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Most users ever online was 43 on June 6th 2010, 11:21 pm

Dons playing 'smartest footy in three years'

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Dons playing 'smartest footy in three years'

Post by CJCorka on April 9th 2010, 3:39 am

ESSENDON played its smartest footy in three years in Friday night's season opener against Geelong, according to coach Matthew Knights.

A major upset was on the cards when the Bombers led by as much as 24 points at the MCG, but nine unanswered goals sealed a 31-point win to the premiers.

"Physically we matched them for three quarters, but then they got on top in so many areas in the last quarter and had their own way," Knights said after the match.

"They were a lot cleaner with their skills. When it came to the crunch they really hit their targets, and when we missed our targets they counterpunched really hard."

"We played more mature footy in the first three quarters than probably at any time over the last three years."

The Dons' biggest lead came midway through the third quarter, and they had a chance to expand their four-goal cushion when impressive debutant Ben Howlett found Jay Neagle 30m out from goal.

But Neagle played on, was tackled and had to be helped from the ground with a knock to his knee that Knights confirmed after the match was nothing serious.

"In a perfect world we'd love him to go back and have the shot from 30m out," Knights said. "He took it on and ran the gauntlet and it didn't work. That's the way it is."

"It would have been nice to stretch [the lead] to five (goals) ... but it wasn’t to be. To beat Geelong you have to do that.

"We came here to win ... but we were not quite good enough in that last quarter. That's testament to Geelong. They're a fantastic footy side. They can keep the hardness, the resilience and the mental strength going for four quarters."

The Bombers reported no major injuries.

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