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Match report: Dees bounce back in a scrap

Highlights: Essendon v Melbourne The Bombers and Demons clash in round six
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30:  Jeff Garlett of the Demons is congratulated by Jack Watts after kicking a goal during the round six AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Melbourne Demons at Etihad Stadium on April 30, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images/AFL Media)
The Demons were all smiles after grabbing their third win of the season

A WASTEFUL goalkicking performance from Essendon forward Joe Daniher has cost his team, with Melbourne pouncing to win a scrappy clash at Etihad Stadium by 38 points on Sunday.

Five days after a standout Anzac Day performance, Daniher lost his touch under the roof and finished with 1.6 as Melbourne overran the Bombers to win 17.10 (112) to 10.14 (74).  

Full match coverage and stats

The win ends a three-game losing streak for the Demons, who were able to clean up their skills in the second half and kick 13 goals to six after the main break, squaring their season at 3-3.

Impressively, Melbourne overcame structural holes in the ruck and forward line, kicking a winning score without a genuine ruckman or power forward. 

Five talking points: Essendon v Melbourne

Utility Cam Pedersen (18 hit-outs and eight marks) came into the team and was competitive in the ruck, while Christian Petracca sacrificed his midfield game to play as a forward target opposed to Michael Hurley, kicking a career-high four goals. 

Hurley was a star in the air in the first half, taking nine marks and chopping off a number of forward entries, but the Demons and Petracca were able to take him out of the game in the second half.   

Jack Watts stepped up when needed and also booted four goals, defender Tom McDonald (26 possessions and 12 marks) was composed in defence, and midfielder Clayton Oliver (33 possessions and five clearances) continued a strong season.

Jordan Lewis, returning from a three-match suspension, was terrific with 30 possessions, with his composure under pressure only highlighting how much he has been missed through the Demons' three-game losing streak.  

Coach Simon Goodwin said it had been a tough three weeks for his team, which needed to rework its forward line without Jesse Hogan, who is on compassionate leave.  

"Obviously we've had some suspensions, some injuries and losing some key personnel, but I thought the boys were terrific today," Goodwin said. 

"I thought the way they implemented the things we were trying to implement throughout the week was terrific and I thought Cam Pedersen in the ruck was terrific too.  

"(It was) just a great team performance. We had to go a little bit smaller in our forward half but we had multiple goal sources in the end with (Mitch) Hannan, Watts, Jeff (Garlett) and Petracca."

For the Bombers it was a missed opportunity, with John Worsfold's men unable to cash in on their ascendancy during the second quarter, kicking 2.6 from 16 forward entries. 

Daniher booted five behinds for the term, taking his tally in the first half to 0.6 with two other shots on goal going out of bounds on the full.     

His 'bag' of behinds included a number of gettable set shots and he returned to the field during the half-time break to practice his goal kicking, finally breaking though 12 minutes into the third quarter. 

The young forward turned to the crowd after his snap shot, but it would be his last shot on goal and his only major for the game in a rapid fall from his Anzac Day heroics.  

The wayward kicking in the first half would leave the Bombers wondering what if as the Demons came out in the second half a new team, with their midfielders taking control of the game.

It was a brilliant turnaround after a first half that saw both teams turning the ball over repeatedly, at times in comical circumstances.

Essendon coach John Worsfold said his players' skills were as poor as they have been this year, giving Melbourne the opportunity to control the game after half time.   

"We didn't capitalise on our opportunities in the first half and that meant that when Melbourne kicked a couple of goals early in the second half we then had to be reactive.  

"It could potentially have been the other way around, so that was disappointing in terms of the way the game played out. 

"But overall it was our skills … we looked well off the mark that we need to be at."

Essendon: Mitch Brown landed awkwardly on an ankle late in the game after being crunched in a marking contest but was cleared of injury. No.1 draft pick Andrew McGrath was driven into the fence but was also fine to play on. Patrick Ambrose was a late withdrawal on Saturday with a quad injury and won't be available next week.   

Melbourne: The Demons got through unscathed, with their luck finally turning after repeated injuries and suspensions to start to the season.  

Melbourne hosts Hawthorn at the MCG next Sunday and will be aiming for back-to-back wins against Alastair Clarkson's men, whose 13-game winning run against them was ended in round 20 last year. The Bombers travel to Domain Stadium to face Fremantle, with a much-needed seven-day break. 

ESSENDON          2.2      4.8      6.12     10.14     (74)                 
MELBOURNE       2.4      4.6      12.9     17.10     (112)         

Essendon: Fantasia 2, Hooker 2, Parish, McGrath, Daniher, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Colyer, Bellchambers
Melbourne: Petracca 4, Watts 4, Hannan 3, Garlett 3, McDonald, Pedersen, Lewis 

Essendon: Goddard, Hurley, Merrett, McGrath, Gleeson
Melbourne: T. McDonald, Petracca, Lewis, Oliver, Hibberd, Pedersen 

Essendon: Brown (ankle)
Melbourne: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Haussen, Nicholls, Hay

Official crowd: 44,040 at Etihad Stadium