Essendon’s AFLW top four hopes have taken a hit with West Coast upsetting the Bombers on Sunday afternoon.
Two early goals with the breeze held the Eagles in good stead for the day as they made the most of their scoreboard advantage to give them a 3.5 (23)-2.7 (19) victory at Windy Hill.
Essendon’s coach Natalie Wood said the Eagles got the best of her side on Sunday.
“It was tough, I thought West Coast started really well, used the wind to their advantage but they stepped in around the contest a lot more than we did initially,” she said.
“Credit to them, they were really hungry, they were really desperate, they played the conditions and got the territory early and we were always chasing.
“We were going into the breeze in the first quarter and I thought probably after five minutes we had some good passages
“West Coast brought a lot of pressure, they were in our face around the contest and we were taking some backward steps not fighting forward, not getting territory when we had the opportunity, a couple too many handballs and turnovers and West Coast were gone.
“Today we weren’t at our best, West Coast took that away from us , we need to find ways to turn up and be our best, I know our best is competitive.”
Wood also said that with injuries and players not performing, she was made to throw some magnets around late.
“We needed a bit more competitiveness up forward,” she said.
“We learnt a lot about some of our younger players today, and there’s some positives there for us.
“We want to keep taking steps forward and we need to find ways to keep taking steps forward with the injuries that we’ve got.
“It’s a 10 week season and every week’s an opportunity to learn and educate.”
Maddy Prespakis (30 disposals, 10 tackles, nine clearances) was once again a force to be reckoned with around stoppages.
The importance of the captain’s influence came to the fore in the fourth term, which saw her register Essendon’s first goal.
The Bombers rose to the challenge in the final term as they began to influence the game from the centre, but it was too little, too late as classy goals from Bonnie Toogood and Amber Clarke weren’t enough to get the home side over the line.
Toogood also had 14 disposals, 11 tackles and three clearances, while young-gun Clark only had five touches.
Georgia Nanscawen was also amongst the Don’s best with 20 disposals, 17 tackles and six clearances.
With just two rounds to go in the season, there is plenty of work still to be done for the Bombers, who at the end of round 8 sit in fifth position with a five win, three loss scoreline.
Next week the Bombers will be back at Windy Hill, facing off against old rivals Carlton on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues sit in ninth spot, making the clash a must win for both sides.