The stats don’t translate
The Bombers dominated all of the major statistical categories throughout the first three quarters, but the game was still up grabs with a quarter to play.
Entering the last term the Dons controlled the scoring shots (19-9), inside 50s (50-25), disposals (301-262), clearances (28-17), contested possession (109-83) and tackles (43-34).
But the Suns remained in striking distance with the margin just ten points.
Gold Coast has struggled in last quarters all season and so it proved again as the Bombers weight of possession and territory eventually broke down the home side.
The Bombers had 11 scoring shots to three in the last term to run out 33-point winners.
The key stats suggested the margin could have been even bigger with the Bombers leading the scoring shots (30-12), disposals (418-346), inside 50s (71-31), contested possession (147-121) and tackles (67-52).
Begley’s blistering start
Josh Begley looked like a seasoned veteran when he calmly slotted a set shot goal with his first kick in the big time.
The former Eastern Ranger then followed it up with two brilliant passes inside 50 to set up James Stewart for two more goals.
But the debutant’s brilliant opening term wasn’t finished there. He nailed another set shot goal and ended the first quarter with seven possessions, four marks and two goals to his name.
By the final siren Begley had 13 possessions, seven marks, three goal assists and two tackles.
Zaharakis’ four-quarter effort
David Zaharakis produced one of his best performances of the season in the Bombers 33 point win.
He finished with 38 disposals, five clearances, five marks, four tackles, three goal assists and 15 inside 50s, nearly double the previous best (eight inside 50s) by a Bomber this season.
Hartley shuts down Wright
With Tom Lynch out of the side much of the marking responsibility inside the forward 50 rested on the shoulders of Peter Wright. The key forward had booted 28 goals this season prior to the match against the Dons.
Michael Hartley did an excellent job in ensuring Wright’s impact was kept to a minimum. In the end Wright had just one scoring shot from eight possessions.
Hartley had 18 possessions, six marks, four tackles and even delivered the ball inside 50 five times.
The equation from here
If the Bombers beat the Dockers on Sunday they all but assured of playing in the finals.
See you at Etihad Stadium.
Source: Essendon FC’s website