|Brownlow Medal||3 Ben Howlett (ESS)||2 Jobe Watson (ESS)||1 Heath Hocking (ESS)|
Essendon put a summer of turmoil behind them to run out impressive winners against a highly-fancied Adelaide in the AFL's season-opener at Football Park on Friday night. Reigning Brownlow medallist and Bomber captain Jobe Watson carried his fine 2012 form into this match and was the game's dominant player.
Things hadn't looked quite so rosy for Watson and his teammates half way through the opening term. The Crows got a huge jump on Essendon early and led 3.4 to 0.0 at the 15-minute mark. Dangerfield and Thompson were in everything at that stage and it looked as though the Dons' nightmare summer was going to carry through into the season proper. But the Bombers began to turn the tide from that point. A goal to Brent Stanton settled the team and they gradually worked themselves back into the match. At quarter-time, the Crows led by 13 but Essendon was at least on the board.
The second term saw the game take a dramatic turn as Essendon began to resemble the well-drilled machine that the Crows had in the first part of the match. Stewart Crameri and Ben Howlett goaled within the first two minutes and the Bombers were to add a further four majors for the term, while Adelaide added just one through the agency of Graham Johncock.
By half-time the Bombers led by 14 points but Adelaide looked as though they were struggling to stay in touch. It proved to be the case as Essendon piled on another six goals in the third-quarter to Adelaide's four, opening up a 23-point lead at the final change.
The Crows showed occasional signs of a potential comeback at stages of the last quarter but the Bombers remained steadfast, kicking a further five goals to run out convincing 35-point victors. Watson (34 possessions) was ably backed up by Stanton (26), Howlett (25 and 4 goals) and Alwyn Davey who chipped in for three goals, while the Crows were well served by the ever-reliable Scott Thompson and Matthew Wright. Taylor Walker had a dream-start to his year, kicking the season's first goal but his second and third only came late in the last quarter, prompting some Crows fans to wonder about just how big an impact the loss of Kurt Tippett would have on the Crows' 2013 season.
Adelaide: Walker 3; Douglas 2; Jenkins, Johncock, Mackay, Petrenko, Porplyzia, van Berlo
Essendon: Howlett 4; Davey 3; Bellchambers, Crameri, Dempsey, Goddard, Hibberd, Hocking, Kommer, Melksham, Myers, Stanton, Watson
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Adelaide: Wright, Sloane, Douglas, Reilly, Vince
Essendon: Watson, Howlett, Heppell, Dempsey, Myers, Hibberd, Kommer, Merrett, Carlisle
BEST - THE AGE.COM.AU
Adelaide: Jaensch, Jacobs, Reilly, Sloane, Wright, Douglas
Essendon: Watson, Howlett, Fletcher, Heppell, Davey, Myers
Brenton Sanderson (Adel): The glaring stat for us is the tackles. I think we ended up being minus 26 or minus 27. They brushed us away. They got some easy goals [whereas] we had to really fight for our goals. They just killed us in centre-bounce clearances. We had our A-grade boys in there but unfortunately they got beaten. At times we looked a bit stagnant [in the forward line, without Tippett]. We didn't want to take risks.
James Hird (Ess): That performance didn't surprise me but I was very proud of the way they played. Tonight was a good performance but it's Round 1 and there's a lot more of the season to go. Heath Hocking's game [on Patrick Dangerfield] tonight was outstanding. Ben Howlett's game was excellent. Our whole backline, when they were under duress in that first 20 minutes was excellent as well. I was [also] very happy with the way Brendon Goddard played.
Adelaide: Brown (left foot)
Adelaide: Brodie Martin replaced Luke Brown (left foot) in the third quarter
Essendon: David Zaharakis replaced Stewart Crameri in the third quarter
UMPIRES: Rosebury, Meredith, Jeffery
Video sourced from YouTube, courtesy of AFL Media.
|16||Brown, Luke||3||2||4||7||0||0||0||3||0||0||20y 181d||4||0|
|32||Dangerfield, Patrick||10||1||7||17||0||1||0||2||1||2||22y 351d||90||94|
|26||Douglas, Richard||13||5||6||19||2||1||0||2||0||1||26y 44d||115||78|
|45||Henderson, Ricky||11||7||3||14||0||2||0||1||1||0||24y 192d||43||34|
|24||Jacobs, Sam||9||2||1||10||0||1||37||1||1||0||24y 346d||61||13|
|10||Jaensch, Matthew||7||2||6||13||0||0||0||1||0||0||23y 185d||35||14|
|4||Jenkins, Josh||9||3||2||11||1||0||7||1||3||1||24y 42d||12||12|
|18||Johncock, Graham||7||4||6||13||1||1||0||2||2||0||30y 152d||226||119|
|14||Mackay, David||8||3||8||16||1||0||0||4||1||2||24y 240d||87||25|
|36||Martin, Brodie||6||2||3||9||0||0||0||1||2||0||24y 136d||17||4|
|22||Otten, Andy||6||3||9||15||0||0||0||0||1||0||23y 311d||48||3|
|23||Petrenko, Jared||4||0||1||5||1||1||0||6||1||0||23y 90d||60||34|
|40||Porplyzia, Jason||8||3||8||16||1||2||0||1||0||1||28y 115d||111||168|
|3||Reilly, Brent||13||3||6||19||0||0||0||4||1||5||29y 130d||182||50|
|25||Rutten, Ben||2||1||5||7||0||0||0||1||0||1||29y 298d||195||8|
|9||Sloane, Rory||12||1||11||23||0||1||0||6||2||0||23y 5d||58||37|
|12||Talia, Daniel||3||1||2||5||0||0||0||0||0||3||21y 171d||33||1|
|5||Thompson, Scott||11||4||12||23||0||0||0||3||0||2||30y 8d||224||139|
|7||Van Berlo, Nathan||12||3||2||14||1||0||0||1||2||1||26y 289d||164||57|
|17||Vince, Bernie||10||2||6||16||0||0||0||1||2||4||27y 171d||109||67|
|13||Walker, Taylor||9||4||5||14||3||1||0||1||2||2||22y 331d||65||156|
|11||Wright, Matthew||14||7||10||24||0||0||0||5||2||1||23y 98d||42||33|
|46||Baguley, Mark||6||4||1||7||0||0||0||3||1||3||25y 305d||8||0|
|2||Bellchambers, Tom||5||2||3||8||1||1||26||1||1||3||23y 256d||44||21|
|22||Carlisle, Jake||9||9||4||13||0||0||0||3||0||1||21y 172d||29||7|
|12||Crameri, Stewart||3||2||1||4||1||1||0||2||0||1||24y 224d||42||67|
|29||Davey, Alwyn||3||0||9||12||3||0||0||3||1||0||28y 311d||87||104|
|15||Dempsey, Courtenay||15||7||5||20||1||0||0||5||1||1||25y 206d||75||18|
|31||Fletcher, Dustin||16||5||0||16||0||0||0||2||0||1||37y 319d||366||69|
|9||Goddard, Brendon||13||7||1||14||1||0||0||2||1||2||27y 306d||206||105|
|21||Heppell, Dyson||14||3||9||23||0||0||0||2||2||1||20y 312d||44||6|
|1||Hibberd, Michael||12||5||5||17||1||0||0||1||1||2||23y 78d||23||2|
|39||Hocking, Heath||11||4||2||13||1||0||0||10||3||0||25y 85d||81||29|
|26||Hooker, Cale||10||7||6||16||0||0||0||1||1||2||24y 160d||67||5|
|40||Howlett, Ben||16||5||9||25||4||1||0||6||3||2||24y 152d||58||25|
|18||Hurley, Michael||9||4||6||15||0||2||0||1||3||1||22y 294d||64||75|
|38||Kommer, Nick||9||1||7||16||1||1||0||2||4||1||22y 175d||1||1|
|17||Melksham, Jake||8||2||9||17||1||0||0||5||0||1||21y 205d||60||27|
|20||Merrett, Jackson||8||4||8||16||0||0||0||3||1||0||20y 23d||2||0|
|23||Myers, David||12||2||10||22||1||0||0||3||1||0||23y 265d||46||12|
|30||Ryder, Paddy||2||1||2||4||0||0||11||5||1||0||25y 8d||133||87|
|5||Stanton, Brent||17||5||9||26||1||0||0||6||1||0||26y 325d||183||117|
|4||Watson, Jobe||23||3||11||34||1||1||0||3||0||2||28y 42d||155||80|
|11||Zaharakis, David||3||0||3||6||0||1||0||4||0||0||23y 29d||67||64|