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Bombers sneak past Suns in AFL thriller

A Cale Hooker set shot and a long bomb by Jake Stringer in the dying seconds has secured a thrilling 10-point AFL win for Essendon over bottom-placed Gold Coast.

Trailing by two points with less than two minutes to play at Metricon Stadium on Sunday, the Bombers found a way to secure a 16.10 (106) to 15.6 (96) win.

Clever work by Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti found Hooker with just over a minute on the clock, the Bombers big man going back and calmly slotting to put the visitors ahead.

From the resulting centre clearance, Stringer emerged with the ball, took a few steps and unleashed a booming kick from the centre square.

From fully 70m out, Stringer's kick bounced through an empty goal-square and secured the win to cement the Bombers' spot in the top eight.

The victory, Essendon's fifth in a row, came despite a goal umpiring howler in the third quarter where a set shot by David Zaharakis appeared to cross the line before being tapped back into play by Sun Chris Burgess.

Replays showed the ball was about a foot over the line when Burgess made contact but because play had been allowed to continue, there was no option to go to the score review and a goal was not given.

Stringer, who moved into the midfield in the second-half in an attempt to combat the dominance of Suns ruckman Jarrod Witts, finished with four majors - as did Bombers forward Shaun McKernan.

Essendon coach John Worsfold said after the match Stringer had been in doubt due to illness until the day before the game.

"We weren't actually planning to use him in there as much but circumstances were that we felt we needed to put him in there," Worsfold said.

"Credit to him to fight through it because really up until yesterday morning I was checking on him to make sure he was good enough to play today.

"He really performed well."

Mitch Brown ended the game with three majors for the Bombers while Dylan Shiel scored a crucial third-quarter major and ended the match with 28 disposals.

Gold Coast, who have slumped to 14 consecutive defeats, were heartbroken after coming so close to a much-needed victory.

Witts, finished the match with 60 hitouts, while Suns draftee Ben King booted a career-high four goals in a performance coach Stuart Dew said must lead to an AFL rising star nomination for the 19-year-old.

Sam Day, on the back of his new contract extension, booted three goals while Brayden Fiorini and Peter Wright had two majors each in the Suns' highest score of 2019.

After letting a 27-point lead in the third-quarter slip away to an eight-point deficit at the final change, the Suns must have believed their losing run was coming to an end when Burgess goalled with two-and-a-half minutes to play.

Despite seeing his team let the four points slip away, Dew was full of praise for taking the seventh-placed Bombers all the way.

"It's a heartbreaker," Dew said.

"You've got to be in it for that to happen.

"We sat here two weeks ago talking about not allowing those two games to define us and the first two weeks response from that have been pleasing."

Suns defender Jarrod Harbrow was placed on report in the second term after catching Essendon's Matt Guelfi.

Luckily for the veteran, his hip-and-shoulder on Guelfi ended up being only a glancing blow, with the Bomber able to get up to take the free kick.

Essendon host Port Adelaide next weekend while Gold Coast are away against Collingwood.