Bombers reaping benefits with focused players, says Worsfold


“In terms of an individual effort, it was a pretty special day for ‘Walla’ (McDonald-Tipungwuti), but it only comes through a very strong improvement in the way the team’s playing.”

It was a pretty special day for ‘Walla’ (McDonald-Tipungwuti), but it only comes through a very strong improvement in the way the team’s playing.

John Worsfold, Essendon FC coach

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McDonald-Tipungwuti’s devastating, seven-goal effort up forward was the high point of Essendon’s win over previously-unbeaten Brisbane, the small forward putting the icing on his performance with two late goals in a career-best return.

“He’s worked extremely hard,” said Worsfold. “We talked about him, I think in the pre-season about how good a pre-season that he’d had and the work he’s put in, so that he’s going to be able to produce that when he needs to, because of that work.”

Cale Hooker’s 13 marks on his return to the key defensive post was another significant win for Essendon in his first game of the season.

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Essendon meet North Melbourne next week and will monitor the health of midfielder David Myers, who suffered a bad facial injury from an accidental boot.

Key forward Joe Daniher is more likely to resume from his calf injury in the VFL assuming he is fit, according to Worsfold. “There are a few things we have to cover off there,” said the coach.

Lions coach Chris Fagan was pragmatic, with his young group having a short break before a huge home game against Collingwood at the Gabba on Thursday night.

Essendon’s seven-goal first-quarter set up the win.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti played a blinder against the Lions.Credit:AAP

“We have to move on,” said Fagan. “There’s something good about losing, too. It sharpens you up a bit, gets your mind back on the job, think about the things you have to do. That won’t hurt us. Collingwood are a big challenge and there’ll be a big crowd at the Gabba, and we know we can play a lot better than we did today.”

Brisbane won both pre-season games and their opening three premiership games. But the Lions were obliterated by Essendon’s seven-goal first quarter on Saturday.

“We made them look like a really quick side,” said Fagan. “I know they’re quick, but our reaction time wasn’t great either.”

Martin Blake is a Sports production journalist and writer for The Age.

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