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Dylan Shiel will play his 150th game as the Essendon Bombers look to make it three on the trot against the suddenly good again North Melbourne Kangaroos. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 4:35pm (AEST).
Essendon are shooting for their 100th victory in 158 matches against the Kangaroos in this one, and just a month ago, you would have said that was as close to a sure thing as there is in footy.
But now, with Brad Scott shown the door and Rhyce Shaw righting the ship for North Melbourne, their finals aspirations are suddenly re-ignited, and this match promises to be a good one.
While the Kangaroos getting one over St Kilda last week was maybe more or less expected, their absolute flogging off the Collingwood Magpies two weeks ago wasn’t.
They beat the 2018 grand finalists by 44 points, limiting the Magpies to just 37 of their own, and the effort and intensity on defence was great to see.
There is still plenty to do to convince this is a finals-bound and consistent footy side, but the Roos can build positively on the last fortnight, with the players responding well to change. They currently sit on 28 points in tenth spot.
One place ahead of them is the Bombers, who have also run into some nice form, winning four of their last five. They have played a number of home games, but back-to-back wins over the two Sydney based sides in the last two weeks really puts them in a good spot moving forward.
The closeness of both matches also illustrates they have been playing fairly well under pressure, and that’s something they can take into today’s game.
It really does feel like it could go either way with very little to split the two teams at their best, however, accuracy in front of goal will be a factor for two sides who do have the tendency to spray it around.
For that reason, marking up on Ben Brown and Shaun McKernan respectively up front will be critical.
Where Essendon may struggle though is in the ruck. They have big injuries there, and Todd Goldstein has been on fire for the Kangaroos. With Ben Cunnington for support and a strong midfield, a significant in hitouts will cruel the Bombers.
I’m going to take the Kangaroos to continue their winning ways. They appear to have too much in the midfield, with Ben Brown to capitalise and kick a bag.
Kangaroos by 8 points.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this match from 4:35pm (AEST) and don’t forget to get involved by adding a comment in the section below.
First bounce: 4:35pm (AEST)
Venue: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
TV: Live, Fox Footy
Online: Live, Foxtel App, Foxtel Now, Kayo Sports
Betting: Kangaroos $1.88, Bombers $1.92
Overall record: Played 157, Bombers 99, Kangaroos 57, Drawn 1
Last meeting: Round 5, 2019 – Kangaroos 7.15 (58) defeated by Bombers 17.14 (116) at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
Last five: Bombers 3, Kangaroos 2
Record at venue: Played 19, Kangaroos 12, Bombers 7
Umpires: Ray Chamberlain, Craig Fleer, Brent Wallace
B 27. Mason Redman, 26. Cale Hooker, 8. Martin Gleeson
HB 35. Matt Guelfi, 18. Michael Hurley, 42. Adam Saad
C 45. Conor McKenna, 7. Zach Merrett, 11. David Zaharakis
HF 1. Andrew McGrath, 15. Jayden Laverde, 43. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
F 13. Orazio Fantasia, 28. Mitch Brown, 37. Dylan Clarke
FOL 44. Shaun McKernan, 9. Dylan Shiel, 3. Darcy Parish
I/C 20. Zac Clarke, 25. Jake Stringer, 10. Aaron Francis, 4. Kyle Langford
EMG 40. Will Snelling, 30. Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, 36. Michael Hartley, 33. Brayden Ham
North Melbourne Kangaroos
B 2. Marley Williams, 16. Scott D. Thompson, 34. Jamie Macmillan
HB 17. Jasper Pittard, 25. Robbie Tarrant, 18. Shaun Atley
C 14. Trent Dumont, 3. Jed Anderson, 13. Jared Polec
HF 26. Tarryn Thomas, 20. Nick Larkey, 7. Jack Ziebell
F 44. Cameron Zurhaar, 50. Ben Brown, 28. Kayne Turner
FOL 22. Todd Goldstein, 10. Ben Cunnington, 12. Jy Simpkin
I/C 11. Luke McDonald, 15. Paul Ahern, 32. Mason Wood, 31. Curtis Taylor
EMG 9. Luke Davies-uniacke, 24. Sam Durdin, 42. Tom Campebll, 8. Nathan Hrovat