Zaharakis fires in AFL Anzac Day win

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The last time Essendon beat Collingwood, David Zaharakis famously kicked the winning goal.

Four years later, the Bombers midfielder made a much greater contribution as his AFL side broke their seven-game losing streak against the Magpies.

Zaharakis kicked four goals, had 34 possessions and won the Anzac Medal on Thursday as Essendon overpowered Collingwood by 46 points at the MCG.

When asked to compare the two Anzac Day wins, Zaharakis made it clear that this performance had more meaning.

An injury over summer meant he had to ease into the first few games of the season.

“Probably for me now, I’m back at full fitness,” he said.

“I had a pretty frustrated six weeks before round one and I’ve built fitness over the last five weeks.

“While that happened four years ago and it was a great day, now I’m at full fitness and playing good footy.

The 2009 win was Zaharakis’ fourth senior game and he had a cameo role with 10 possessions.

Since then he has won the club’s 2011 best-and-fairest award.

But he was also one of Essendon’s many injuries last season, missing 10 games with a quadricep problem.

One of the keys to their perfect start to the season has been an emphasis on defence and that was critical against Collingwood.

“The communication in the second half was probably the best we’ve done this year,” Zaharakis said.

“You see a bloke spin out from a pack and there are guys screaming at you to go get him.

“Without even thinking, now we’re doing that.”

© AAP 2014
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