Fast-finishing Dons get job done on ANZAC Day

Collingwood’s finals hopes have been all but extinguished by Darcy Parish and his Bombers in front of a world record COVID-19 crowd of 78,113 fans in the traditional Anzac Day blockbuster at the MCG on Sunday.

The Magpies have slumped to 1-5, their worst start to a year since 2005, and for out-of-contract coach Nathan Buckley, the result could serve as the first nail in the coffin of his 10-year tenure as Collingwood boss.

The Bombers overcame a blistering three-goal Collingwood burst in the first five minutes to assume control of the contest for most of the day. But their own goalkicking issues (it was 9.10 to 10.2 at one stage) threatened to derail their hopes of a win, and allowed Collingwood to get their noses in front by a point early in the final quarter.

However, rather than allow that Brody Mihocek goal to deflate their spirits after playing so well, Essendon composed themselves and fixed their radar to pile on the next four goals to put the result beyond doubt and run out 24-point winners.

The fourth of those was kicked by Parish who continued his career-best form with a personal best 42 disposals (17 contested), three games after registering a career-high against St Kilda, along with nine clearances, six marks, seven inside 50s, 619 metres gained, two goal assists, nine score involvements, and two goals to win the Anzac Day medal. No Essendon player has ever registered more possessions against Collingwood.

It was the Bombers’ 10th victory on the most significant day of the home-and-away season since their annual fixture with the Magpies began in 1995. Collingwood still comfortably lead the ledger 15-10-1.

BOMBERS ABSORB EARLY PIES PRESSURE

Collingwood threatened to put the Bombers out of their misery in quick fashion as they jumped out to a 17-point lead early on. But Essendon quickly stopped the bleeding, thanks largely to the efforts of Parish, and proceeded to dominate the territory battle (17-9 inside 50s) in the opening term. Poor ball use from the Magpies, particularly in defence, and Essendon’s increased pressure also helped the Bombers boot four of the next five goals to take a three-point lead at quarter-time.

Collingwood and Essendon met in an ANZAC Day thriller.Source:Getty Images

MCDONALD-TIPUNGWUTI MAGIC

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti brought out all the tricks for the big occasion, and his second, third and fourth goals in particular were simply outstanding. Five minutes into the second quarter, he gathered his own crumbs and sold some candy to Scott Pendlebury before snapping truly from 25m out. Fifteen minutes later, he pounced on the loose ball along the boundary and managed to keep it in play before executing another snap shot from a very tough angle in the pocket. TV replays showed the ball might have gone out of bounds, but weren’t conclusive. And late in the third quarter, he took on Pendlebury again and won as he charged through the congestion at a stoppage in Essendon’s goal square and, as he was being tackled by the Collingwood skipper, slapped it on his boot while falling to ground to float it home.

THE WRIGHT STUFF

Peter Wright played his best game for Essendon on the biggest home-and-away stage of all. When his team really need him, Wright not only outmarked Brodie Grundy and converted a set shot from 40m out on a sharp angle late in the third term to give his side a 12-point lead, but he converted another set shot from an even tighter angle early in the final term to give the Dons a 16-point lead. He also had 16 touches (nine contested), 10 marks (four contested), six tackles, six score involvements, 11 hitouts, two goals and a goal assist.

COSTLY CAMERON MISS

Darcy Cameron was one of Collingwood’s best players but he had the chance to cut the deficit to two points late in the third quarter after marking strongly 20m out directly in front of goal. Instead, the former Swan sprayed the sitter to the right.

MAGPIES 4.1 8.1 11.5 13.7 (85)

BOMBERS 4.4 8.7 11.10 16.13 (109)

LERNER’S BEST Magpies: Cameron, Sidebottom, Crisp, Pendlebury, Roughead, Daicos. Bombers: Parish, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Merrett, Wright, Laverde, Heppell, Cox.

GOALS Magpies: Cameron 3, McCreery 3, C.Brown, Moore, Grundy, Hoskin-Elliott, Crisp, Ruscoe, Mihocek. Bombers: McDonald-Tipungwuti 5, Wright 2, Parish 2, Snelling 2, Phillips, Smith, Laverde, Redman, Stringer.

INJURIES Magpies: Nil. Bombers: Francis (ankle).

UMPIRES Stevic, Gavine, Foot

VENUE MCG

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

LERNER’S VOTES

3 D.Parish (Ess)

2 A.McDonald-Tipungwuti (Ess)

1 Z.Merrett (Ess)

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