Preview Essendon vs North Melbourne, Docklands, Saturday 13/07/19 @ 4:35 PM

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Premium Gold
Jan 11, 2007
AFL Club
Other Teams
Coburg Lions, All Boston sides

Essendon: Won a terrible game of football against Sydney to stay within touching distance of the top 8, a see-sawing affair saw neither team get to more than a 3 goal lead. Dylan Shiel was excellent with 29 disposals whilst being tagged whilst David Zaharakis kicked 3 goals to go with his 22 disposals plying more of a half forward role.

North Melbourne: North had an excellent win against St. Kilda to keep themselves in the finals hunt by 39 points, kicking 7 goals to one in the opening quarter to set up the win. Jy Simpkin showed why he was so highly rated by North with 36 disposals and 9 clearances whilst Cameron Zurhaar kicked 5 goals in a break out performance

Head to Head (last 5)

Essendon 3-2 North Melbourne

Form Guide

Essendon: 4W 1L
North Melbourne: 4W 1L

Sportsbet odds

Essendon: $1.72
North Melbourne: $2.10
Line: 5.5 ($1.90)

Possible sides

Essendon vs North Melbourne

B: Aaron Francis - Cale Hooker - Adam Saad
F: Lachlan Hosie - Nick Larkey - Kayne Turner
HB: Conor McKenna - Michael Hurley - Mason Redman
HF: Jy Simpkin - Ben Brown - Cameron Zurhaar
C: Andrew McGrath - Dylan Clarke - Zach Merrett
C: Jared Polec - Paul Ahern - Trent Dumont
HF: Matthew Guelfi - Jake Stringer - Orazio Fantasia
HB: Jasper Pittard - Robbie Tarrant - Shaun Atley
F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti - Shaun McKernan - Jayden Laverde
B: Marley Williams - Sam Durdin - Scott Thompson
R: Zach Clarke - Dylan Shiel - Dyson Heppell
R: Todd Goldstein - Ben Cunnington - Jack Ziebell
I: Darcy Parish - Martin Gleeson - Kyle Langford - David Zaharakis
I: Jed Anderson - Luke Davies-Uniacke - Luke McDonald - Tarryn Thomas

Essendon in: Dyson Heppell; Out: Mitchell Brown (omit)
North Melbourne in: Lachlan Hosie; Out: Mason Wood

North Melbourne defence vs Essendon forward line

Essendon are ranked 10th in the AFL in terms of goals per inside 50 entry, getting one 21.6% of the time it enters the 50. North's defence can be very leaky, conceding a goal 24.8% of the time it enters their defensive 50. Despite this, Robbie Tarrant is enjoying an excellent year against the best key forwards in the game, who is likely to take Shaun McKernan who had a day out last time he played against North. That'll leave Scott Thompson and Sam Durdin to cover dangerous medium forwards Jayden Laverde and Jake Stringer. Marley Williams will likely take dangerous small Orazio Fantasia who kicked 4 goals in the last meeting on Good Friday, leaving Jasper Pittard likely to take Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.

Midfield/rucks battle

Essendon are falling down the clearance differential ladder, slipping from 3rd to 6th in the last two weeks, and have slipped from 5th to 10th in contested possession differential during the same time. Despite having one of the best clearance midfielders in the game in Ben Cunnington, North Melbourne are only 13th and 8th in those particular areas. Essendon are likely to send young tagger Dylan Clarke to Cunnington, in an effort to quell his considerable influence, the midfielder averaging 23 disposals and 5 clearances the last 5 times these teams have met, but expect Essendon's big three in Dylan Shiel, Dyson Heppell and Zach Merrett to pick up where they left off, the midfielder having 117 disposals and 17 clearances between the three of them last time. The big difference from last time though will be Zach Clarke playing instead of Tom Bellchambers against Todd Goldstein, which may get very ugly.

North Melbourne forward line vs Essendon defence

North's forward line has been good since interim coach Rhyce Shaw's taken over, now averaging a goal 23.1% of the time it enters forward 50. Essendon conced a goal 19.7% of the time it enters their defensive 50, ranking at 5th overall so far this year. Ben Brown promises to be the toughest forward for Essendon to deal with, Cale Hooker likely to get the job with Patrick Ambrose missing, who did the job on him last time. Nick Larkey has been promising in the VFL but will get a tougher match-up this week against Michael Hurley, and potential debutant Lachlan Hosie probably getting Aaron Francis, the pair going through juniors together in South Australia. Tarryn Thomas and Cameron Zurhaar will be tricky match-ups, but luckily Essendon have arguably the best defence to deal with them in Martin Gleeson and Mason Redman likely to match them.

X-Factor Player

Jed Anderson is one midfielder that has flown under the radar whilst in Blue and White, but he's become a very strong part of their side this season. One to definitely look out for in the middle

Key stat

Essendon: Conversion inside 50. North always give you chances, Essendon need to take them if they're to win this.

North Melbourne: Clearances. Use the inside midfielders and ruckmen you have and beat the Dons around the ball.


This game is very important for Essendon to stay in contact with the 8, Essendon by 5 head rubs (or goals)
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Brownlow Medallist
Apr 20, 2011
AFL Club
This will be a huge test, we are a battered group at the moment and if there is a side to test you around the ball it will be this mob.

They have really caught fire lately and we are going to have to be on to compete. Crazy the difference in their football, I'd say the earlier years game is pretty much irrelevant, too much has changed since then.


Brownlow Medallist
Sep 12, 2003
under the table
AFL Club
Other Teams
Not important
Norf will be coming into the game looking for revenge. They were utterly hopeless against us last time however they were being coached by a complete sour cream covered spud. So much has changed for them since and they're red hot. MASSIVE GAME.

Hopefully we get Heppell back and we never talk of Zak Clarke again. Leave Smack in the ruck. Would love to see Hooker start forward.


Brownlow Medallist
May 5, 2009
AFL Club
This pricks would be fired up for embrassing them on good Friday

Must win

They seem to be one of the few clubs that operate this way.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's part of the discussion. Other than Derbys and Showdowns I doubt that are many games played in a year where this is the case.

They're also playing the footy the list is capable of and are nothing like the team we played in April.

I still think they're a good match-up for us. All things being equal they will still struggle with our run.


Brownlow Medallist
Aug 28, 2016
AFL Club
Hartley in and to defence. Hooker has to go forward. Clarke OUT. Was involved in almost all Sydney goal chains.

Heppell in if he is available for Guelfi or Langford.


Brownlow Medallist
Apr 11, 2002
AFL Club
Other Teams
Iggles, 76ers
Hopefully Heppell will be back for Langford or Guelfi I guess, Clarke tries to ruck again & hopefully marginally improves, can't leave it all to Smack who we need forward at times.

Norf really should go in as favourites given the way they are playing.

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Jul 6, 2009
AFL Club
Two Grand Finals in a year for them. They will be up and about this week, especially if they beat the Saints tomorrow which is most likely to happen.

Our last three outings against them have returned winning scores of 20.12.132, 19.11.125 & 17.14.116 - our forwards generally like the way they have played. Under Rhyce Shaw they have adjusted their game style and have undoubtedly improved but I don't think we are going to be intimidated by this.

We will start favourites, like we did today, but it will be a challenging game purely because they will be keen to respond after Good Friday and they love nothing more than beating us. A very important one in the scheme of our season... we could very well end theirs (pretty much officially) next week and make our own way up into the top half of the ladder.

I think we're the better team but that doesn't always do the job.


Brownlow Medallist
Jul 6, 2002
AFL Club
Other Teams
Arsenal, Pacers
We'll need Heppell.

Hard to get a read on our form but feel like this will either be the match where our poor play catches up with us, or where we finally click.

Cold Sober

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 28, 2016
AFL Club
Other Teams
Man U .White Sox;Storm,Victory
We're due to play a good one, blow em away in the first half.
Need to win convincingly for the lead up to Adelaide


Brownlow Medallist
Jun 11, 2007
AFL Club
Other Teams
Tottenham, Bayern, Milan
In: Heppell (assuming he isn't dead or something)
Out: Brown

Hooker forward.

Redman Hurley Gleeson
Saad Francis McKenna
Merrett Heppell Shiel
Zaka McKernan Fanta
Stringer Hooker Tippa
Clarke Clarke Parish
Laverde McGrath Guelfi Langford

Thats still not a bad team. Ideally we'd have a better ruck.
Gonna be a grind, and can't be too expecting of great disposal with the pressure North bring.
Hopefully the Rhyce effect wears off and they return to being bottom 4 sh*te, and we win by 11 goals. I would forego christmas and birthday presents for this :D


Club Legend
Jul 15, 2008
AFL Club
We cant drop Clarke - Goldstein will have a field day....Dont know who will make way for Heppell though...maybe Brown...??? Hooker will have to spend some time up forward when McKernan is in the ruck. I'd have;-

OUT: Brown
IN: Heppell

Hurely Francis McKenna
Gleeson Hooker Saad
Merrett Shiel Parish
Zakka Laverde Tippa
McKernan Stringer Fantasia

Z.Clarke Heppell D.Clarke

Bench: Langford McGrath Redman Guelfi


Brownlow Medallist
Aug 28, 2016
AFL Club
We're due to play a good one, blow em away in the first half.
Need to win convincingly for the lead up to Adelaide
North are much improved. I'd be happy to scrape it in again. I think Adelaide are quite average. Hopefully that can be the statement game.
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