Greater Western Sydney 0.5 2.9 4.11 7.11 (53)
Essendon 3.1 8.1 13.8 18.11 (119)
Essendon has recorded a mediocre 66-point win over an impressive Greater Western Sydney outfit.
The Bombers did what they needed to do in order to claim the four points in what was a rather uninspiring contest.
David Zaharakis (32 disposals, one goal) and Ben Howlett (27 disposals, seven tackles) were exceptional for the visitors, while Adam Treloar (25 disposals, six tackles) was impressive for GWS.
It was a night of new promise, as the Giants’ new home ground, Skoda Stadium, was officially opened.
The stadium looked fantastic, however the turf is in need of desperate fine tuning, resembling that of horse racing turf rather than a football one.
GWS were the real story of the night however, as only inaccuracy left them out of the contest at half time.
Indeed it took the Giants nine behinds before midfielder Dylan Shiel finally registered a goal 19 minutes into the second quarter.
It was an ominous start for the Bombers, with star indigenous duo Paddy Ryder and Alwyn Davey kicking two quick goals to get the game rolling.
GWS however proved to be resilient, winning their fair share of general play, only to be undone by their errant goal kicking.
By the time Shiel put through the Giants’ first major in the second, GWS had 10 scoring shots to Essendon’s seven.
Another goal to Treloar before half-time saw the margin at 28 at the break, in what could have been a much closer game.
The second half started to follow the original script, with Essendon beginning to kick away as the resilient Giants began to tire.
The Bombers will be anxious come Monday as the Match Review Panel will take a close look at a number of incidents involving Heath Hocking for an attempted head-butt, David Zaharakis for an errant elbow and Jake Melksham for pushing a Giants player’s head into the turf.
GWS now travel to Geelong next week to take on the Cats at Simmonds Stadium, while Essendon will take on the Melbourne Demons at the MCG Saturday night.
3) – David Zaharakis
2) – Ben Howlett
1) – Jobe Watson
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 3, Shiel, Treloar, Giles, McDonald
Essendon: Crameri 3, Davey 3, Bellchambers 3, Ryder 2, Monfries 2, Zaharakis, Watson, Melksham, Hurley, Colyer
Greater Western Sydney: Treloar, Tyson, Kennedy, Cameron, Power, Shiel
Essendon: Dyson, Howlett, Crameri, Lovett-Murray, Dempsey, Zaharakis, Davey
Greater Western Sydney: Folau (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Townsend
Essendon: Hardingham (calf) replaced in selected side by Slattery
Greater Western Sydney: Sam Darley replaced Adam Kennedy at three-quarter time
Essendon: Henry Slattery replaced Ricky Dyson at three-quarter time
Umpires: McBurney, Ryan, Hosking
Official crowd: 11,887 at Skoda Stadium