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Saints continue Bomber pain

March 30, 2019 10:45 pm in by

ESSENDON and coach John Worsfold are set for another week in the white-hot AFL spotlight after a 11-point loss to St Kilda.

The Bombers started flat and weren’t able to run down the growing Saints, who clung on to win 10.16 (76) to 9.11 (65) on Saturday afternoon.

St Kilda led by 33 points early the second term and looked easy winners at Marvel Stadium against Essendon, who looked equally off the pace as they were in a round one thrashing by GWS Giants.

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The Bombers belatedly began their AFL season after half-time, stringing together goals to get within eight points.

Led by Jade Gresham and Jack Billings, the Saints steadied for their second win in as many games to ease pressure on their own under-fire coach Alan Richardson.

While Essendon showed fight in the third term, a catalogue of first-half atrocities ensured their eventual defeat.

Aaron Francis kicked straight into Michael Hurley after a strong defensive mark.

Jake Stringer attempted a checkside effort rather than a drop punt to kick out of bounds by 15 metres.

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Saint Jack Lonie, 24kg lighter than Hurley, stripped the defender of the ball before setting up Dean Kent for a running goal.

Andrew McGrath and Zaharakis flew and spoiled each other for a mark inside 50.

Blake Acres took a mark in the centre of the field with three Bombers paying scant attention.

But the worst by the length of the straight, was Matt Guelfi and Kyle Langford leaving behind a live footy to run off the field for an interchange.

Essendon’s recovery was built off Hurley and Francis reasserting dominance on the backline, with Adam Saad running from defence and Dyson Heppell waking up after a first-half no-show.

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However, with Stringer struggling from an ankle injury, the Bombers couldn’t find a route to goal to reel in St Kilda.

The Saints had plenty of contributors including Billings (28 possessions), Rowan Marshall (eight tackles) and Jack Newnes (25 possessions).

None were better than Gresham, who had 26 touches and two goals, fittingly making the game safe with a close-range goal in time-on.

Josh Bruce also soared for a mark of the year contender and kicked two majors.

© AAP 2019

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ST KILDA 2.7 7.9 8.12 10.16 (76)

ESSENDON 0.2 4.5 7.8 9.11 (65)

Goals: St Kilda: J Bruce 2 J Gresham 2 T Membrey 2 D Kent J Sinclair L Dunstan M Parker. Essendon: D Heppell 2 D Myers D Smith J Stringer M Baguley M Brown S McKernan T Bellchambers.

Best: St Kilda: J Gresham J Billings J Steele J Bruce J Newnes R Marshall J Sinclair S Ross. Essendon: A Saad D Shiel M Hurley Z Merrett.

Injuries: St Kilda: Nil. Essendon: J Stringer (ankle).

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Reports: Nil.

Umpires: Brett Rosebury, Brendan Hosking, Andrew Stephens.

Official Crowd: 44,252 at Marvel Stadium.

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