Preview Round 10: Essendon vs North Melbourne, Docklands, Sunday 23/05/2021, 4:40 PM AEST

Chicken Dinner?

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

Essendon: Essendon beat Fremantle in Melbourne again, in a topsy-turvy battle. Essendon had a 3 goal final quarter to 1 to win the match, but inside midfielder Darcy Parish continued his career best form with 39 disposals, 10 clearances and a goal, whilst Harrison Jones and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti kicked 2 apiece up front.

North Melbourne: North had their first win for the season after being 32 points down at one stage, fighting back to win by 7 points. Jye Simpkin and Ben Cunnington were dominant in the middle, winning 75 disposals and 26 clearances between them whilst up forward mediums Cameron Zurhaar and Taylor Garner kicked 7 goals between them.

Head to Head (last 5)

Essendon 5-0 North Melbourne

Form Guide

Essendon: 1W 3L
North Melbourne: 1W 4L

Sportsbet odds

Essendon: $1.31
North Melbourne: $3.37
Line: 19.5 ($1.90)

Possible sides

Essendon vs North Melbourne

FB: Jordan Ridley - James Stewart - Jayden Laverde
FF: Curtis Taylor - Nick Larkey - Tristan Xerri
HB: Nick Hind - Aaron Francis - Mason Redman
HF: Taylor Garner - Cameron Zurhaar - Tarryn Thomas
MF: Kyle Langford - Andrew McGrath - Brayden Ham
MF: Trent Dumont - Ben Cunnington - Aaron Hall
HF: Will Snelling - Harrison Jones - Archie Perkins
HB: Jack Ziebell - Lachie Young - Kayne Turner
FF: Peter Wright - Cale Hooker - Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
FB: Josh Walker - Ben McKay - Shaun Atley
OB: Andrew Phillips - Zachary Merrett - Darcy Parish
OB: Todd Goldstein - Jye Simpkin - Luke Davies-Uniacke
IC: Matthew Guelfi - Dyson Heppell - Nik Cox - Alec Waterman
IC: Connor Menadue - Charlie Lazzaro - Tom Powell - Will Phillips
IS: David Zaharakis
IS: Jack Mahoney

Essendon in: Alec Waterman; Out: Devon Smith (hamstring)
North Melbourne in: Tristan Xerri; Out: Tom Campbell

North Melbourne defence vs Essendon forward line

Essendon have been the second most efficient forward line in the league this season, kicking a goal 25.10% of the time it enters their forward 50. North Melbourne have been the worst defensive group in the league, conceding a goal 27.08% of the time it enters their defensive 50. Cale Hooker has had a slight downturn in form, but still has 22 goals in 9 games and will likely get young key defender Ben McKay, who is having a real break out year, whilst Josh Walker will probably take Essendon recruit Peter Wright. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is in career best form with 22 goals, no small forward has more this year and will present a challenge for Shaun Atley, Atley, Atley and the other small defenders for North Melbourne.

Midfield/rucks battle

The two clubs have been very weak on the inside this season, Essendon being 16th and 17th for contested possession and clearance difference respectively whilst North Melbourne are 18th and 16th in the two areas respectively. Darcy Parish and Ben Cunnington are likely to go head to head, Essendon will support Parish with the likes of Andrew McGrath, Zach Merrett and Kyle Langford whilst North will be using Luke Davies-Unaicke, Jye Simpkin and Tom Powell on the inside. Essendon will probably hold the advantage on the outside with their style of play and the likes of Nik Cox and Brayden Ham being more utilised on the wings so far this season, whilst North Melbourne will be looking for Aaron Hall to continue his good form so far this season, the outside mid averaging 23 disposals. Rucks wise, Andrew Phillips struggled last week against Sean Darcy and will come up against one of the best rucks in the game in Todd Goldstein.

North Melbourne forward line vs Essendon defence

North Melbourne have the weakest forward line in the AFL, kicking a goal only 17.5% of the time it enters their forward 50. Essendon have struggled defensively this season, conceding a goal 26.14% of the time they enter their forward 50, 16th in the AFL. Nick Larkey is the leading goal scorer for North, with 11 goals in the first 9 games, but will get a tough match up from James Stewart whilst Cameron Zurhaar and Taylor Garner will attract attention from forward cum defender Jayden Laverde and Jordan Ridley respectively in all likelihood, whilst Tarryn Thomas will have a challenge from Nick Hind, who has been one of the recruits of the season.

X-Factor Player

Mason Redman has been a revelation this season, going back to his form in 2019 rather than 2020, his run and carry has been vital in all three of Essendon's victories. Player to watch for this clash.

Key stat

Essendon: Inside 50's. Essendon need 50+ inside 50's to win a game of football, they're good at generating shots at goal when in there.

North Melbourne: Clearances. Their midfield needs to back up their game from last week if they're any chance of victory.


Essendon should be better, so I'll tip them by 23 points.


Jul 6, 2009
AFL Club
They’re up and about this week after their first win in 17 games and we know this is their biggest game of the year, in terms of rivalry.

Also we will hear a lot (from them) this week about their lengthy injury list. Of the 15 on that list last week, only 6 or 7 would be in their best 22 … so a bit overblown, unsurprisingly, by them. Never ideal but fairly similar numbers to us when you consider the quality of players missing for us today and again likely next week.

We play at the same level as the last month and this is a game we win. Not by much but we do. They are due to beat us (it’s been that long) but we would have to put in a collective stinker for that to change next week.

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Brownlow Medallist
Jun 11, 2007
AFL Club
Other Teams
Tottenham, Bayern, Milan, Celtic
In: waterman, cox from sub
Out: Smith, zaka

Please don't lose this game or the next one against them. Even if you don't win again this year.
I hate losing to norf

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Brownlow Medallist
Feb 12, 2010
Right here, right now
AFL Club
Other Teams
Central Districts, Detroit Pistons
Ah yes, the "Norf have a rivalry with us, we don't have a rivalry with them" rivalry game.

Hope we win, else they're only 1 game behind us on the ladder.

Ati Tude

All Australian
Mar 20, 2018
AFL Club
I'd keep playing Hooker. He is still the best lead up and take a grab player we have. And makes it so much easier for Jonesy and 2MP for match ups. I think Waterman in for Smith is the natural swap. Would like to find a place for Ambrose after bagging 6 in the magoos but can only see it happening if they drop 2MP. But that will mean Cox plays 2nd ruck which I don't like.

Wouldn't mind playing Bryan instead of Phillips either. Need to get some games into him whilst Draper is out. Will be tough against Goldstein but Flip was average against Freeo anyway.


Club Legend
Jul 15, 2008
AFL Club
No way would I be dropping Hooker - he's way to important to us structurally - would really like to see Ambrose get a run. I'd go:

OUT: Zakka, Smith, Perkins (SUB)
IN: Cox, Waterman, Ambrose


Francis Stewart Laverde
Redman Ridley Hind
Heppell Merrett Ham
Langford Ambrose Snelling
Jones Hooker Tippa

Phillips Parish McGrath

Bench: Cox Guelfi Waterman 2MP
SUB: Perkins
Last edited:


Brownlow Medallist
Apr 6, 2008
AFL Club
Other Teams
Australian cricket team
Hooker has been great overall for the year. Playing with hands of concrete for a round or two does not mean he should be dropped. He's an experienced head who plays with passion for the club. Very important as we bring through so many kids. However, if he is labouring because he's carrying something, then rest him.

Cox in for Smith is a big boost, and Cox did look a lot fresher in that last quarter than he has in recent weeks. I am guessing they really cut his loads back at training too.

Red Black and Blue

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 1, 2006
AFL Club
Other Teams
Everton, Storm, Victory
The likely move IMO is Ambrose for Smith. Langford to return the wing, Ambrose to the Stringer forward position. Cahill was pretty good too, so maybe a like for like.


All Australian
Sep 9, 2017
AFL Club
Other Teams
A.C. Milan
Ah, the classic 'Essendon should win game '. Only question is do we win by 3pts or end up losing?

Toss of the coin for me if it's Ambrose or Waterman in for Smith. I am assuming Cox in for Zaka and also no issues for Lav this morning either.

I am expecting us to have back to back wins after this one.
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