AFL 3 years ago

Round 11 preview – Dons out for redemption

  • Round 11 preview � Dons out for redemption

Essendon were the first to admit that their performance in round 10 was poor. Coach James Hird was not sugar coating in the post-match press conference when he made it very clear that he was disappointed. In his words, it wasn’t the Essendon way. Since then, a lot of talk has been made about how the WADA saga has weighing on the players. However Hird made it clear that while he believes the ongoing saga is affecting the players, it isn’t an excuse.

So what can we expect this week? Let’s start with the listed sides.

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Full Back

West Coast

Sam Butler

Will Schofield

Brad Sheppard

Full Forward

Essendon

Zack Merrett

Patrick Ambrose

Adam Cooney

Half Back

West Coast

Scott Selwood

Jeremy McGovern

Shannon Hurn

Half Forward

Essendon

Travis Colyer

Shaun Edwards

Joe Daniher

Center

West Coast

Andrew Gaff

Matt Priddis

Sharron Wellingham

Center

Essendon

Dyson Heppell

Jobe Watson

Jake Melksham

Half Forward

West Coast

Josh Hill

Josh Kennedy

Chris Masten

Half Back

Essendon

Brent Stanton

Cale Hooker

Mark Baguley

Full Forward

West Coast

Mark LeCras

Callum Sinclair

Jamie Cripps

Full Back

Essendon

James Gwilt

Michael Hurley

Michael Hibberd

Followers

West Coast

Nic Naitanui

Elliot Yeo

Luke Shuey

Followers

Essendon

Jake Carlisle

Elliott Kavanagh

Brendon Goddard

Interchange

West Coast

Jack Darling

Liam Duggan

Xavier Ellis

Dom Sheed

Interchange

Essendon

Paul Chapman

Martin Gleeson

Ben Howlett

Orazio Fantasia

 

Both teams have 2 changes, West Coast bringing in Jack Darling and Xavier Ellis at the expense of Fraser McInnes and Jackson Nelson (both omitted) while Essendon welcome back captain Jobe Watson and playing in the senior side for the first time, Shaun Edwards. The Bombers this week grounding Courtenay Dempsey and Tom Bellchambers, both omitted with the coach bluntly explaining that the team needs to get more out of them.

So what can we expect? West Coast is a very hard team to beat in Perth, so expect this game to be no different. There is no way the 3rd position team is going to take it easy on the struggling bombers. Spearhead Josh Kennedy will be hard to stop, so expect big men Hooker and Hurley to try and kerb his influence as needed. However Essendon’s biggest worry is going to come from their ruck stocks. They simply haven’t fielded one. Choosing to rest Bellchambers due to form, they will go into the ruck with Jake Carlisle and Joe Daniher sharing the duties. Nic Naitanui is hard to beat in a tap out at the best of times, so inexperienced ruckmen are likely to struggle. This makes the on-ballers job vital to minimize the opposition clearances. If there is any more important game to have Watson return, this is it. Make no mistake, Essendon have an uphill battle on Saturday.

Since 2012, Essendon have only lost 1 game to the West Coast Eagles, this loss coming in round 20, 2013. There is a lot of history with these two teams, no thanks (or thanks?) to Kevin Sheedy’s scarf waving. The tradition lives on with Bomber fans taking every opportunity to wave their scarves when these two sides meet.

Essendon are struggling at the moment, so a win is unlikely. However a competitive performance is expected if the club wants to have a chance of turning around its fortunes for 2015.

Thoughts? Leave them in the comments below.

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