After a disappointing start to the reason, Essendon find themselves 4 wins 7 losses and leading into the bye, 13th on the ladder having lost the last 3 games against North Melbourne, Geelong and West Coast. Having just returned to training from a much needed break, this is what Essendon has to look forward to as they fight to keep their slim finals hopes alive.
Injuries: Essendon have had a rough trot when it comes to injuries this year. Before their season started they were already down the lively Nick Kommer, influential Jason Winderlich and vital shut down player Heath Hocking. Things only got worse with David Myers coming off with an injured shoulder just minutes into the round 1 game and stints on the sidelines to Cooney, Watson, Zaharakis, Chapman, Ashby, Langford and Fletcher. After the bye expect the return of Zaharakis, Winderlich, Myers and Hocking which would surely give Essendon the boost they need.
The return of these key players will also assist in putting pressure on any underperforming players to earn their spots. James Hird has already shown that he is willing to drop players who arenít performing having already omitted key ruckman Tom Bellchambers, lively half back Courtenay Dempsey and subbed Chapman due to form.
VFL: A lot of positives to draw from the VFL, with some exciting form from many players. Shaun Edwards already earned his call-up to face West Coast in round 11 and justified his spot by providing a bit of spark and 2 goals. The reserves have generally been dominant in their league which is good news for the future of this club. A real standout has been Shaun McKernan who is likely to be elevated from the rookie list to become a much needed forward option as well as help in the ruck.
The Draw: Essendon return in round 13 in a similar fashion to the way they started the season. Facing the reigning premiers! After narrowly beating the Hawks in round 2 by 2 points, Essendon will attempt to do the unthinkable and beat Hawthorn twice in a year. They will then face St. Kilda and their usual hoodoo team, Melbourne. St. Kilda have improved greatly since Essendon defeated them by 2 points in round 5 so this shapes up as a game to truly indicate where Essendonís season is.
To make the finals, Essendon have to win 7 or 8 of the remaining 11 games. Facing teams like Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Adelaide, Richmond and Collingwood in the run home means that the Bombers are going to have to resolve their on-field issues very quickly if they are to achieve this. Midfielder David Zaharakis during the week stated that the team is still hopeful of making finals and have not given up, however concedes it is not going to be easy.
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