Andrew McGrath, Sam Draper, Jordan Ridley and Archie Perkins celebrate after Essendon's win over West Coast at Marvel Stadium in round 15, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

DESPITE its 30-point win over West Coast leaving Essendon a game-and-a-half clear inside the top four, Brad Scott has conceded the double chance "doesn't feel firm".

The Bombers now have a record of nine wins from 14 games this season and shook off a poor run into last week's bye to establish an aggressive, attacking game against the Eagles. But for Scott, nothing is certain.

BOMBERS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats

"We try not to, as players and coaches, but you probably go into a game with a subconscious expectation of what should happen. But the competition keeps telling you that's not the case," Scott said post-match.

"It's tighter than it's ever been … and things change really quickly."


He was quick to point out Sam Durham's rise, after the midfielder had arguably a best-on-ground performance with 29 disposals and a goal in the win.

"If I'd sat here saying two years ago that Sam Durham would be doing what he's doing now, no-one would have believed me, even though we could see the upward trajectory he was on," Scott said.

"The great thing about Sam is that he's an incredibly humble, down-to-earth person, and they're great qualities, but he doesn't realise right now what he's capable of."

The decision to manage ruck Todd Goldstein and bring in young key forward Nate Caddy was an inspired move, as Caddy competed well in the air and kicked two goals for the Bombers, but Scott conceded that Goldstein's return is the likely scenario for next week's clash with Geelong.


For West Coast coach Adam Simpson, although the margin ultimately ballooned out to 30 points, there were some pleasing aspects of the game, including the return of co-captain Oscar Allen for his first game since round one.

Developing its forward structure, now with three key forward targets in Allen, Jake Waterman, and Jack Darling available, will be the next step for West Coast.

"It's something we're going to have to look at to see if it's going to work for us and whether we continue to do it or not, we'll keep working through that," Simpson said.

"But it's good to see 'Ozzie' back."


Young midfielder Reuben Ginbey was also tasked with a role on Essendon captain Zach Merrett, specifically with the aim of limiting the star's metres gained.

While Merrett finished the game with 29 disposals, 486m gained and a goal, Ginbey's impact was evident in patches throughout the game.

"Reuben has done a job for us before, and just to nullify (Merrett's) metres gained and the impact he can have on the game in that space. I think he's always going to get the ball … so it was a pretty obvious one for us to do," Simpson said.

"He was probably still one of their better players, but I thought Reuben did a pretty consistent job."

One area in which the Eagles did struggle, however, was containing the impact of Jake Stringer, who kicked five goals in a commanding performance.

"His damage was done when he takes the centre and spits forward," Simpson said, admitting that some defensive handovers didn't quite work.

"It's the old 'Dusty' role, I suppose, where they impact around the source and get forward."


The Eagles now look toward a clash at home against an in-form Hawthorn outfit, but look forward to the return of young star Harley Reid from suspension.

"He's pretty keen," Simpson laughed.

"I don't know how well he's handled it … match sim on Thursday and he's in the other team and, you know, he's got to pay his dues while he's not playing. Looking forward to getting him back and I think he is too."