ESSENDON has pulled off a stunning come-from-behind win over GWS, Cale Hooker kicking the winner with 19 seconds left to secure a thrilling six-point win at Marvel Stadium.
The Giants led by a game-high 19 points in the final term but the Bombers rattled home with six of the last eight goals to shock the Giants – 12.5 (77) to 10.11 (71) – on Thursday night.
GWS streamed forward from the restart and Josh Kelly had a running snap on goal that sailed out of bounds as the final siren sounded to the delight of the home crowd.
In what is sure to be a talking point, Shaun McKernan levelled the scores with just over two minutes left. Adam Kennedy was adamant he touched the ball off the boot but his protests fell on deaf ears.
It was a gutsy performance by John Worsfold’s men to breathe life into their season, squaring their win-loss record at 7-7.
The Giants were third going into round 15, but slipped to 9-5 with the upset loss.
Zach Merrett was the architect for Essendon with 28 possessions and seven clearances, with Dyson Heppell (23) and Dylan Shiel (22) also important.
Stephen Coniglio starred for GWS with 33 disposals, while Jeremy Cameron kicked three goals in the gritty arm-wrestle.
Essendon played like they had a point to prove after they were humbled by GWS in their embarrassing season-opener.
The Giants’ high-octane offence and sizzling ball movement was rarely sighted in a first quarter where the physical Bombers set the tone.
Shiel opened the scoring with a goal against his old side, with GWS co-captain Phil Davis kicking the visitors’ only major – his first since 2012 – as Essendon opened up a 12-point lead at the first break.
Coniglio sparked GWS with 14 touches in the second quarter and Coleman Medal leader Cameron booted his 41st goal of the season as the resurgent Giants edged to a one-point halftime advantage.
Tom Bellchambers had the better of Shane Mumford in the ruck battle, but the veteran Bomber limped to the bench with a calf injury in the third quarter.
GWS edged out to a 10-point three-quarter time lead without playing their best footy and looked to have seen off the challenge when Toby Greene kicked his only goal of the night to make it a 19-point game.
But in an effort that could turn the Bombers’ stop-start season, they kicked five of the last six goals to win a thriller.
Essendon lost Patrick Ambrose to a strained a thigh in the warm-up and he was replaced by Aaron Francis.
© AAP 2019
ESSENDON 3.2 5.3 6.4 12.5 (77)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.2 5.4 7.8 10.11 (71)
Goals: Essendon: C Hooker 2 J Laverde 2 S McKernan 2 D Parish D Shiel D Zaharakis K Langford M Brown O Fantasia. Greater Western Sydney: J Cameron 3 J Finlayson 2 B Daniels H Himmelberg J Kelly P Davis T Greene.
Umpires: Mathew Nicholls, Brendan Hosking, Andre Gianfagna.
Official Crowd: 25,195 at Marvel Stadium.