Made of the Wright stuff: Big Peter piles on six as baby Bombers stun Hawks

An undermanned Essendon overcame a torrid week to overrun Hawthorn and post a famous backs-to-the-wall victory that has breathed new life into the Bombers’ troubled campaign.

Few would have given Ben Rutten’s men any hope of snapping their losing streak when news filtered through on Saturday afternoon that the Dons had made five late changes, including important defender Jordan Ridley, to a virus which had swept through the club.

Peter Wright slammed home six goals to guide Essendon to a famous win.Credit:Getty Images

But hours later the red and black faithful were belting out the team song in the Marvel Stadium stands after their side steamrolled the Hawks with eight goals to one in the final quarter to salute by 27 points – 16.12 (108) to 11.15 (81).

In a performance which will leave many questioning how they could have played so poorly in the first seven rounds, the Dons trailed at every change and then mustered a supreme effort in the final quarter.

Ben Hobbs celebrates with Bombers teammate Zach Merrett.Credit:Getty Images

They hung tough when the Hawks were in control in the first half and then showed plenty of character to wrestle momentum away from their more fancied opponent.

The haphazard play they tried to shake was a distant memory by the last term as the Dons regularly streamed forward in numbers to overwhelm the Hawks.

Peter Wright was arguably the best afield with six goals, keeping his team in the game early when he made the most of limited opportunities inside 50.

When the game was on the line, the Dons’ midfield trio of Darcy Parish, Zach Merrett and Dylan Shiel got to work, while ruckman Sam Draper lifted after having his colours lowered by Max Lynch.

This was one that got away for the Hawks, who, like their defeat to Sydney, were comprehensively outplayed in the final quarter. When their midfield lose control at the coalface, the Hawks can leak big scores in a hurry.

Sam Mitchell’s side dominated the opening minutes but it was the Bombers, displaying an energy seldom seen in the first seven weeks, who kicked the first two goals of the game.

Though they struggled to make good Ben Rutten’s pledge to take the game on they demonstrated a greater willingness to pressure and chase.

The Hawks controlled the first half through Max Lynch’s supremacy in the ruck and Jai Newcombe’s energy at the stoppage.

While their endeavour could not be questioned, the Bombers’ tardiness to transition into defence on the turnover hurt.

The margin stretched out to four goals in the third quarter before the Dons drew even at the stoppage then gained the ascendancy.

Wright’s bag was the difference between the two sides but his zealousness on the line by slinging Sam Frost, controversially denied his team another in bizarre scenes.

It took the Essendon runner to alert the pack of Bombers mistakenly celebrating Mason Redman’s overturned goal on the wing that play had resumed.


Will Day was known as a junior for his poise and decision-making but those traits deserted him during a horror minute just before half-time. Receiving a handball on the wing, Day kicked about 40 metres back to his defensive 50, putting James Sicily under pressure from Aaron Francis. Day regained the ball from the ground contest and again looked inside to switch play only to change his mind. The hesitation was enough for him to be gobbled up by Zach Merrett. Fortunately for Day, Dylan Shiel let him off the hook when his snap did not trouble the scorer/

Hobbs robbed

There are not many better highlights in a player’s career than their first goal. Ben Hobbs lived the milestone twice. The Dons’ prized first pick from last year’s draft thought he broke his duck in the first quarter only for the video umpire to rule his snap had been touched off the boot by Denver Grainger-Barras. There was no conjecture in the third quarter when Hobbs converted his set shot from 40 metres and was customarily mobbed again.

Essendon 2.2 6.3 8.10 16.12 (108)
Hawthorn 3.7 8.9 10.13 11.15 (81)

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