Consistency the key for Bombers’ finals fortunes

Mark Butters Roar Rookie

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    The inconsistency that has plagued Essendon all season will take centre stage in the final three rounds, with two wins possibly giving the Bombers their first chance to see September since going down to North Melbourne by two goals in the 2014 elimination final.

    The Bombers face a red-hot Adelaide in Melbourne, the Suns bereft of any form, and a Dockers side with nothing to play for.

    The largest question is which Essendon side will turn up? At their best, the Bombers are capable of beating the finest, and at their worst their ability to beat the teams on the bottom of the ladder is anyone’s guess.

    Much of Essendon’s inconsistency can be placed in the hands of their key forwards, with the finishing skills of Joe Daniher and Cale Hooker an ongoing source of frustration.

    Daniher is currently scoring at 57 per cent having slotted 56 goals, 33 behinds in 2017, while Hooker scores at a similar 55 per cent converting 35 goals, 24 behinds this season.

    Daniher has had a breakout year, while Hooker continues to polarise with his inconsistency up forward. Hooker’s ability to take a strong mark is undeniable but his goal kicking is an entirely different proposition. His lack of conversion against the Bulldogs in Round 19 was a major hurdle to a Bomber victory and his lack of accuracy almost single-handedly cost his side victory against a plucky Carlton in Round 20.

    The Dons’ conversion rate over the past two weeks (24 goals, 37 behinds) needs improvement and the team’s success will hinge on whether it’s forthcoming.

    John Worsfold’s task, toppling the ladder-leading Crows this week, has been dealt two huge blows. Orazio Fantasia is set to miss several weeks with a hamstring injury, while Zach Merrett’s brain fade against the Blues sees him miss a week for striking.

    After four years of turmoil, the Bombers faithful are tired of surprises, with members yearning for consistent results and a return to September success.

    If Essendon bring some consistency to the next three weeks of football, their finals hiatus could be over.