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Pierro

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It was a huge crash for the dons hahaha..Great forecasting.

Top 8 and now a proper test against the woods which will not be so easy

Essendon still have the list to challenge for the premiership

I think a fitter gws , with key players back will be tough away to gws but Essendon can win it . I don’t think the first game away to one of the best sides will sum up the season . Teams can be a bit rusty early on in first round or two.

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

once again the midfield arguments are not central to main topic at hand….thats a separate issue. Incidentally there was some very poor disposal from essendon on the back of a very physical game week before playing the hawks I was at the game . They just got up and quite frankly the game could have gone either way,. Tom Mitchell was great but didn’t make the difference to their win for me , I felt we lost that game with some poor disposals and decisions , part of our development but pretty consistent side by then essendon in the last ten games if you look at our results. I think beating 4 of the top 8 teams was enough to prove we are there. you don’t beat West coast away, and GWS away and then steamroll one of the best midfields in geelong unless your midfield is doing something right . very solid and consistent from round 8 besides one bad game agains the reigning premiers richmond. Our results from round 8 were enough to comprehensively account frr the topic at hand of a top 8 finish. Hawthorn had a much easier fixture run in incidentally after playing essendon which could have gone either way (and great coaching) but were pretty lucky to finish where they did , Id say the coaching and strategy got them across the line. your “on the day” argument doesn’t hold up if you look at essendon beating gws, sydney, west coast , geelong comfortably and taking callingwood really close . Are you saying those five sides don’t have great midfields because we beat them by 5 goals plus taking the foot off the pedal in the last quarter to manage our injuries …next ..

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Conversely just because you have a better midfield doesn’t mean your a better team . I think the key fact is we beat GWS , Sydney , Geelong , Westcoast by 5 goals plus which is half of the top 8 . Hard to make an argument they arent top 8 material when the consistency was truly there with squad issues from round 8 onwards

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Hi Jakarta , good to read your thoughts. Ive seen a lot of bellchambers no doubt he put one of his best runs together in his career last year after round 8 but it was a handful of games where he had a high impact. He’s just a bit to dour around the ground and cost us a bit of turn around being to slow . he’s not the worst but I think he only really excelled in two or three games then went missing a bit with disposals in some games , just very slow around the ground but your stats did surprise me so perhaps he’s contributed a little more than I thought . Im very happy for him after what he’s endured thoughout his carreer. Agreed about clarke , hard to be sure what he will contribute but optimistic . Drapers a real young talent may need another year or two. Jok is a new trade who could develop too but hard to tell right now.

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Not really much risk in your comments in MJ. Let me ask you if you assess from round 8 onwards. Does smashing geelong, gws ( away) , sydney, westcoast (premiers away from home) all by 5 to 6 goals plus sound like a side that isn’t gelling? Im not saying top 4 side but geez the topic is are we a top 8 side. We missed by 4 points . Lost a few close wins and last 15 games came home consistently like freight train with a lot of injuries. Lets get realistic on facts

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

easy to say any headline changes from round 18. try now. Injuries can happen. A topic whereby the outcome is 50 /50 is no great risk. Its very general . on the fact essendon is 5 to 8 . all presented if people read the thread william as we beat top 8 by 50 percent plus of the matches with upside. Shiels is merely more upside. The kids and depth huge.
Im not going to say top 4 but if you beat the premiers by 30 plus in their backyard which few teams do. Pulversie geelongs miss by 30 plus. gws away by 30 plus , sydney by 40 plus. your argument is really weak on the case of these results as it stands
Fixture start is tougher in 2019 as essendon is fixed with colllingwood twice annually, richmond and an away opener to gws (who we baat away but will be fresh at home )
Merrit was double marked for half the season m shiels will give him room , merit is underestimated as is a fit fantasia who was injured for most of last season. this side is strong. and hungry. the club has been through a lot of hurt which i find other clubs could arguably not have endured but its making this club stronger as the playing group is so honest and humble. its dramatically and passionately strong as a unit after what its been through which is another story that no other club has faced or arguably could have come through as well .
This team is coming on . Sit back and enjoy . If not this year watch the next few years . The top winning premiership club is building again as a unit with a lot of humility in its core playing group and depth and hunger with its kids.
I think an interesting article from the author would be how do we place this top 8 in order and who may be committed from it. it would be very risky to assess how we order the top 8 not a 50 50 article on whether one team on the rise can make it which was one game outside it on a huge winning run which quite frankly doesn’t bare much risk

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

meh then you haven’t read the thread. no great facts on the basis we beat 50 percent plus of the top 8 sides by 30 points or more after finding form/game plan and dropping daniher round 8

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Spot on .

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

This is comedy. Can we stick to the top . Is essendon a lock for top 8. Answer likely yes. top 4 tricky. No arguments. why does everyone go off topic from the authors statement.

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Intestting from a pies fan. honest. I actually think the woods had shocking injuries but in the second game we were very depleted against them too. investing. your thoughts are in line with most articulate bombers fans. Melbourne richmond pies all seem to have our measure last season. i think we can match them at best with emerging talent and shiels but a lot of variables with the new game plan, Make no mistake redman, ridley , langford guelfi have huge upside ,they are so hungry. Merritt was marked with two taggers for half the season. we nailed geelong, gws away, west coast way , and swans without daniher i mean 5 goals plus. The bombers are rising after a crappy stint of burracueacy. We still have work to do but rule us out at your peril . We can beat anyone from what I saw. Conistentcy and clean kicking is the key as it was not ideal int times but when we got running it was like a flood from game 8 onwards give or take good opposition coaching from ex bomber harwick at richmond and some cleaner kicking by collingwood. It says it all when you crush the premiers in their own backyard (exception they had three key omissions alongside two or three of our key ommissions)

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Interesting. Shiel seems to take up a lot of comments. He just adds upside to me and some what unknown upside like stinger or smith coming in…all improving. When we smash gws, geelong, west coast (away) and sydney I’m beginning to think 4th to 8 is a lock as we had no daniher, no fantasia for half the season , an out of sorts tippa and lets not forget meritt was double tagged off the park and niggling injuries until last 6 games. Expect merit to fire with more heat on shiels Smith heppel and mcgrath reaching peak. 4 to 8 is solid which is what the thread is about

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Some good comments but Bellchambers besides a game or two is an average ruck man and too slow . not the end of the world with clarke, promising young draper and the new jok in the mix. Daniher and mckernan can slot in there too. We have no ryder like player. Not as concerned as the inside mid issue but fact is they are are chief weaknesses. We have bags of talent elsewhere. . Its not as much as covering joey up front. We shone without him. If he matches the 60 plus with inaccurate kicking the year before then its a good problem to have otherwise we are scoring all over the park. not sure all are picking up on this

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Not telling us anything new Jakarta. Essendon haven’t had a good ruck since rydeer…its not the most important position nowadays and I agree its a weakness . Mckernan was played as a forward so not sure what your raising. 4.4 against geelong should have been 6 plus . maybe the new draft ruck or draper will step up on top of zac clarke. fact this is a thread about being solid top 8 . we have bags of depth which the writers and antagonists don’t understand to make top8 . still not saying we are top 4

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

No rob we were backing down off four teams with comfortable leads in three cases to rest players..next…geeez..rob can you seriously mount a case when we thump the premiers away from home in perth and gws in sydney and geelongs “elite” midfield. this is about essendon making the top 8 . Its comical actually. …still not saying we are top 4. stick the topic and actually write something compelling or don’t…

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

It was a 6 goal win rob . it was 3 six goal wins. Sydney , GWS away, geelong ….and oh add west coast away who we smashed in perth…did your team do that rob..doubt it…next…4 team smashed. look forward to your response to that one..

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Yes but we beat three of the midfield teams you listed by 5 plus goals william, i mean its compelling you can’t refute results off the back of our rebuilding. sorry doesn’t add up for the argument that we are not top 8 material or a lock for it. Sure top 4 is a hard case right now but our only way from last year is up , even though we arguably have almightily tougher draw.

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

John to answer who falls out of top 8 next year on current form and squad Hawthorn, Geelong and possibly Sydney (home field typically helps Geelong and Sydney which is why theyve been making it although Sydney could make it again for me ) .

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Hmm think your off the mark a little John as I think Essendon has massive depth , it was proved in second half of the year. Lost Mckernan to injury with half a dozen games or more to go. Stewart was dropped. The squad found goals from every position and defense improved. When Daniher got dropped Ridley came in as a first starter and had 25 plus disposals against geelong when we smashed them , more injuries then redman comes in and racks up 25 disposals in a win . Guelfi a third round draft pick from memory had a huge debut year and will only get better.
And when the forwards went mitch brown comes in and boots solid braces. If theres something I’m slightly concerned about is that the form reversal completely happened when daniher was ommitted (which I was crying out for at round 5 not round 8) – Mckernan comes in and boots 4.4 against geelong and in the last few games we could rotate Hooker up front when our forwards were tired and Francis had a few blinders down back in his place when he finally played, on top of Ambrose injured. This squad has plenty of depth. If fully fit 5 to 8 is a solid bet for me. Gleeson and Ridley are young but note they read the game very well down back. We have slowly removed most of the dead wood or players that lack class. Slight question mark about making sure we can replace Goddards steady play down back but he was getting very slow at times.

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Spot on 1DER – look at those big wins against geelong sydney west coast gws who are supposed to be midfield titans we beat them all by 30 plus as we remodeled our strategy and had key players out , with new players transitioning and kids getting experience .

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Watching that last collingwood game to we just ran out of puff with some critical injuries we were very depleted – considering we smashed west coast I think your looking at the two ground finalists and we beat one and could easily have had the measure of the other I think. This is not 9 to 11th place performances on the basis of smashing gws away, Sydney , and Geelong easily

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

On your midfield teams above

On geelong I understand the calibre but we smashed them by 34 points. Their midfield was brilliant and still will have outstanding performances but is aging and looked slow at times and their home ground advantage has aided them a lot

We smashed GWS by 35 away from home .

We smashed Sydney by 43 in a brutal game physically and backed up a little depleted in one of few losses to hawthorn

Just your midfield argument above only holds up for Melbourne Richmond Collingwood on the results I list above. Let it be clear we smashed these other sides you list they weren’t small wins and two of them were before we hit our stride after the bye . One small note too all of those smashing wins were without Daniher. Once again it says solid 5 to 8 prospect the more I go over it

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

William thanks for your response , I think the point is the kids at essendon are the best since they won a premiership with plenty of depth and we’ve just taken on a few new exciting prospects. The competition for places is now hot at Essendon which hasn’t been the case for a long time. Our start last year was hideous in the first 8 to 10 games . I just think they get better and we were rocketing home for the finals last year. I suspect the start of the season could be anything but I saw a very consistent side in the last 12 games give or take getting out played by the current premiers which was no disgrace seeing we were much improved the second time round against them.

Re the forwards Mckernan actually got injured and missed many games and didn’t get a start until daniher went out round 8 or so and Stewart was dropped mid way through the season from memory mainly playing vfl in the second half of the season. So your analyzing the forwards incorrectly. Goals were coming from all round the side and as Fantasia came back in and Bageuly was moved , Mckernan was replaced by a solid contributor in Brown who can rotate back and forward and is a traditional solid forward punt kick at goal. Tippa actually only really fired up in the last six games as well he was poor in the first half of the season as the whole group was not playing well and revised its structure and strategy considerably.

Moreover down back Francis seems to be a potential champ down back for the bombers , he was excellent and will only get better. Ambrose was injured down back who is also very solid at his best and Redman really is promising across the back with Gleeson being out he looked excellent the last half a dozen games of the previous season. I think this squad will have massive upside this season but I am realistic we are a 5 to 8 team until I see us beating Richmond Callingwood Melbourne. We’ve beat the rest once we found consistency really but Im not saying Adelaide and a few teams won’t have upside. I was potentially hoping to get Setterfield instead of Shield but he was a punt with his injury. I think ruck and a champion inside mid are still our weakness if I am honest. I think we are solid bet for 5 to 8 finish but I admit I do need to review the schedule for the year and right now we have five key players with injuries or niggles and Worlsfold has to work out if he upsets the forward set up who were very solid last 10 games. I think a key will also be how the revised defensive tactics with new defense coach shape up. Hurley and Hooker are saying its much improved pre season and they are enjoying massive progress . A few of our new drafts look very interesting. The heat is on for competition to get a place in the starting line up for the first time in over a decade .

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Some valid points raised throughout the thread. I’m a pretty committed bombers fan but I also do tend to get stuck in where I see problems with the squad. I can only say this squad will improve this year.

Some additional points. Fantasia just never got rolling last year with injury niggles and is potent. Baguely was moved up front and was scoring well and a continual threat despite his age and is retained up front but Fantasia is sure to have a better year. We played better without Daniher really and lost four games without him when we really got rolling and many of the margins were close and subject to some injuries or backing up off the road. Richmond probably the main side to beat us fair and square but there were excuses against collingwood with missing players and a quick back up from memory. .

What the thread is not mentioning is players like redman , ridley , guelfi , begeley are young and improving rapidly . Shiels will allow a little more rotation for McGrath to go back pocket where he is extremely strong if Worlsfold really analyses his strength with Shiels coming in and Langford rapidly improving after one year on the ball in the middle.

Some valid points on kicking accuracy ( a big problem last year for bombers ) and mckenna being a little reckless with disposal and running out of defense despite the theatrics and good moments he had. Heppell does occasionally hang the ball in the air with his kicking after all his brilliant work winning the ball .

Its a challenge to slot Daniher at his best in but we didn’t seem to have huge problems without him . He finds his best form he’s easily 60 goals but several knowledgable fans around me were saying he didn’t look right in his running, leading and marking from the first few rounds so his fitness or injury was a definite issue. We would take his 60 plus goals if he is back to his best.

Also ex Richmond defense coach is bound to restyle our defense so will be interesting there. Still some slight transition but I only see improvement. A tough opening game of course away to GWS but I agreed before this article we have some work to do to catch up to Collingwood, West Coast (per their finals footy and missing key players) , Melbourne and Richmond. So no illusions there . My expectation was finishing 5th to 7th place with potential for surprise. I think it seems to be most essendon fans realistic impression who judge the game well

Essendon aren't the finals lock you think they are, and here's why

Pretty easy for me Seano. Having watched them all year.

Hartley out. Has one good quarter a game then hemmroges goals in the other three quarters . Not up to it with ambrose, gleeson , ridley , redman all in the wings and better than him. Not to mention Francis looking set to have a long career back there. All of these kids have massive upside . With them all coming back not sure we need Dea back there either he got well beaten by Richmond but had some good games.

Agreed on Brown and hopefully they keep Bags. Only played 60 percent of the season up front and was slotting way more goals than anyone else in his position outside of maybe a fit fantasia and tippa (who can actually play as effectively if not more across half back)

Luey out . Don’t need him . Mckernan and Daniher can pick up the ruck slack and Draper will come on even more this year. He looks very interesting

Green , Hartley, Luey to go possibly Colyer (although he had a good end to the season) .

Are Essendon making the AFL's biggest mistake?