Preview Round 15: Essendon vs Melbourne, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Saturday 26/06/2021 @ 7:25 PM


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

Essendon: The Bombers struggled to get the game on their terms for most of the match against arch rivals Hawthorne, but a few dominant players on the ground helped them overcome the Hawkes, Jake Stringer having a career best day with 29 disposals and 4 goals proving to be the match winner for the Dons, whilst ruckman Sam Draper had 15 disposals and a whopping 4 contested marks in the ruck.

Melbourne: Melbourne are coming off a bye, but before that they had a disappointing loss to Collingwood, their second in a 4 match period. Luke Jackson was the only multiple goal scorer with 2 to go with his 21 disposals whilst Christian Petracca continued on with his excellent season, collecting 27 disposals, 3 clearances and a goal through the middle

Head to Head (last 5)

Essendon 2-3 Melbourne

Form Guide

Essendon: 4W 1L
Melbourne: 3W 2L

Sportsbet odds

Essendon: $3.80
Melbourne: $1.27
Line: 22.5 ($1.90)

Possible sides

Essendon vs Melbourne

FB: Aaron Francis - James Stewart - Jayden Laverde
FF: Bayley Fritsch - Luke Jackson - Tom McDonald
HB: Nick Hind - Brandon Zerk-Thatcher - Jordan Ridley
HF: Kysaiah Pickett - Ben Brown - Alex Neal-Bullen
MF: Kyle Langford - Archie Perkins - Nik Cox
MF: Angus Brayshaw - Christian Petracca - Ed Langdon
HF: Devon Smith - Harrison Jones - Jake Stringer
HB: Christian Salem - Jake Lever - Michael Hibberd
FF: Peter Wright - Cale Hooker - Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
FB: Harrison Petty - Steven May - Jayden Hunt
OB: Sam Draper - Zachary Merrett - Darcy Parish
OB: Max Gawn - Clayton Oliver - Jack Viney
IC: Brayden Ham - Dyson Heppell - Mason Redman - Will Snelling
IC: James Harmes - Charlie Spargo - James Jordan - Trent Rivers
IS: Matthew Guelfi
IS: Tom Sparrow

Essendon in: Will Snelling, Aaron Francis; Out: Ned Cahill (omitted), Tom Cutler (unused sub)
Melbourne in: Ben Brown, Jack Viney; Out: Sam Weideman (omitted), Jake Melksham (unused sub)

Melbourne defence vs Essendon forward line

Essendon have been the second most efficient forward line in the league this season, kicking a goal 26.13% of the time it enters their forward 50. Melbourne have been the most effective defence this season, conceding a goal only 19.04% of the time it enters their defensive 50. This sets up to be an intriguing battle as the Melbourne defence sets up really well against Essendon's forwards, with Steven May likely to take the dangerous Cale Hooker, who has 29 goals so far this year whilst Harrison Petty should challenge Peter Wright defensively, whilst Michael Hibberd is likely to get the task of shutting down the red hot Jake Stringer.

Midfield/rucks battle

Essendon are 14th and 15th in clearance and contested possession difference respectively, whilst Melbourne are 11th and 3rd in those particular categories so far this year. Essendon will be again reliant on Darcy Parish, who is having a career best year, on the inside whilst players like Jake Stringer, Zach Merrett and Kyle Langford will be helping out in there at times. Melbourne have excellent inside depth with the likes of Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney all strong around the contest, with able support from James Harmes and James Jordan. On the outside is where Essendon will look to exploit the Demons with the likes of Nik Cox and Brayden Ham, although Angus Brayshaw and Ed Langdon have been very good as well this season so far. Rucks wise, Sam Draper is coming back from injury and may struggle to beat the big man around the ground.

Melbourne forward line vs Essendon defence

Melbourne have been the middle of the road in terms of goals/inside 50 this year, in 8th spot with a goal kicked 23.12% of the time it enters their forward 50. Essendon have struggled defensively this season, conceding a goal 25.18% of the time they enter their forward 50, 17th in the AFL. Melbourne will be hoping Ben Brown can lift and become the really good key forward they need, the tall likely to get attention from James Stewart, who has made the switch to defence. Another who has changed position this season has been Jayden Laverde, who will likely take Bayley Fritsch, a mature aged recruit who has shown signs throughout.

X-Factor Player

Kysaiah Pickett. I don't think I need to say anything else.

Key stat

Essendon: Offensive efficiency. They're up against one of the strongest back lines in the AFL and need to break it if they're to win.

Melbourne: Contested Possessions. They win this, they most likely win the game.


Gonna struggle here. Melbourne by 27
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Brownlow Medallist
Dec 23, 2014
AFL Club
Other Teams
LCFC, LAL, Stars, 49ers, Canadiens
Snelling back?

Francis also comes in if he is ready to return.

I just want us to be competitive in this one. No serious expectations.

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Ati Tude

Club Legend
Mar 20, 2018
AFL Club
Of all the times to get them this year, no better time than next week. They might be rusty off the bye, have some self doubt after losing to Pies and we blew some cobwebs out today and will be better for the run, especially Draper before taking on Gawn. Don't think we will win, but better this week than earlier in the year when they were flying. Can we move it to Tassie?


Brownlow Medallist
Aug 28, 2016
AFL Club
Think Hawthorn's intercept game, but triple it.
It's going to be frustrating watching Gawn, Lever and May mark our kicks all day.

Can't see us causing an upset. They'll be more prepared than they were vs Collingwood.

Waterman and Snelling having become a key component of our side. Hoping they're available.


Brownlow Medallist
May 13, 2009
AFL Club
Other Teams
Plenty of substandard performances tonight vs Hawthorn, although some by players were returning from injury - Dev, Wright, Hooker, Ham, Cox, Cahill, Perkins

Ham and Cahill in the gun for me if Snelling and Zaka are ready

BZT needs a consistent run at it without living week to week on whether Francis's body, or mind, is up to it. Hope he stays. Can blood Reid later in the season if our finals race is cooked after losses to Melb and Geel in the next fortnight.


Jul 6, 2009
AFL Club
The hardest couple of weeks (fixture wise) for our season coming up.

Melbourne (MCG) followed by Geelong at Kardinia Park.

The fixture after this (besides a clash with the Bulldogs) is very kind to us.

We need to try and maintain percentage over the next couple of games. It’s very unlikely we win either.

Melbourne’s midfield has been next level for a majority of the year.

It’s a great game though to challenge ourselves against a top 4 team with absolutely no external expectations that we are going to win. We will be significant outsiders, which should suit us fine.


Club Legend
Sep 22, 2014
AFL Club
Just protect our percentage!

IN - Francis, Snelling
OUT - BZT, Cahill, Cutler

Sub - Zaka.

Though, potentially, Ham could make way for Zaka. Who knows.

Shiel back for the Cats game?
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