Courtenay Dempsey of the Bombers gets away from Matthew Wright of the Crows with the help of team mate Michael Hurley during the 2013 AFL round 01 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Bombers at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide on March 22, 2013. (Photo: James Elsby/AFL Media)
Essendon must win to keep up the pressure on the top two when they meet Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium this afternoon. We’ll have live scores from 3.20pm AEST.
Despite the ongoing ASADA investigation beginning to intensify the scrutiny upon the Bombers, they continue to progress on the field seemingly untroubled by what is happening off it.
James Hird’s side have won their past four matches with wins over Carlton, Gold Coast, West Coast and Port Adelaide, and will go into this afternoon’s game expecting to make that five.
Hird has made just one change from the side that beat Port last Sunday, with Nick O’Brien coming in to replace injured skipper Jobe Watson, who is expected to miss a month with a cracked collarbone.
The Bulldogs won their first match in a month last Saturday, edging out the Giants by four points in Canberra.
It was hardly vintage footy from the Dogs, but four points is four points and in doing so they avoided the indignity of becoming the first side to lose to the Giants in 2013.
They’ve looked competitive in the past fortnight against the Dees and Giants, but one suspects they’ll get a better handle on how they’re travelling this afternoon against the Bombers.
Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney named six inclusions in an extended 25-man squad. Among the six are Liam Picken, who comes back in to play his 100th game, as well as Jarrad Grant, Dylan Addison, Daniel Cross, Lachie Hunter and Tom Young.
Essendon have had the better of the Bulldogs in recent times, winning four of their past five encounters, including an 84-point hammering in Round 14 in 2012.
Barring any complacency from the Bombers, they should be able to continue that dominance this afternoon. Find out as we cover the action with live scores from 3.20pm AEST.