Essendon star Dylan Shiel faces a nervous wait despite his side’s gutsy 14-point win over North Melbourne after a high bump on youngster Curtis Taylor.
One of the Brownlow Medal fancies coming into the match, Shiel endured a frustrating evening, tagged heavily by Luke McDonald in the 9. 13. (67) to 7. 11. (53) win.
The incident occurred in the third quarter of the tense affair, as Taylor was hunched over a ground ball. Shiel attempted to bump the youngster front on, but collected the side of his head.
Despite the AFL’s crackdown on head-high contact this year, Shiel may be saved by the fact that Taylor was able to run out the remainder of the match.
Shiel’s bump on Taylor was the one sour point in yet another impressive outing for the Bombers, who are now off to a 4-1 start for the first time since 2013.
Both teams came into the contest with star names out, with the Kangaroos missing veteran midfield duo Ben Cunnington and Jack Ziebell, while the Bombers were without Jake Stringer to go along with the long-term absences of Dyson Heppell and Joe Daniher.
The rivalry between the two clubs has been well-documented, particularly with the two sides sharing flights earlier in the season, but Essendon star Devon Smith rubbed salt in Kangaroos wounds with a cheeky jab regarding the perceived rivalry after the win.
“It is a bit of a rivalry build-up for them, but for us it’s just another game,” Smith told Seven after the win.
“We cracked in and (I’m) proud of our boys.”