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The Western Bulldogs have given their AFL finals chances a huge boost, smashing Essendon by 104 points at Marvel Stadium.
Bombers 4.9 (33)
Bulldogs 21.11 (137)
It’s footy at Marvel Stadium for Saturday night, as the injury-hit Essendon Bombers host the Western Bulldogs. Join The Roar for live commentary and scores from 7:25pm AEST.
Essendon are in the eight, after an indifferent season. The Western Bulldogs aren’t, despite some spirited footy. By the end of the next three weeks, that equation might very well be switched.
Essendon’s seeming surge towards finals came to a very sudden halt last weekend, as they were thrashed by Port Adelaide. The Bulldogs didn’t win, either, but put up a very admirable effort against Brisbane to solidify their claims for poaching a top-eight spot if luck goes their way.
This is a very, very important clash for both sides – and depending on the winner, might begin to change the puzzle of the top eight, with both sides sure to play a big part in determining who gets in or knocked out of the eight.
That’s particularly important, with the two South Australian sides and Freo also all having claims to top eight spots depending on how results turn out.
Teams wise, it’s the Bombers who have been ravaged by injury. And I quite really mean ravaged.
Aaron Francis, Adam Saad, Darcy Parish, Will Snelling and Matt Guelfi have all been ruled out of this clash – the last of those for the year.
Michael Hartley has been omitted. Ben McNeice, Shaun McKernan, Mark Baguley, Dyson Heppell, David Myers and Josh Begley are into the team.
The Bulldogs, too, have lost a duo to injury. Tom Liberatore and Caleb Daniel are that pair, while Will Hayes and Taylor Duryea are their replacements.
Essendon’s injuries are a very real concern, and it appears a sizeable amount of the public tipping is headed the way of the Bulldogs.
I’m going to go Essendon. This isn’t just because I’ve tipped them in The Roar’s expert tipping column on Thursday – I do think that they’re going to pull off some magic in the late stages to secure this win.
Either that, or I’m going to look rather silly soon.
Essendon by 3 points
When: 7:25pm AEST
Where: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
TV: Channel 7, Fox Footy, Kayo
Betting: Essendon $1.98, Western Bulldogs $1.83
B Mason Redman, Cale Hooker, Martin Gleeson
HB Conor McKenna, Patrick Ambrose, Ben McNiece
C Andrew McGrath, Zach Merrett, Orazio Fantasia
HF Dylan Shiel, Shaun McKernan, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
F David Zaharakis, Mitch Brown, Jake Stringer
FOL Zac Clarke, Mark Baguley, Dyson Heppell
I/C Dylan Clarke, David Myers, Kyle Langford, Josh Begley
B Taylor Duryea, Jackson Trengove, Hayden Crozier
HB Jason Johannisen, Zaine Cordy, Easton Wood
C Lachie Hunter, Marcus Bontempelli, Ed Richards
HF Bailey Dale, Josh Schache, Sam Lloyd
F Bailey Smith, Aaron Naughton, Tory Dickson
FOL Tim English, Josh Dunkley, Jack Macrae
I/C Matthew Suckling, Toby McLean, Patrick Lipinski, Will Hayes