Prespakis powers Bombers in ‘Bool breakthrough

IT WAS billed as a battle of the Prespakis’ pre-game and while both had their big moments, it was Essendon’s elder sibling Madi Prespakis who came away with the chocolates, and the four points over sister Georgie in the Bombers’ 10-point upset win over Geelong.

Despite not scoring in the first term, and trailing by six points at the main break, the Bombers only conceded five behinds in the final three quarters against a highly rated Geelong outfit. In doing so, Essendon came over the top of the Cats, kicking the last four goals of the game to win, 4.5 (29) to 2.7 (19).

Sisters Madi (33 disposals, three marks, four tackles and six clearances) came out on top over sister Georgie (26 disposals, 10 clearances and seven tackles) though both were the standouts for their sides in games 50 and 25 respectively.

Essendon coach Nat Wood said Madi was influential in steering the team to victory, also having three inside 50s and five score involvements, all while recording a disposal efficiency of 63.6 per cent.

“Madi’s got a great ability to step up every week. she shoulders a lot for us,” Wood said. “The expectation of playing 50 games and playing against her sister and Georgie playing her 25th as well. What Madi and I spoke to the whole group about is it’s a team effort and it was going to take a team effort today and that we needed others.

“We know that Madi is really good at getting that first possession and win that contest ball, but we needed better balance around the contest and we needed more contributors doing that. I thought Madi set the tone for us right at the beginning.”

Wood said by Prespakis winning the contest, it allowed the likes of Georgia Nanscawen (25 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances) , Stephanie Cain (14 disposals, seven tackles and four clearances) and Brooke Walker (nine disposals, seven tackles and two clearances) to also step up at times and have an influence around the ball.

“We’ve had a few injuries this week and we had a late out in Jacqui Vogt just before the start of the game as well so we lost a few defenders but I thought our defensive work was outstanding,” Wood said. “Our setup behind the ball was as good as it has been which then allowed our forwards to really come forward and compete.

“I thought today was a really balanced game across all three lines. But also too, it was a tight contest. Geelong was an excellent team and I was really happy with how they fought it out.”

Wood said the result was made all the more impressive after the Bombers’ disappointing defeat to Collingwood last week.

“Coming down to Warrnambool and playing Geelong here, it’s a great game and Geelong have been going really well at the start of the season and we were a bit off our game and credit to Collingwood last week and they were too good for us,” she said.

“We had a lot of work to do and I was probably most impressed that we were able to adapt a few things in our gamestyle and put ourselves in the contest which was most pleasing.”

Essendon sits seventh on the ladder after six rounds with four wins, though a whopping six teams sit just four points behind the red and black, making it an intense final month of action. Next week’s clash against ninth-placed Richmond becomes an early elimination final of sorts, with games against West Coast and Carlton in Melbourne the next two weeks before finishing the regular Season 8 fixture up on the Gold Coast against the Suns.

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