Mason Redman celebrates a goal during round 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

KYLE Langford has stepped up to be Essendon’s hero as the Bombers survived an almighty scare to pinch a one-point thriller over brave West Coast on Saturday afternoon.

Down by 30 points early in the third quarter at Marvel Stadium, the Eagles dominated the second half and hit the lead with 100 seconds left through a Ryan Maric goal.

But Langford, who kicked four goals in the second quarter, was able to sneak out the back and run in to slot his fifth major and put Essendon immediately back in front.

West Coast threatened again, winning the next centre clearance, but Bombers defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher took a game-saving contested mark in the Eagles' forward 50.


The last-gasp win keeps Essendon's finals dream alive, giving them a 10-10 record. The Bombers could be only half-a-game out of the top eight by the end of the round.

Brad Scott's side will likely need to win all of its remaining games against North Melbourne, Greater Western Sydney (away) and Collingwood to be assured of playing finals after failing to boost its poor percentage against the Eagles.

BOMBERS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats

Last week's drought-breaking win over North Melbourne appeared to give the visitors a shot of confidence they have been lacking nearly all year.

West Coast travelled to Melbourne having won just four of their previous 45 games, but managed to outplay Essendon for long periods.


If the Eagles had won, they would have jumped off the bottom of the ladder and gone a game clear of North Melbourne, putting the Kangaroos in the box-seat to claim the No.1 draft pick.

But instead West Coast were left heartbroken, with premiership player Elliot Yeo slumping to the floor as the fulltime siren sounded.

Essendon captain Zach Merrett was important with 29 disposals, while Tim Kelly starred for the Eagles, collecting 30 possessions and never stopping running.


A rare first-quarter win for the Eagles
Given the Eagles’ disastrous season, most had pencilled in a win for the Bombers on Saturday afternoon. But far from the expected bloodbath, the Eagles had the ascendency in the first quarter which would have had pundits reaching for their erasers. Uncharacteristically strong at stoppage and holding up well defensively, the Eagles took a two-point lead into the first break – just their fifth first-quarter win for the season. While it ultimately wasn’t to be, West Coast put on a stronger showing than expected.


Dons finally unveil prized draft selection
It was a long time coming for Bombers supporters, but Essendon finally unveiled prized draftee Elijah Tsatas against the Eagles. Drafted with pick No.5 in last year’s draft, the youngster’s start to AFL life was less than ideal after tearing his meniscus in the pre-season. Not wanting to rush the long-term prospect, the Bombers made Tsatas bide his time in the reserves before earning a senior call-up, and his string of strong performances in the VFL saw the Bombers turn to the 18-year-old as they looked to make a push towards finals. Playing forward against the Eagles, Tsatas had 14 touches, six marks and two tackles. His field kicking, particularly going inside 50, was a real highlight and he looks to be a key component of the Bombers’ campaign to make finals


ESSENDON            1.6    7.8     8.10    10.13 (73)
WEST COAST         2.2    4.3     6.5      11.6  (72)

Essendon: Langford 5, Durham, Perkins, Parish, Wright, Redman
West Coast: Cripps 2, Darling 2, Allen 2, Maric 2, Hewett, Williams, Petruccelle

Essendon: Langford, Parish, Hind, Merrett
West Coast: Kelly, Hunt, Duggan, Witherden

Essendon: None
West Coast: None

Essendon: Alwyn Davey jnr (replaced Jye Caldwell at three-quarter-time)
West Coast: Greg Clark (replaced Jack Williams in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 30,742 at Marvel Stadium