With the impending finish to the weird and wacky 2020 AFL season, the silly season is about to begin. And the silly season means one thing: trade period.
Essendon have withstood a brave challenge from a young and undermanned North Melbourne line-up to record a 27-point win in the AFL match at Etihad Stadium.
The 17th-placed Kangaroos looked ripe for the picking, especially when star defender Robbie Tarrant was a last-minute withdrawal after injuring his back in the warm-up, gifting debutant Josh Williams a shock call-up.
But rather than being overawed, the young Roos took the contest right up to the Bombers, who are firmly in the hunt for a finals spot.
There were 12 lead changes in Saturday’s first three terms, with Essendon holding a narrow seven-point advantage at three-quarter time.
But the Bombers were able to step up in the fourth quarter, with Cale Hooker kicking four of their seven goals for the term as they won 20.12 (132) to 16.9 (105).
Hooker finished the day with five goals for the Bombers and Orazio Fantasia slotted four.
North Melbourne’s Ben Brown was the best forward on the ground, taking five contested marks and kicking six goals as he comprehensively outplayed Essendon’s most-accomplished defender Michael Hurley.
Veteran Jarrad Waite also booted four goals for the Kangaroos.
Essendon’s Tom Bellchambers had the best of an intriguing duel with Majak Daw, who was handed a rare opportunity as North’s No.1 ruckman when 2015 All-Australian Todd Goldstein was dropped to the VFL.
Essendon improved their win-loss record to 9-8 ahead of next Sunday’s clash with the Western Bulldogs back at Etihad Stadium.
The Kangaroos slipped to 4-13.