Consistency the key for Bombers’ finals fortunes

Mark Butters Roar Rookie

By Mark Butters, Mark Butters is a Roar Rookie New author!


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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.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • August 9th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Jutsie said | August 9th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      Fantasia is a big loss. I feel like our success this year has had a strong link to how effective him and tippa (and a lesser extent green) are both in the forward line and pinch hitting in the midfield. A common theme in our poor performances this year has been the three smalls having minimal impact on the game.
      Im not sure how we replace him for the next 5 or so weeks. Begley has been close to selection for a few weeks but not sure if he is a like for like replacement.

    • Roar Guru

      August 9th 2017 @ 9:57am
      TomC said | August 9th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      It looks like all the clubs around the middle of the ladder are struggling for consistency. We as supporters see a disparity in results as examples of inconsistency, but it’s probably more that the league really is just so even that fine differences in form create big differences in outcomes.

    • August 9th 2017 @ 10:06am
      Birdman said | August 9th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      Maybe Justin Gatlin can suit up for the Dons?

      • August 9th 2017 @ 10:26am
        Aransan said | August 9th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        More droppings from Birdman. If you bother to look at Gatlin’s record it is not as bad as people believe, his first strike was due to medication. Sheer class from Bolt in the way he dealt with his defeat.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 9th 2017 @ 10:12am
      Green said | August 9th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      Dons should beat the Crows and keep their finals hopes alive. Crows still haven’t beaten anyone (or really played anyone) away from home.

      It’s the awkward ‘Gold Coast away’ type of game that’ll kill them.

      • August 9th 2017 @ 1:59pm
        sammy said | August 9th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

        go and put $1000 on Essendon to win if you are so sure. The crows have not won any away games, except Hawthorn, Melbourne, Port, Carlton, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Collingwood. From memory they also beat Essendon by 11 goals earlier this year and now you are without 2 of your key players…good luck.

        • Roar Rookie

          August 10th 2017 @ 5:49pm
          Green said | August 10th 2017 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

          They drew with Collingwood, played Melbourne at TIO and Port Adelaide share the same ground as them… so that leaves away wins against Carlton, Brisbane, Gold Coast and a horrifically out of form Hawthorn.

          Thanks for proving my point sammy.

    • August 9th 2017 @ 10:32am
      Aransan said | August 9th 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      Consistency has been a problem for many clubs this season. Essendon have had a very stable team for some time now but there is no small forward available to replace Fantasia. Begley, Laverde and Langford are possible inclusions after the loss of Merrett as well. Kelly and McGrath are both due back after being rested — who will miss out?

      • August 9th 2017 @ 11:17am
        Jutsie said | August 9th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        I think howlett will be out along with merrett and fantasia and kelly, mcgrath and one of the three you mentioned in. I hope its begley

      • August 9th 2017 @ 11:26am
        Mark Butters said | August 9th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

        Great question. Kelly and McGrath come back in for Ambrose and Howlett (probably) but that doesn’t give us a small forward or midfielder.
        Does Begley come in?
        Bellchambers was smacked last week. Is Matthew L due for a return?
        Watson was dreadful unfortunately but might be saved by Merrett’s suspension.
        Langford might be the answer up forward for Fantasia. Keep Howlett for Merrett.

        • August 9th 2017 @ 11:39am
          Aransan said | August 9th 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

          Certainly some indiscipline from Bellchambers last two weeks, 50m penalty for a silly act last week and a free to Roughead in front of goal the previous week. He has an advantage in aggression over Leuenberger but he seems to have trouble in crossing the line. How has Leuenberger been going in the VFL? They had a bye last week. It is worth noting that Kreuzer is one of the top ruckmen in the competition.

          • August 9th 2017 @ 11:50am
            Pope Paul VII said | August 9th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

            He consistently overestimates his awesomeness.

    • August 9th 2017 @ 11:01am
      Mattyb said | August 9th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

      As others have said consistency isn’t an issue with only Essendon.
      For me Essendon are clearly the best of the up and coming sides when at their best. They easily have the best top end talent and the depth through their list seems very good.
      Daniher has the potential to be a superstar of the game and could even be the best Daniher the game has seen,that’s a pretty big statement but so is the talent he possesses.
      Fantasia has been excellent,I also can see him as a superstar of the league.