Durham the hero as Bombers score dream one-point win
Former Richmond VFL player Sam Durham has marked and kicked a goal with seconds left to give Essendon a one-point win over the Tigers in their Dreamtime at the 'G AFL clash.
Essendon's 10.11 (71) to 10.10 (70) win on Saturday broke a 13-game losing streak against Richmond.
It also ends the Bombers' four-game losing sequence this season and breaks Richmond's run of eight Dreamtime wins.
Bombers coach Brad Scott hailed it as a significant win, noting the club's tumultuous history over the last decade in the wake of its supplements debacle.
"It was really important on two fronts. There's only so long you can keep talking about effort and playing well ... it becomes hard to keep pushing the message when you're not getting the result," Scott said.
"But I would never underestimate what Essendon fans have gone through over the last decade and that streak (against Richmond), that's been hard for them.
Scott also heaped praise on captain Zach Merrett, who was the clear winner of the Yiooken Trophy as best afield in the Dreamtime game.
He had a game-high 39 disposals and willed Essendon home.
Scott said Merrett reminded him of playing alongside Michael Voss during their glory days at Brisbane.
"He's a better player than I thought he was ... he has an unbelievable will to win," Scott said of Merrett.
The Bombers looked almost gone when Dustin Martin kicked a 50-metre bomb a minute into the last term to put Richmond 18 points ahead.
And Judson Clarke made the Bombers pay for another turnover, snapping a goal midway through the term to put the Tigers two goals up midway through the quarter.
But the Bombers found a way.
Durham was playing for Richmond in the VFL two years ago when Essendon picked him up in the mid-season draft and he has never looked back.
Jake Stringer's snap found him at the top of the goal square in the frenetic last minute and he kicked the match-winner.
It was a high-pressure game, with a succession of fumbles.
Rhyan Mansell had a shot on goal for Richmond late in the last term but, crucially, it went out on the full and that kept the door open for Essendon.
Midfielder Dylan Shiel (calf) was a late withdrawal in a major blow for the Bombers, who started slowly, but somehow led at quarter time.
Richmond looked for much of the last term like they had a game-winning lead, with Essendon bombing the ball into attack and Tigers defenders mopping up easily.
But Essendon found their way through. It became an arm wrestle until the last minute and Durham's match-winner - the only time Essendon led in the second half.
Martin and Bolton were best for Richmond, while Jordan Ridley impressed in defence for Essendon.
While Richmond almost broke the game open early in the last term, coach Damien Hardwick said they had been playing "incredibly poorly".
"We just fundamentally couldn't do anything reasonably well," he said.