Review Preseason Game 1: Carlton vs Essendon, Princes Park, Thursday 25/02/2021 @ 11 am

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

Carlton: Carlton were busy during the off-season, adding Adam Saad and Zach Williams as high profile recruits, but the loss of Tom De Koning and Charlie Curnow early in the season will provide some challenges, but also opportunities for the Blues.

Essendon: Essendon were one of the busiest groups of the off-season, losing three stars but also gaining Nick Hind, Peter Wright and Jye Caldwell through the trade period as well as using 3 top 10 draft picks this year.

Head to Head (last 5)

Carlton 3-2 Essendon

Form Guide


Sportsbet odds (unavailable)

Line: .5 ($1.90)

Possible sides

Carlton vs Essendon

FB: Caleb Marchbank - Lachlan Plowman - Tom Williamson
FF: Will Snelling - Peter Wright - Jayden Laverde
HB: Luke Parks - Liam Jones - Adam Saad
HF: Brayden Ham - Josh Eyre - Alec Waterman
MF: Sam Ramsay - Jack Carroll - Zachary Williams
MF: Thomas Hird - Jye Caldwell - Nikolas Cox
HF: Lachlan Fogarty - Mitchell McGovern - Corey Durdin
HB: Nick Hind - Cody Brand - Ned Cahill
FF: Josh Honey - Levi Casboult - Jack Silvagni
FB: Lachlan Johnson - Zachary Reid - Cian McBride
OB: Marc Pittonet - Paddy Dow - Matthew Cottrell
OB: Nick Bryan - Archie Perkins - Dyson Heppell

IC: Sam Docherty - Zac Fisher - Nic Newman - Will Setterfield
IC: Martin Gleeson - Tom Cutler - Brandon Zerk-Thatcher - Aaron Francis
IC: Michael Gibbons - Liam Stocker - Lochie O'Brien - Sam Walsh
IC: Charlie Byrne - Angus Baker - James Stewart - Sam Draper

Carlton defence vs Essendon forward line

In 2020 Carlton conceded a goal 22.3% of the time it entered their defensive fifty, around mid table for the league. Essendon struggled to kick goals once it entered their forward 50, kicking a goal just 20.1% of the time it entered their forward 50 last season. Seeing as it's the first hit out, both teams will likely be using fringe players or new players to let them stake their claim so expect Essendon's new big man Peter Wright try to impress against Liam Jones for Carlton, averaging a touch under 2 goals a game against the Blues and having never been held goalless against them, whilst former Eagle Alec Waterman will be keen to impress to get another chance on an AFL list, likely to be matched up against former Bomber Adam Saad.

Midfield/rucks battle

In 2020 Carlton were 5th in clearance differential, averaging 2.2 clearances more than their opponents, whilst also being 5th in contested possession differential, averaging 4.5 more than their opponents. Essendon on the flipside were 7th for clearance differential with 1.3 more than your opponents, however they were 15th for contested possession differential, conceding 6.7 more than the opposition. Carlton will be banking on fringe players Paddy Dow and Matt Cottrell, alongside draftee Jack Carroll on the inside whilst Sam Ramsay and Zach Williams will be their main outside mids. Essendon will be working with captain Dyson Heppell, draftee Archie Perkins and new recruit Jye Caldwell for the inside stuff whilst Nikolas Cox and Tom Hird will be trying to strut their stuff on the outside. Rucks wise, with Tom De Koning out Carlton will be going with Marc Pittonet, whilst the Bombers may give a chance to young ruck Nick Bryan.

Essendon defence vs Carlton forward line

Essendon last year conceded a goal 23.3% of the time it entered their defensive fifty, down in the bottom 4 of the AFL. Carlton also struggled to convert inside 50, kicking a goal just 19.5% of the time it entered there. Expect Carlton to let Mitch McGovern, Levi Casboult and Jack Silvagni to compete for that second and third tall position alongside Harry McKay, and may come up against some inexperienced talls for the Bombers with Cody Brand, Zach Reid and Cian McBride the most likely trio to match up on them, so they'll get a really good opportunity to press their claim. Lachlan Fogarty and Corey Durdin will try to press their claim to play round 1 as well, the pair probalbly facing Nick Hind and Ned Cahill, who has made the move to half back this pre-season.

X-Factor Player

Adam Saad made the move from Essendon to Carlton last season and will be keen to win his first game against his old club, and to perform well. Watch him try to use his run and carry to break the lines of Essendon

Key stat

Carlton: Clearance differential. Carlton are very strong in this area, so if they win this it'll go a long way to winning the game.

Essendon: Defensive conversion. This has been the focus of their pre-season apparently, so they need to show it here.


Carlton by 22. Will be better than Essendon this year.
Last edited:

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Hall of Famer
Feb 11, 2015
AFL Club
Other Teams
I'm not a marketing guru, but wouldn't it make more sense to have a non-exlusive stream so that those who were on the fence about signing up could watch and maybe get interested in the season? Preaching to the converted seems like an odd way to go about it...
People will pay just to watch this. It's great marketing.

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