Last week saw a heartbreaking loss to the Bombers while the Doggies bellowed their team song after narrowly defeating Collingwood. This week first year Coach Luke Beveridge's young pups take on embattled Coach James Hird' s latest iteration of the baby Bombers. Beveridge has made no changes to the side that stole the 4 points from the pies. Hird however making 4 changes to the side that just missed out against Port Adelaide.
Essendon have made 3 omissions and one forced change. Out go Shaun McKernan, Ben Howlett and Shaun Edwards with Michael Hurley forced out with a sore knee. Replacing them is Jake Carlisle, Jake Melksham, Adam Cooney and for his first game for Essendon; Jonathan Giles. Clearly the loss of Hurley hurts the Bombers but by bringing in Carlisle, they create the freedom to use either makeshift forward Cale Hooker or Carlisle to cover while not taking away from the forward structure too dramatically. The inclusion of Cooney also adds some much needed experience to the forward line.
So who do Essendon’s back men have to cover? The Doggies actually have a potent forward line, led by Lachie Hunter, Jake Stringer and ex-Bomber Stewart Crameri. It would be likely that Mark Baguley spends the day on Hunter while Gwilt and Carlisle share Crameri and Stringer.
Up forwards for Essendon has Joe Daniher in season best form, shaking the kicking yips seen early this year to be the Dons leading goalkicker. Jackson Merrett and Adam Cooney add some pace while Laverde showed glimpses of his future in his first 2 outings could cause trouble for the young Dogs. However Robert Murphy is possibly in career best form.
The Dons ascendency will take place in the middle, with Giles having the experience over Tom Campbell. With the evenly matched back and forward lines, Essendon’s more experienced mids and ruck could be the difference.
Despite sitting 14th and 6th on the ladder respectively, both sides are evenly matched on paper with no key statistic swinging wildly in either teams favour. What we can look forward to is a close contest with 2 young determined sides that have shown that they will not give up.
Thoughts? Leave them in the comments below.