Joined July 2014
Lover of AFL footy!
If Hooker, Hurley, Ridley, Redman and Saad were ruled out along with McKenna, Essendon would still have a reasonably good backline:
AMBROSE – FRANCIS – GLEESON.
ZAHARAKIS – ZERK-THATCHER – MCGRATH.
Obviously not as good as the main group but still very serviceable at AFL level.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be tested, yet, as the outcome of just losing 2 players, McKenna and Stewart, keeps Essendon basically in a good space.
The next question will how the roller coaster emotions of Saturday to Tuesday will impact on the playing group? It’s been quite a ride on the Big Dipper!
What does Essendon’s backline look like without Conor McKenna and co?
All Essendon players and officials have been tested negative since McKenna was diagnosed as Corona virus positive. They will probably have 2 more tests before the game on Saturday. If all players still test negative then the risk from one team to another is no more than any other team. On this basis Carlton has no reason to fear “contamination” from Essendon players. If another Essendon player was to test positive this week, then that would be a major problem and show that the testing protocols are inadequate. Let’s hope it all goes smoothly, and that the protocols in place are working well. On with the game!
Bombers get a boost as only one additional player is forced into quarantine
And are Adelaide guaranteed to defeat the Suns?
AFL Power Rankings 2020: Round 2
How can you put Sydney above the Bombers after the Bombers beat them in Sydney. This after having to fly at 6am, be at a hotel for 4 hours. Not ideal, but the Bombers won. I get that their 2 wins were middle of the road but still … Sydney should be below the Bombers at 9 and the Bombers move up to 8.
AFL Power Rankings 2020: Round 2
Talk of closing the competition is ridiculous. The CV-19 numbers and percentages prove players are in an extremely low risk age bracket and even if they get sick, like the flu would miss 1-2 games. After their 2 weeks they are immune with no further risk. Let them play and let them entertain the rest of the community and give some joy to an already depressed society. This would also help for a quicker recovery of the game and the competition.
A second step would be for clubs to be allowed to have 150 of their member-fans attend, spread around the stadium at designated seating spots. The 150 could be allocated to members. Maybe each member only allocated 1 game to attend. It would avoid the totally empty stadium and give a little bit of supporter noise.
How well are the football codes placed to bounce back from COVID-19?
Unfortunately you have overlooked several young players developing very well who can be expected to have a bigger impact this year, e.g. Guelfi, Ham, Ridley, Zerk-Thatcher. This year Smith and Fantasia will be like new players. The biggest problems are a few key injuries but hey, those injuries were there last year and the Bombers still made the finals e.g. Daniher, Stewart, Bellchambers, but I still expect all 3 to do better this year than last year. McKenna’s homesickness is sad and we can only hope he’s back in a fortnight and ready to go. The freezing cold of Ireland may convince him to return to where he’s a really beloved Bomber.
I expect Essendon to be around the same as last year, maybe 6-10 is a fair guestimate depending on the fitness and injury side of things.
Essendon 2020 preview: The Bombers won't be flying upwards in 2020
Zaharakis was once in the leadership team and was dumped, now he’s back in and learned to be a much better leader than previously. It’s a surprise to see Merrett out but it maybe he’s developed some annoying flaws in hi s relationships and his popularity has slipped a bit. Whatever it is I hope he uses it to grow in his leadership capacity. I hope he remains Vice-Captain. Wouldn’t that be interesting??
Merrett dumped from Essendon leadership group after player vote
Every club would like 5 hidden treasures to emerge. As a Bombers fan I see 5 young players on the list for a few years who could emerge in 2020 but it would take some selection courage as other more senior players will be challenged or rested.
The 5 I see are Ridley, Clarke, Zerk-Thatcher, Begley and Mutch. Draper for 2021 is the hot one. This year is a recovery and reestablishing time. Redman and Guelfi made it in 2019. The ones I worry about are Ham – too many competing for the one spot; Francis – he’s also competing for one spot with Ridley, Zerk-Thatcher, Gleeson and Ambrose and hasn’t quite broken through, could be this year or bust, but not convinced about his pace as yet. He also needs a bit of mongrel and bite to become a really effective backline player.
Ridley and Zerk-Thatcher may have to bide their time in the VFL as they are the logical replacements for Hooker and Hurley. Would love to see them play Ridley EVERY WEEK at CHF in the AFL for a season as if we lose Daniher there needs to be someone there ready to step in. Only one other to consider there if fit and that is Stewart, but will he make it? Young Jones and Gown could develop for 2021, but still need one more key Forward.
Clarke could emerge as a 2nd Merrett and is ready to fire. Mutch on a wing has plenty of potential and coming back from injury could be ready to fire and add plenty of possessions for the team. Begley is the interesting one. He has the potential to be a Cripps or De Goey but needs more Grunt. Needs to crash the packs more and win the hard ball. If he does he will have a great season or otherwise he may be like a Langford or Laverde who must make it this year or start looking for a new home.
Some of these players have the talent but something is lacking in their energy levels. They play too “nice” and their attacking attitude must change if they want to make it and be known as good to great players otherwise they are just teasing the fans who are growing in their unease of seeing unfulfilled potential.
Five hidden treasures set to be discovered in 2020
I went through the exercise of picking winners/losers in every game for 2020 and was surprised that there was a few games gap between 8th and 9th. I came up with a top 4 of Richmond, WCE, GWS and Geelong, with Hawthorn, St Kilda and Adelaide on 10 Wins, 4 games behind Brisbane in 8th.
Carlton and Gold Coast occupied 17th and 18th, but I think Carlton will be a better team in 2020 but when you select A vs B it was hard to select them. Nevertheless, especially Carlton, I think that they will win more games than I predicted, it5’s just I couldn’t pick them. This is the intriguing part of doing such early predictions … so many untried recruits in new environments.
But it wouldn’t surprise me if that big gap between 8 & 9 actually happens this next season!
Who's set to rise and fall in the AFL next season?
It would be magical if Cognilio, Davis and Whitfield all play and then GWS wins their first ever premiership. I weep for Deledio though.
Phil Davis to be fit for AFL decider against Richmond
Avery dangerous decision by the tribunal. (a) It shows a clear discrimination against the player and not basing solely on the evidence. (b) The decision impugns the character of Lachie Neale with the decision in effect saying that Lachie Neale is a liar. (c) It sets a very bad precedent for the future because when we were told a player’s previous record is not part of the considerations, this example shows that it is. This is reflected in a number of the comments here in this column who mentioned his past as a rational for banning him. The so-called “crime” is not proved, it is assumed, and Greene’s character record is what took it over the line and had him suspended. Hope he appeals and hope he gets off. And I am definitely NOT a GWS supporter.
AFL Tribunal upholds Toby Greene ban
Reports have suggested a number of points:
1. Worsfold wants to complete his mission and next year is his last chance.
2. EFC don’t see Worsfold as wanting to stay long term due to his family in Perth.
3. EFC have identified a very good young generation coach and want to make sure the club is in a good position for the long term.
4. EFC has appreciated the role that Worsfold has played these last 4 years and want him to have a good transition out of coaching to release him to return home in honour.
5. Worsfold has been part of the discussions planning this succession and is invested in finishing well.
Watson's warning on Essendon coaching plan
Once upon a time players were suspended for king hits, not just roughing up an opposition player. Dermie and Matthews (Haw), Ditterich (StK) and Shelton (Ess) etc etc would have been rubbed out multiple times under current rules. Head high hits, behind the play hits should of course be rubbed out, and I agree that messing with eyes where damage is caused should be rubbed out. No such damage was evident, and there was no reaction. For such incidents (minor) maybe there should be fines, but the weakness of the system is that constant belly, arm, kidney punches are only fined and not rubbed out. What sort of game do we want? Do we want rough and tough “he-man” contents or do we want to watch a form of netball where players are not allowed to touch each other. It’s time to have a discussion about what we really want.
One other point – why is stacks on the mill allowed? If one or two players bring down an opposition player, shouldn’t the overkill of another two or three jumping on top be cause for possible player damage – broken bones, ACLs etc? If stacks on the mill was awarded as a free kick then there would not be the circumstance where a “Toby incident” could occur, because that type of incident is what happens under the cover of the pack!
Why the AFL's case against Toby Greene is set to fall apart
Should Rioli still be eligible for Goal of the Year remembering Watson was deemed ineligible for his Brownlow?
Willie Rioli facing four-year ban by ASADA over sample tampering
Disagree that any team could win it. The Bombers and the Bulldogs can’t do it. The Eagles added an extra layer of difficulty by surrendering to the Hawks, and a solid month of travel would seem to eliminate them. Of the other 5 there have been bad patches through the season, most caused by long injury lists to key players. Richmond seem to have recovered earliest and best while the Giants and the Pies might be making their recoveries too late. Brisbane lack finals experience which will catch up with them and put them in a great place for 2020. Have Geelong been bad or pacing themselves with heavy training blocks and are they the only truly prepared team to tackle the Tigers. This first round of finals will let us all see who the pretenders and who the real contenders. Can’t wait. Bring it on!
The AFL finals are wide open and anyone can win (for a change)
What I would suggest as an alternative to the current format but still capturing the light hearted humour of the “oldies” would be to have 2 games:
(a) The humourous legends game as the “warm-up” game with 2 x 20 minute halves.
(b) A more serious game – let’s call it State of Origin with 4 x 15 min Quarters using the 10 non-finals team players in honour of the great EJ.
Use both games as a fund-raiser. Perhaps it can then satisfy people looking for a laugh as well as the purists who want to witness a real game.
The EJ Whitten game makes a mockery of a legend
I don’t like the Bye as I love watching footy. What we saw was not footy, not exciting and a waste of time. The only good thing was raising money for prostate cancer research.
A State of Origin using the remaining 10 clubs would be better.
I don’t mind a “legends” game but not when they are 30kg overweight. It was embarrassing to see former stars trying to run around with big belly wobbles. That did not honour EJ! Maybe limit players to retirees from previous 5 years and we may get a better spectacle. I wanted a footy game not a low grade comedy.
The EJ Whitten game makes a mockery of a legend
Why the hold up with Walla? Don’t the Bombers value him? Surely this excitement machine adds thousands of members to the club. Come on Bombers get it done!!!
With Coniglio off the market, where do the dominoes fall?
Most likely the Eagles over the Tigers but would love to see the Lions vs the Tigers. Let them claw each other to the finish line. Wouldn’t that be something!!!
AFL finals predictions heading into Round 23
Liam, your assessment on the final 8 is very logical and I would go down that path as well. Beyond that, once the finals start. Some teams there are very unpredictable i.e. Bombers and Giants. Both can be crazy weak or awesome victors. Both are wild cards for a win or even two but no further. Their styles and systems are not consistent enough and key absentees makes what they have unsustainable.
However, it would be no surprise if the Bombers defeated the Magpies in the 1st Elimination Final because the Pies will have several star returnees returning from extended absences eg De Goey, Aish and Stephenson. Changing these 3 could unsettle the Pies balance in their first week back This Friday’s game I expect the Pies will defeat the Bombers with Bellchambers struggling to have an impact in his first game back, but will be better placed a fortnight later. The rest week could refresh the Bombers like it did the Doggies in 2016 with Fantasia and Heppell benefitting the most. I don’t see the Bombers getting any further than that, if indeed they do get that win. An EF win would give them a pass mark for 2019 and a good foundation for 2020.
GWS could do the same in the 2nd Elimination Final against the Doggies. It was reasonably close to half-time but with more of their stars back, starting this week, would be embarrassed to even dare to have such a repeat performance and would be my tip to win. If they get their mojo back and get threw to the next round anything is possible. They have so much talent and could even win through to another round. On the bad side, 2020 may not be so good as they look poised to lose a couple more champion players.
Finals? Bring them on!!!
AFL finals predictions heading into Round 23
Smashed in the ruck. Smashed in clearances. Won the contest. Bombers will be miles better with Bellchambers back in for 1st week of finals plus having both Hooker and Hurley playing. Depending on who they play and where they play, the Bombers are a good chance to win one final before exiting to prepare for 2020 with Daniher, Smith, Draper and Guelfi back available. Should comfortable mike Final 8 next year and maybe even Top 4.
Five talking points from AFL Round 22
I was excited when Woosha was appointed coach. Was a frustrated supporter during the ASADA episode and optimistic in the aftermath. Woosha still has a year to run on his contract and with the many positives he has created deserves to see it through.
However, 2020 is judgement year. Next year is the year to see the fulfilment of his promises and vision that he made to the club. That doesn’t necessarily mean a premiership but at least it is presenting a team that is solidly in the 8 and playing with more consistent results. As a team with a horrific key player injury list and in the developing of young players we can understand the “Big Dipper” in the 2019 season but he goodwill faces its test and climax in 2020. If the team emerges as a solid “in the 8” team, maybe pushing Top 4 then Woosha will have achieved almost everything he promised and should be rewarded with a contract extension. If 2020 is a repeat of 2018-2019 even half way through the season, then he should go. 2020 is the year he must produce or lose all the goodwill and hopes that Essendon has invested in him. Go Bombers!!!
Why John Worsfold is the man to coach Essendon to their next premiership
With its injury impacted side affecting every major position I was expecting the Bombers would have a heavy loss but nothing like what happened. What a pathetic, dispirited effort! Can they recover? I think not. If somehow they can recover and beat Freo and make the 8 they will still be a wounded and unbalanced team just making up the numbers. The loss also showed they don’t have the cattle. Their VFL team also had a devastating loss – 94 points. So what in form player(s) can come in? None! This loss will have a great impact on recruiting potential – who would want to go there? The off season will be gloomy with no high profile recruits, no Top 10 picks and more of the same in 2020. What a depressing outlook for a dispirited team. They deserve the ranking drop you gave them.
AFL Power Rankings 2019: Round 21
You are too generous on the Bombers. With their current injury state, narrow win games and a thumping, they should be 9th and have to fight for another win or 2 to deserve to be in the 8.
2019 AFL Power Rankings: Round 20
Looking at the position of the goal umpire and the clear view, he obviously is not qualified to be a goal umpire at the highest level.
Another score review farce robs the Bombers of a goal