Essendon have trounced Collingwood in an impressive display in round three of Peter Jackson VFL before a good crowd at Victoria Park in their Anzac Day eve clash. Many had ventured to the Magpies spiritual home to catch a glimpse of out-of favour forward Travis Cloke (above) who was playing his ninth VFL game spanning a 12-year AFL career.
He booted Collingwood's first two goals but it was all the Bombers after that as they took complete control running away with an emphatic 85-point victory 20.13.133 to 7.6.48.Former Fremantle Docker, Ryan Crowley, was in everything for the Bombers booting a game-high four goals and gathering 30 disposals while another top-up player, ex-Hawk, Jonathan Simpkin, had 32 possessions and kicked two goals.
Cloke's was starved for opportunities after quarter-time with the home side able to kick just four more goals for the game while Essendon slammed on seventeen.The Bombers had more prepared to run harder and create space with the likes of Jason Ashby (22-disposals), Jackson Merrett (24) and Jake Long (25) causing headaches for their Collingwood counterparts.
Former North Melbourne defender, Nathan Grima, made life difficult for Cloke although at stages of the match it appeared as if Cloke's teammates had forgotten he was even out there, often failing to look for him as a target. Trailing by 34 points at the main break, things soon got worse for Collingwood as the Bombers continued on their merry way in the third term booting another five goals to just the one from the Pies.
The Collingwood defence was constantly under pressure as the Bombers ran rampant in the last with another seven goals. Pies defender Jackson Viola tried hard to stem the flow and Jesse White battled all day around the ground. Ben Crocker and Matthew Goodyear provided some positives for the Pies in what was a disappointing display from the home side.
Take nothing away from Essendon however, they came to play, in similar fashion to their AFL side, showing plenty of enthusiasm and willingness at the contest despite the club's off-field dramas. The win elevates them to second spot on the ladder and sets up an enticing round four clash with third placed Casey Scorpions at Windy Hill.
Collingwood's early season form is patchy and coach Dale Tapping will be hoping they can regroup and turn it around when they face-off with another arch rival, the Northern Blues, at Preston City Oval next week.
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