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It’s the battle of the western suburbs as the Western Bulldogs face the Essendon Bombers on Saturday evening. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:40pm (AEST).
Both teams lost games they should of won last round, and they also share a win loss record of 2-4.
These teams have more in common than long lost identical twins – both teams have an average age of 24, both are outside the top eight and both need to pick up a win to keep pace with the top eight.
Essendon lead the competition in kicks as they look to play a possession based free flowing game – they’re second last for tackles however. If the game becomes a scrap, don’t write off the Bulldogs to post a win.
Brendan McCartney has looked to utilise his sides strength in youth and pace, as they are second for handballs.
The young side will look to get it out of defence quickly and put pressure on Essendon’s suspect defending group.
It’s a catch-22 for the Dogs, if they shut down the game it won’t suit Essendon too well, but if they attempt to play the way they want to, they might find Essendon are a season or two ahead of them in ability.
Both teams are outside the top eight when in comes to tackles, which should mean a free flowing game, unless Brendan McCartney attempts to out-fox Bomber Thompson.
Why Essendon will win: Essendon lead the competition in kicks, handballs and marks. One good quarter from the bombers and the game could blow out.
If they play the game on their terms, the Bulldogs won’t be able to stop them. Essendon on their day can thrash any club.
However, like we saw last week, Essendon haven’t worked out how to counterattack the defensive, hard tackling press that many clubs are now using.
Why the Bulldogs will win: Brendan McCartneys side showed against Adelaide last week that they can go the distance if the game becomes a slog. Whilst they lost they showed their capable of playing four quarters of tough footy – this is where they can shock the bombers.
Ryan Griffen, Matthew Boyd and Tom Liberatore will need to be on their game to make sure Essendon’s sleek midfield don’t run away with the game.
By no means is an Essendon win a certainty, they will go in as favourites. The Bulldogs will need to have a strong first half if they’re to contend.