Essendon vs West Coast vs Fremantle: NAB Cup triple-header live scores, blog

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    Tonight’s NAB Cup games feature Essendon travelling west to take on both West Coast and Fremantle in the triple-header which will feature the Eagles taking on the Dockers in the much anticipated derby between the two rivals. Join us for live scores and blog from 4:30pm local (7:30pm ADST)

    Essendon Bombers

    The Bombers head to Patersons Stadium in Perth to take on the local teams, and it will be a point of interest to note their approach to the NAB Cup. The Dons made the grand final of the NAB Cup in 2011, and started the AFL season well, but peaked early and struggled in the back-half of the season.

    Mark McVeigh is one of the few seasoned players making the road-trip, with captain Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton, Dustin Fletcher and Michael Hurley all missing.

    “Last year we went into the NAB Cup just wanting to play all the guys we possibly could,” McVeigh said.

    “This year you might see an even balance in terms of the whole list playing. Some guys will be playing a half on the weekend, some will play a half in a couple of weeks’ time. It’s going to be a real mixture this year.”

    The Bombers will be looking to show they are faster and stronger than later year, with skipper Jobe Watson to lead a side that have been put through a tough pre-season under new fitness staff at Windy Hill.

    Defender Courtenay Dempsey will play his first game since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in round four last season. He will be joined by a young midfield, that has impressed Watson during the pre-season.

    “It has been really pleasing to see Jake Melksham, Dyson Heppell, Trav Colyer — those guys, the way they have developed they will be able to spend a lot more time in the middle,” Hird said.

    No one will be looking at the scoreboard too closely for these first round clashes – more watching the skills of the younger players and their energy and enthusiasm.

    Fremantle Dockers

    Fremantle will be under-strength with a depth tester in the opening round of the NAB Cup for the side, with a host of players missing.

    Midfielder Michael Barlow has soreness in the leg he broke more than 18 months ago and is not expected to play until later in the pre-season, while David Mundy (ankle) is in doubt for the club’s season opener against Geelong on March 31.

    Other key players not selected for Sunday’s NAB Cup triple-header are Luke McPharlin, Alex Silvagni, Anthony Morabito, Kepler Bradley, Antoni Grover and Jon Griffin.

    New recruits Lachie Neale, Tom Sheridan, Hayden Crozier, Lee Spurr, Haiden Schloithe and Sam Menagola have all been named, meanwhile, and will be given opportunities.

    Forward Matt de Boer says it’s a challenge but an opportunity for the young side.

    “The younger boys are jumping out of their skin to get out there,” said

    “We’ve got a lot of good talent and it’s good to test our depth so early and on a big stage here at home.

    “All the boys have been working hard and we can’t wait to get out there and show what we’ve got.”

    Ross Lyon heads the club for the first time, and his approach from his team and his approach to the opposition will be closely watched.

    De Boer said changes under the former St Kilda coach would be subtle.

    “Obviously we’ve been testing it against ourselves, but testing it out here on Sunday will be a whole new level again and it will be good to test it under game speed and game pressure,” he said. “It’ll be hard to tell [changes] I think.”

    West Coast Eagles

    The Eagles begin their NAB Cup campaign on their home turf at Patersons Stadium, but without star forward Mark LeCras, who is gone for the season with knee troubles.

    West Coast will also be without veterans Daniel Kerr (finger) and ruckman Nic Naitanui (chest) missing from the squad.

    LeCras is the big story of recent days, having snapped the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during training on Thursday, ending his season before it began.

    Former Western Bulldogs forward Josh Hill gets a chance to impress and kick-start his stalled AFL career, and other young Eagles will be looking to take their chances and push their selection hopes.

    Koby Stevens, Brad Sheppard and Tom Swift are three fringe players with plenty to gain from strong NAB Cup performances, among others.

    The Eagles have opted against an intra-club match, while the Bombers and Dockers are fresh from a hit-out – it will be interested to see how the plan goes for West Coast.

    Join us this evening for all the action from the triple-header.

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    The Crowd Says (71)

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    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 11:08pm | ! Report

      After close games on Friday and Saturday, tonight was an evening of one-sided scorelines. A great day for West Coast, looking to build on their solid season last year. The midfield assumed control against Essendon, and the forwards found plenty of space. And then against Fremantle, their defence locked the Dockers out of the contest.
      Fremantle were solid against Essendon, and could have won by more; but were unable to create the same opportunities when the West Coast pressure was applied.
      For the Bombers, it was a night best forgotten; but there’ll be some hard work on the training track before the real stuff starts.

      Thanks for joining us tonight, to end what’s been a big weekend of pre-season action. It’s great to have the footy back for a new season.

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 11:01pm | ! Report

      Final score West Coast 4.6 (30) Fremantle 1.4 (10).

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 11:00pm | ! Report

      Koby Stevens departs in the arms of the trainers, but could be just cramp.

      Finally a Fremantle goal, Ballantyne on the run finds Mellington on the lead. 21 minutes West Coast 4.6 Fremantle 1.4

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:57pm | ! Report

      Dean Cox again, from a tight angle, attempts his third but misses.

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:55pm | ! Report

      Freo throwing caution to the wind, another 9-point shot misses. Eagles go down the other end, and Dean Cox faces minimal opposition to mark and kick his second.

      15 minutes West Coast 4.6 Fremantle 0.4

      • 11:01pm
        Nathan of Perth said | 11:01pm | ! Report

        Getting rough out there for Freo

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:53pm | ! Report

      Fremantle get a free for deliberate out of bounds. but Chris Mayne hits the post.

      Pearce on the run attempts a 9-pointer, but it’s another poster. Frustration for the Dockers.

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:51pm | ! Report

      The Eagles win the ball on centre wing, and after a string of handballs the ball ends up with big Dean Cox who slams the goal through.

      10 minutes West Coast 3.6 Fremantle 0.1

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:48pm | ! Report

      Shannon Hurn intercepts a defensive clearance and finds Luke Shuey 30 out. No mistake from the set shot.

      7 minutes West Coast 2.6 Fremantle 0.1

      • 10:51pm
        Gerry said | 10:51pm | ! Report

        Freo are dead wood again this year

        • Roar Guru

          mds1970 said | 11:10pm | ! Report

          The Dockers looked good against Essendon, and probably should have won by more than they did. But they’ll be disappointed that they couldn’t handle the West Coast defensive pressure in the third game.

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:44pm | ! Report

      3 minutes into the second half, McGovern blazes away but misses – another Eagle point.

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:35pm | ! Report

      Half time. West Coast 1.5 (11) Fremantle 0.1 (1).

      The Dockers attempt a 9-point buzzer beater, but the Eagle defence just manages to get a touch on it before it bounces through.

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:33pm | ! Report

      Finally a goal, as Weedon leads and marks 25 out. His set shot only just squeezes through.

      20 Minutes. West Coast 1.5 Fremantle 0.1

    • Roar Guru

      mds1970 said | 10:31pm | ! Report

      This game has been a contrast to the previous two, with concepts such as manning up, putting numbers back and resolute defence coming into play. The first two games saw loose runners creating space, but none of that this time.

      Another Eagle point – 0.5 to 0.1

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