This is shaping into an interesting quarter of footy.

The Eagles are back in front with Jamie Cripps’ second goal of the match, which started from turnover in their defensive half.

The set-up came from Oscar Allen, who waited for the Eagles to run forward and provide options.

There was a bit of a delay as Cripps had to retie his shoe but it’s a hot start from West Coast.

Eagles by 2

Liam Duggan of the Eagles.

Liam Duggan of the Eagles.Credit: AFL Photos via Getty Images

Jake Stringer kicked his 350th career goal, kissed his finger and pointed to the sky.

It gifts the Bombers back the lead after Jamie Cripps briefly levelled the score (followed by an Eagles goal).

Bombers by 4

It’s not uncommon for teams to take the opening ten minutes to get things going. Not today.

The Bombers already have three, two of those through Peter Wright, and the Eagles two, both through Jake Waterman.

And not a single behind registered for either side.

This from Peter Ryan, at Marvel:

Peter Wright has every right to be annoyed at not being paid a mark on the wing. He held it longer than a summer holiday but the umpire called play on and it ended with a goal to Jake Waterman. They are now level with three goals apiece after Jamie Cripps kicked their third. Six goals in less than 15 minutes and not a lot of defence happening.

Bombers by 6

Bombers v Eagles

Bombers v EaglesCredit: AFL Photos via Getty Images

Harry Jones delivered the Bombers’ second inside 50 of the game, which was marked by Peter Wright. He then went back and kicked the goal.

For a team with recent kicking woes, Brad Scott would be happy starting off today with two straight.

Harry Jones gets involved early for the Bombers.

Harry Jones gets involved early for the Bombers.Credit: AFL Photos via Getty Images

Then West Coast joined the party with a response just two minutes later through Jake Waterman. The Eagles won the clearance and moved the ball quickly up the ground.

Bombers by 6

Kyle Langford has kicked off the day of Sunday footy with the opening goal of the game.

It was set up from the half-bank flank, with Sam Durham and Zach Merrett putting pace on the ball and teaming up to drive it straight into the hands of Langford, inside 50.

Good start, Essendon.

Bombers by 6

Bombers and Eagles are underway at Marvel Stadium.

Will Essendon keep their top-four hopes in September going strong or will West Coast throw a spanner in the works?

We’re about to find out.

The Eagles and Bombers players are out on the park warming up. Just ten minutes to go until first bounce.

Liam Ryan of the Eagles.

Liam Ryan of the Eagles.Credit: AFL Photos via Getty Images

Jordan Ridley of the Bombers.

Jordan Ridley of the Bombers.Credit: Getty Images

There is little doubt Essendon are one of the most improved sides this season but, as the run home to the finals begins, the question is whether they have what it takes to not only remain in the top eight, but even in the top four, and deliver their first September win since 2004.

Fresh after a mid-season bye, the Bombers began round 15 in fourth spot on the ladder, with eight wins, four losses and a draw, and visions of finishing in the top four for the first time since 2001, when they claimed the McClelland Trophy, but lost the grand final.

Hang on: The Blues were able to quell Zach Merrett, but the Essendon skipper needs to get moving if his team is to push for a top-four finish.

Hang on: The Blues were able to quell Zach Merrett, but the Essendon skipper needs to get moving if his team is to push for a top-four finish.Credit: AFL Photos

While they appear well-placed, two defeats on the eve of the mid-season break, to the 10th-placed Suns on the Gold Coast, and to the second-placed Blues, hit the pause button after what had been an unbeaten seven-game run.

Now comes a potentially defining stretch of games, beginning on Sunday afternoon against the lowly West Coast at Marvel Stadium, where the Bombers are expected to take care of business, before major tests against Geelong, Collingwood, Melbourne and even the Crows.

“If you take West Coast lightly, they could chew you up, the way they are going,” Bombers great Simon Madden says.

“The next five are very telling games. You can’t look any further than that. Then you can look at the next five. They mostly have games at Marvel and the MCG. That’s a good position to be in.”

Read the full article here.

Todd Goldstein will once again be out of action for today’s game as Essendon have made a late change to manage the ruckman.

He’s replaced by Nate Caddy, with Jye Menzie as the sub.

For West Coast, Jack Hutchinson is the sub.

Todd Goldstein of the Bombers.

Todd Goldstein of the Bombers.Credit: AFL Photos via Getty Images

Essendon have hung on to a top-four spot despite their two most recent losses, to Carlton and Gold Coast, and would need a win today to consolidate them amongst the top.

But West Coast is no easy task for the Bombers. Last time, Essendon scraped through with a just one-goal victory.

So, how do we see this one playing out today?

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