The Southern Saints gained a small modicum of revenge for last year’s Grand Final hiding from Essendon, handing the Bombers their first loss since the 2021 preliminary final with a convincing 25-point victory at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday.

The Saints were held goalless in Essendon’s 2022 Grand Final romp but only had to wait 10 minutes to get on the board this time – and it was their turn to shut the opposition out with the second of Caitlin Sargent’s two goals at the 17-minute mark of the first quarter proving to be the last one the Bombers kicked.

The Saints eked out one major in each of the second and third terms, the second to Winnie Laing in the 18th minute breaking a deadlock and giving them a five-point lead turning for home.

It also gave them the impetus to go on with the job and they banged on 3.2 in the last term, with Laing’s second sandwiched between a brace from Sera Kaukiono to win running away.

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The home team enjoyed a +82 disposal differential as they won all major stat categories except inside-50s (29-29).

Laing was dominant (20 disposals, eight tackles, two goals), while Gabriella De Angelis (28 disposals, five tackles, five clearances, five inside-50s) vying for best-on-ground honours, and Tessa Boyd (20 disposals, seven marks), Grace Hodder (16 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances), Jemima Wrigley (15 disposals, 10 tackles) and Michelle Podnecky (17 disposals, six tackles) were also good.

Essendon star Alana Barba was the standout for her team with 24 possessions, eight clearances and five inside-50 entries, but apart from Megan Ryan (22 hitouts, seven tackles), Grace Dicker (12 tackles) and Courtney Ugle (seven tackles), the Bombers struggled to get their teeth into the contest.

The Southern Saints will play their first match of the season at RSEA Park next weekend, coming up against the similarly undefeated Box Hill.

SOUTHERN SAINTS  1.1  2.4  3..4  6.6 (42)
ESSENDON  2.0. 2.1  2.5  2.5 (17)

Southern Saints: Laing 2, Kaukiono 2, Kearns, De Angelis
Essendon: Sargent 2

Southern Saints: Laing, Boyd, De Angelis, McLean, Podnecky
Essendon: Barba, Clarke, Ryan, Ugle, Dicker