Resurgent Essendon down Adelaide in AFL

Essendon solidified their place in the AFL's top eight with a 21-point win over the Adelaide Crows.
Essendon solidified their place in the AFL's top eight with a 21-point win over the Adelaide Crows.

A fast-finishing Essendon have overwhelmed Adelaide by 21 points to gain precious breathing space inside the AFL's top eight.

The Bombers came from 30 points down in the second quarter to post a spirited 15.6 (96) to 10.15 (75) victory in Friday night's Adelaide Oval fixture.

Essendon climb to sixth on the ladder ahead of weekend games and are now two wins ahead of ninth spot.

The Bombers appeared dusted late in the second stanza when Crow Josh Jenkins booted his fourth goal to give the home side a 30-point buffer.

But Essendon produced a stunning second half, scoring 10 goals to three - and four inside the last seven minutes - to leave the Crows clinging to eighth spot.

"There's no magic in it," Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

"It's just believing in what we're working towards and sticking at it.

"We were a bit scratchy for parts of the first half so at halftime the boys felt as though we had better footy in us.

"And that was the focus: just go out and play the style of footy we know we can play."

Essendon's Mitch Brown was instrumental in the revival, booting four second-half majors, as teammates Zach Merrett (31 disposals), David Zaharakis (25 touches) and Dylan Shiel (23 possessions) took midfield control.

Essendon's Connor McKenna (24 disposals) and Mason Redman (25 possessions) were also influential.

Adelaide's Jenkins was his side's dominant forward while Brodie Smith was a standout with three goals among his 31 disposals.

Crows onballer Brad Crouch (35 touches) and his brother Matt (33 disposals) were prominent and Reilly O'Brien ruled the rucks with 39 hitouts and 29 possessions.

Adelaide controlled the opening half - when Jenkins slotted his fourth goal 25 minutes into the second term, they led by 30 points.

The Bombers reduced the deficit to 19 points at halftime and gained serious traction in the third term, recording 18 inside 50s to Adelaide's five and kicking four goals to one to level the scores at the last change.

Twice in the last term the Crows took a lead before Essendon's stunning late scoring spree delivered a sixth win from their past seven games.

"Our footy is good enough," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

"But our consistency and our ability to do it for longer against good opposition is not at the level."

Australian Associated Press