Bombers still in good form, say Dockers
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon won’t be fooled into complacency by Essendon’s mid-season form wobble, claiming the Bombers should be considered clear favourites for Saturday night’s AFL clash at Patersons Stadium.
The Bombers (8-3) have lost their past two matches to slip from equal first to sixth on the table, with their six-point loss to lowly Melbourne in round 10 coming as a particular shock.
In a bid to revitalise his team, Essendon coach James Hird has made four changes this week, dropping Ricky Dyson, Sam Lonergan and Tom Bellchambers on top of losing Alwyn Davey to suspension.
The mass changes have paved the way for ruckman David Hille to make his first appearance since round two, while Kyle Reimers, Michael Hibberd and Cory Dell’Olio also return to the side.
Fremantle also made four changes, but all of them were forced.
Star midfielder Stephen Hill (ankle), ruckman Aaron Sandilands (turf toe), defender Zac Dawson (knee) and goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne (suspended) were replaced by Nick Lower, Zac Clarke, Alex Silvagni and Jayden Pitt.
Lyon said Essendon’s recent showing against Sydney, when they came from 47 points down at the final change to almost snatch victory, proved the Bombers were still in good nick and capable of knocking off the competition’s best sides.
“Their form is rock solid,” Lyon said on Thursday.
“I think they’ve lost three games by a collective total of two goals or something like that.
“They had 73 (forward-50m) entries (against Sydney) and I think if you have 73 entries you’re not really out of form, are you?
“They come over expectant, their win-loss is really strong, and we clearly are the underdogs in all this.
“But we come out of our victory (against Richmond) with some belief in what we’re doing and we’re really expectant to come out and perform at a high level.”
Lyon said Dockers wingman Anthony Morabito, whose last AFL match was the semi-final defeat to Geelong in 2010, would spend at least one more week in the WAFL to help him build greater momentum in his comeback from a knee reconstruction.© AAP 2013
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