Jade Gresham celebrates a goal during round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON has cemented itself in second place on the ladder after a 40-point win over North Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.

It took until the 32-minute mark of the first quarter for Essendon to hit the lead, but from there it was never ceded in the 16.10 (106) to 10.6 (66) victory at Marvel Stadium, stretching the Bombers' winning streak against the Roos to 11 straight games.

A goal to first year forward Zane Duursma on the bell of half-time gave North Melbourne a sniff of hope. But Essendon owned the second half, kicking nine goals to four after the main break.

BOMBERS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats

Without Darcy Parish - who was withdrawn from the side with calf tightness before the bounce - in the middle, Archie Perkins (22 disposals, one goal) and Jye Caldwell (25 disposals, nine clearances) all proved their value through the midfield.

Essendon's aerial strength was something the Roos simply couldn't limit, as the Bombers dominated both the contested mark (14-2) and mark inside 50 (18-9) counts.


North Melbourne worked to play a short kicking game out of defence in an effort to maintain a sense of control, but the Bombers were attuned to that method. Squeezing up and moving with speed, Essendon was on a mission to generate front-half turnovers by picking off any Roo error.

Zach Merrett (21 disposals, six tackles, one goal) kicked his first quarter goal in exactly this way, while Matt Guelfi (14 disposals, five marks, three goals) was lurking as a dangerous pressure forward in career game No.100.

North Melbourne's connection between midfield and forward line was often found lacking. The forward unit was regularly caught misreading the flight and running under the footy, opening the door for Essendon's aggressive rebounding defence.


Harry Sheezel's class was a standout for North Melbourne. Starting at the contest, he was instrumental in his side's attacking transition, finishing the game with 32 disposals, six inside 50s, and eight score involvements.

Meanwhile, debutant Wil Dawson wasn't handed an easy task first up, assigned to dangerous key forward Peter Wright, and while he competed well and didn't drop his head, Wright went on to kick four goals from 15 disposals.

With Dawson's inclusion, Toby Pink was brought back into the side to play as a tall forward/ruck option, kicking his first career goal – one that was heavily reviewed – during the opening quarter.

On a brighter note for the still winless Kangaroos, Aidan Corr played an important role on exciting forward Kyle Langford, keeping the Bomber to seven disposals and conceding just one goal deep in the final term despite the onslaught of inside 50s.


Old friends, new foes
It was the first chance for Todd Goldstein and Ben McKay to face their old side since making the move to Essendon over the summer. The pair received a mixed welcome from the North Melbourne fans, with Goldstein – who played 315 games for the Roos before coach Alastair Clarkson opted to make Tristan Xerri the side's No.1 ruck – being cheered on with every disposal. Meanwhile McKay, whose move was as a restricted free agent, was on the receiving end of a chorus of boos whenever in the vicinity of the play.

Tristan Xerri and Todd Goldstein compete in the ruck during round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Third-quarter blitz
After young North Melbourne forward Zane Duursma kicked a goal after the half time siren to cut Essendon's lead to just seven points, the Bombers came out in the third term on a mission. Kicking eight goals for the quarter through six different players, the home side put North Melbourne to the sword and break the game open. It was Essendon's highest scoring quarter of the season, one in which the Roos simply had no answers.

That's one way to kick your first goal
Toby Pink kicked his first goal in the AFL in game No.5, but it took some time to get confirmation on the achievement. Midway through the first term, the Roos were handed a free kick just outside 50. Debutant Wil Dawson kicked long into attack. The footy cleared the pack and Pink threw his boot at the groundball in the goal square. As he tentatively celebrated with his teammates, a goal review was called and after an excruciating two-minute pause on the game, soundtracked by jeers from the stands, Pink's first ever goal was confirmed.


ESSENDON                     4.2    7.5    15.7   16.10 (106)
NORTH MELBOURNE      2.2    6.4    8.4    10.6 (66)

Essendon: Wright 4, Guelfi 3, Stringer 2, Merrett, Tsatas, Jones, Davey jnr, Gresham, Perkins, Langford
North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke 2, Pink, Zurhaar, Stephenson, Taylor, Duursma, Larkey, Xerri, Ford

Essendon: Merrett, Martin, Caldwell, Guelfi, Perkins
North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke, Sheezel, Corr, Powell, Xerri

Essendon: Nil
North Melbourne: Miller Bergman (hamstring)

Essendon: Dylan Shiel (replaced Harry Jones in the fourth quarter)
North Melbourne: Eddie Ford (replaced Charlie Lazzaro in the third quarter)

Essendon: Darcy Parish (calf tightness) replaced in selected side by Elijah Tsatas
North Melbourne: Nil

Crowd: 43,125 at Marvel Stadium