After Parker taunted them in their last match, Jordan Lewis and Eddie Betts think the Bombers will have a response planned for Saturday.
The last of the six-game rounds brings the ladder back into sync and makes clearer the prospects of those still aiming for action in September.
Richmond on Thursday night gave the coaches of the other contenders something to think about, with the current wobbles of Melbourne meaning that the Demons have fallen from firm favourites for the premiership to possible grand finalists – a remarkable transformation in the space of three weeks.
The inclusion of Tom Lynch in the Tigers line-up was a significant inclusion as it restored the two-prong attack surrounded by crumbers that has been a hallmark of Richmond’s successes in recent years.
Between them they scored five goals. Lynch’s three goals took him past Collingwood’s Anthony Rocca on the AFL goal kickers list and past Matthew Rogers at Richmond.
Jack Riewoldt scored two and moved past former Carlton champion Stephen “Sticks” Kernahan on the AFL list.
The twin towers at Carlton also scored five goals with Andrew McKay disturbing the positions of two top 100 goal kickers at the club born 109 years apart: passing George Topping (born 1881) and drawing level with Levi Casboult (1990), now plying his trade with the Gold Coast Suns.
Charlie Curnow’s one goal was below par but still took him to equal with Peter Sartori. The difference between the two teams was the support given by those around them.
At Richmond, Shane Edwards’ one goal took him to level with 1930s champion Doug Strang whose career was over by age 24 but who once kicked 14 goals in a game and played in the 1932 premiership.
Shai Bolton kicked two goals that took him past teammates Kane Lambert and Jake King, and equal with two champions, Dick Clay and Maurice Rioli, whilst another Rioli, Daniel, kicked one to equal Paul Sproule.
From a games played perspective, Blues champion Patrick Cripps played his 150th game, which puts him level on the games played list with Mike Fitzpatrick and Michael Jamieson.
Shane Edwards played his 293rd game and is now level with Patrick Dangerfield, one game off joining Jack Titus and Keith Grieg at the bottom of the AFL’s top 100 games played list.
Friday night’s game provided the mandatory upset to keep up interest in the final eight. The lacklustre performance by St Kilda (except for the five-goal burst to draw level) made me wonder if the tribute to former champion Danny Frawley took the edge off the Saints’ competitive psyche?
However, there was no denying the Bombers’ improved performance. “Two-metre Peter” Wright proved in his 100th game with his four goals that he has the ability to make it into Essendon’s top 100 goal scorers, if not this year then certainly next year.
Jake Stringer (two goals) moved up to equal ex-Terang recruit Charlie Payne (1962-72), who played in two premierships and one losing grand final.
Zach Merrett equalled the games tally of Jack Jones (1946-1954), who still holds the consecutive games record at Essendon. Massimo Dámbrosio played his first game of AFL football for the Dons.
At St Kilda, Sebastian Ross equalled the game total at the club of journeyman Allan Davis during his career which started in 1966 at the Saints and finished in 1980 at Collingwood, with stints at Melbourne and Essendon in between.
Jade Gresham, with three goals, moved up the club’s goal kickers list, passing Jack Steven, Sam Loxton and Greg Burns and drawing level with Jack James, a “fast and clever” rover whose career was interrupted by World War I.
Max King (one goal) passed Alby Weiss, while Jack Billings, with two goals, passed Brendan Goddard and Lance Oswald.