansEssendon: Hooker 4, Smith 2, McGrath, Langford, WrightBEST: Geelong: Atkins, Dangerfield, Smith, Selwood, Stewart, ClarkEssendon: Merrett, Caldwell, Draper, Parish, Ridley, HookerCROWD: 11121

Peter Ryan is a sports reporter for The Age who covers AFL, horse racing, and other sports

Essendon

World News – AU – Geelong is taking off at home while Essendon is going in the right direction

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/geelong-prevail-at-home-as-essendon-head-in-the-right-direction-20210306-p578f9.html