Game Day Round 9: Essendon v Brisbane, Friday 31/7/20, Metricon Stadium, 8.10pm AEST

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VelvetSledge

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ESSENDON BOMBERS

Let's be honest, a team decimated by injury and piss poor form was always going to struggle.
This was cited as a danger game from the get go for a good reason; we always have a hard time against the winless teams, and Adelaide at home with a vocal home crowd was always going to be tough.
Admittedly, it seemed as though we were somewhat aided by poor officiating this time, which makes a nice change.
Conor McKenna showed why he really should have had a spell after surgery on his finger; he made constant mistakes, albeit one blazing run through the guts, and will benefit from a week off this week to recuperate and rest up with the fixture crunch arriving.
Jayden Laverde finally looked like that strong power forward we always wanted him to be, and looked to be in great touch... Until the dreaded word 'syndemosis' reared its head again. With his ankle caught under a Crows defender, it twisted, and he's now out for most of the season. Just shithouse luck.
Kyle Langford has been the quiet achiever this year, and has really cemented himself as a solid player around goals; he'll just have to do it next week, as he's copped a suspension from the MRO Chook Lotto.
The midfield duo of Merrett and McGrath is really starting to generate some huge hype, and for good reason. Their numbers last week were huge in short quarters.
Jesus Christ how ******* good is Jordan Ridley?!
We really wanted to give it away in the final minutes, but steadfast defence saw us survive with a three point win.

ADELAIDE CROWS 8.11 59 def. by ESSENDON BOMBERS 9.8 62

BEST:
Merrett, McGrath, Langford, Snelling, Parish, Ridley
GOALS: Zaharakis 3, Langford 2, Laverde, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Snelling, Townsend

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BRISBANE LIONS

Leading at 3QT by three goals, the Lions looked home and hosed before the Demons fought back through three quick goals to put huge pressure on the Lions.
They withstood the huge fright, and milking the clock down, came away with a four point win; aided by a stupid Bailey Fritsch decision which cost the Demons a 50m penalty.
The Lions simply played the slippery game better than the Demons, even though they weren't at their best.
Lachie Neale continued to firm as the Brownlow favourite, with 33 touches and seven clearances.
Charlie Cameron cemented himself as one of the game's premier small forwards, and his speed and strength is proving to be a huge bonus to the Lions forward set up.
Daniel Rich injuring his hamstring again was one of the lowlights of the night, with the veteran set to miss this week.
Dan McStay was given a two week suspension for cleaning up Neville Jetta, and Archie Smith was also injured after coming in for Stefan Martin.

MELBOURNE DEMONS 7.7 49 def. by BRISBANE LIONS 7.11 53

BEST:
Neale, Lyons, McCluggage, Bailey, Zorko, Starcevich
GOALS: Cameron 2, Bailey, Hipwood, McCarthy, Rayner, Zorko


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DEBUTS:
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ESSENDON - SAM DRAPER, #38
Pick #1, 2016 Rookie Draft

203cm, 107kg - RUCK
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BRISBANE - CONNOR BALLENDEN, #38
Pick #43, 2017 National Draft
200cm, 101kg - KEY FORWARD

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MILESTONES:

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200 GAMES - MITCH ROBINSON, BRISBANE
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100 GAMES - ADAM SAAD, ESSENDON

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Wholesale changes are going to become the norm with this bizarre season we're in, so there's a bit to get through here. 10 changes across both sides this week, so let's get stuck in.

The Bombers have seen fit to rest Conor McKenna, who's form and output has been noticeably poor since returning (far too quickly) from hand surgery. Alongside him is Shaun McKernan, who has also struggled being the sole focal point of the forward line. He's been held goalless in his last three games, so it's good to freshen him up for the huge amount of games coming thick and fast from this point on. Mitch Hibberd can consider himself a little stiff to be dropped considering last week he had arguably his best game in the red and black, but he'll get his chance again. Kyle Langford was suspended for a seriously soft head high hit, but hey, he plays for Essendon. He was always going to cop a suspension. As mentioned previously, Jayden Laverde has fallen victim to 2020's buzz-injury, a syndesmosis. The ins, however, are extremely exciting. Arguably our best player, Dylan Shiel, returns from a bullshit suspension and will be absolutely pinging to get back out there. Ex-Lion Tom Cutler returns to the side after overcoming a calf issue, and his hard running on the wings and inside knowledge of the Lions could well prove to be a valuable asset come 8.10pm. Brandon Zerk-Thatcher is back in the lineup to help replace McKenna with more defensive game smarts. He looked to be a great find last year when he strung some games together, so it's great to see the big fella back in the lineup this week alongside Jordan Ridley. That's a pairing to set your watch to.

It's been 790 games since James Stewart last played for Essendon. Since then, he's been hampered by the dreaded OP and persistant groin issues. After finally returning to the main group in training, and having been the biggest loser in McKenna's COVID story (in having to self isolate by himself for two weeks when he never actually had the virus), he's regained match fitness in the hub and he finally gets his chance tonight. He showed plenty of talent in 2017 when he played most games, so it'll be amazing to have him back. Welcome back Jim!

And now, Sammy Draper. This has to have been the most hyped debut for Essendon in a very, very long time. He's knocked back huge offers from St Kilda, signed a 4 year deal with Essendon, and we obviously see him as our new number 1 ruckman. The 107kg behemoth was signed as a number one rookie back all the way back in 2016, and is now finally getting his chance on the big stage on a Friday night. The big fella was in line for a debut last year, as he was insane form in the VFL before he did his ACL. Now, over 12 months later, he's in. A strong tap ruckman with great goal sense and a huge mark, Sam looks to have the whole package that we've missed in these past few years in the wilderness. Whilst we're all excited for him to get in there and go hell for leather, we need to temper expectations somewhat. 4 goals will be fine Sammy, don't over exert yourself.

The Lions have been hit with injury, with Archie Smith, Ryan Lester, and veteran Daniel Rich all forced out through injury. Daniel McStay was suspended, as mentioned before, and Thomas Berry has been dropped.

Coming into the Lions side is the big unit Cam Ellis-Yolmen, alongside Sam Skinner and Noah Answerth. The once-hyped Alex Witherden is back in the lineup for just his second appearance this year, whilst the Lions are also playing an enormous debutant. Connor Ballenden is a 200cm giant key forward, who's been with the Lions since he was only 12 years old. Now 21, he finally gets his chance against one of the most in-form backlines in the league.


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ROUND 4, 2019
MCG
13/4/19

ESSENDON BOMBERS 17.10 112
def.
BRISBANE LIONS 9.11 65

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ESSENDON GOALS: McDonald-Tipungwuti 7, Brown 3, Fantasia, McGrath 2, Baguley, Stringer, Merrett
LIONS GOALS: McStay, McCluggage 2, McCarthy, Hipwood, Mathieson, Berry, McInerney

ESSENDON BEST: McDonald-Tipungwuti, Merrett, Zaharakis, Shiel, Brown
LIONS BEST: Neale, Witherden, Berry, Rich, McCluggage

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CHANGES SINCE THEN

ESSENDON OUTS:
Brown, Hooker, Heppell, McKenna, Myers, Fantasia, Stringer, Z. Clarke, Baguley, Ambrose
ESSENDON INS: Francis, Zerk-Thatcher, Cutler, Ham, Snelling, Townsend, Draper, Gleeson, Cahill, Stewart

LIONS OUTS: Rich, Christensen, Hodge, Martin, Walker, Mathieson, McStay, Robertson
LIONS INS: Ah Chee, Birchall, Starcevich, Bailey, Skinner, Ellis-Yolmen, Ballanden, Answerth


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Both teams had less than ideal performances last week and will be looking to atone for poor efforts. Mass changes usually mess with team cohesion, but with the return of big Jim Stewart and the debut of the monstrous Sam Draper, we can expect to see a much more bouyant Essendon outfit tonight.

It'll be close, and I imagine this could swing either way.

Essendon by 2.
 
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CBombers17

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Watch Set!! Great write up VelvetSledge thanks.

Melbourne looked wrecked last night after their close one with Brisbane. Hard to get any great feel on formlines from us either.

Battle of the top selections too tonight - McGrath V Mccluggage.
 

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Godzke

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Good changes, reflects the need for taller (and better) marking options

I mentioned on the main board that the teams that will navigate the compressed fixture best will be those who can control tempo and there's no better way to do that than taking a lot of marks. This team gives us that opportunity, despite ranking a lowly 12th for marks. I get that we like to move on quickly and prefer chaos balls into the F50 but that is quite simply not sustainable. We need to hit big targets. Down the line or i50, needs to happen. Excessive rebound footy will see this team burnout very quickly.
 

Seagrave_Holmes

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Unless I'm missing someone obvious, this is the first ruckman since Bellchambers to make his AFL debut for us.


Just a chill 12 years, 1 month and 12 days. No big deal.
Yeah that is a crazy stat.

I think our listed rucks 2008 onwards looks something like this:

- Fraser Thurlow
- Jonathan Giles
- Matthew Leunberger
- Mark Jamar
- Zac Clarke
- Gach Nyuon
- Luke Lavender
- Sam Draper
- Nick Bryan
- Andrew Phillips
- Crauford
 

ghostdog

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Hoping Cutler steps up in this game. He'll be seriously tested by Robinson's running power and physicality if they end up on the same wing.

Four talls in the changes rings in the marking power. Really need Stewart to convert his opportunities. Wondering if we'll see much Stewart to Bellchambers...
 

JT_the_Man

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Tippa to kick 7 again. Bombers to win.

Oh, and don’t forget the part where Draper is leading the Coleman, Brownlow, and is the first choice ruck for AA by the end of the night.
 

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blitzer

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Our midfield stacks up preeeetty badly against theirs
Personally I think our midfield stacks up really well against theirs. Much more concerned about our forward line.
Their midfield isn't like the Dogs which have a mass of big bodied players and a ruck that can really do strong work around the clearances. We are much more capable of matching up on pacier opponents. We saw it last year too when we absolutely smacked them. I doubt we will have it so easy tonight since our forward line is a mess but yeah i'm confident we can be competitive in the middle.
 

sameolds33

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Thanks VS, I'm looking forward to this. We lose badly - that's the worst that can happen. Many other things that might also happen in this strange and unsettled season.
 

JayJ20

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I don't have a good feeling about this one. Too many injuries. Hopefully we can be competitive for 4 quarters and prevent a blowout.
 

rumply

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Hearing the Hawkes come back to burst the Carlton bubble has sort of given me a bit of hope with this one, maybe just maybe...
 

owen87

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Really excited to see Draper get a debut, a talented young ruck with potential is something we’ve been wanting for years. Hopefully he gets through, does a few nice things and holds his spot next week.

20 disposals, 50 hitouts and 4 goals should do it.
 
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