It’s been a long wait, but now the time has come round and the boys in the red and black are back for the 2017 season.
It’s been a tough ride, and many players have reconsidered their love for the game, but it hasn’t stopped them from signing on and playing this year. The preseason has just gone and finished up with a blast, and the regular season is in a week, but the big question for many people in the AFL community is this: how will the Bombers go?
There has been some positive signs coming from the preseason this last month, seeing the senior players returning to the game but joined by a bunch of fresh and new players, who gained experience at Essendon last year.
The speed of play, accuracy at goal and efficiency in ball movement were the highlights, and seeing new contracted players like James Stewart, set up in the forward line, has really provided a large pulse of energy and excitement throughout the Essendon community.
But again, will this be the same in 2017? Essendon played some teams that are top eight challengers (in particular, Geelong) and were able to produce an exciting game, but only to fall short of a win in the fourth quarter.
With this in mind, Essendon face Hawthorn in Round 1 on the 25 March at the MCG, who also have new faces, but have a side full of experience from previous seasons.
It will be interesting to see whether the intensity of ball movement and accuracy in front of goal will continue from the preseason, and whether the midfield that has been plagued with suspensions last year, will be able to hold up against the Hawks.
Another question is how Joe Daniher will perform this season. According to AFL.com.au a month ago, they have tipped Daniher to be the man to rise this year as a forward, but will he improve to the extent that Essendon can win games and produce a finals berth since the ASADA investigations?
All of the AFL community and the supporters at Essendon should be keen to see a great return and hopefully an Essendon comeback.