Bombers Try To Put The Brakes On Suns

Picture: Getty Images/couriermail.com.au
Gary Ablett Jnr has been instrumental in the Suns winning four of their last seven. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Getty Images
Last Two Meetings

Round 3, 2012 – Essendon 105 d Gold Coast 88 at Metricon Stadium
Round 6, 2011 – Essendon 197 d Gold Coast 58 at Etihad Stadium


Form

     Rd 7       Rd 8       Rd 9       Rd 10       Rd 11   
Essendon    L  L  W  L  W
Gold Coast   W  W  L  L  W

You couldn’t have asked for much more from the young Suns side over the past few weeks, especially with a couple of their big guns out. After pushing Geelong and Hawthorn for three quarters, Gold Coast blanketed the Kangaroos after being down 32-1 early in the second quarter, eventually recording a 15-point win in the wet. If Guy McKenna can push his team for one more big effort before the bye, they could topple an Essendon side not exactly firing on all cylinders.

The Bombers were almost single-handedly destroyed by Jarrad Waite last week, but the beauty of having Michael Hurley and Jake Carlisle both in the line-up is you have a pair of young key position stars who can operate at both ends of the ground. The five-point win over the Blues was vital after the ‘Dons were handed a lesson the previous week by in-form Sydney at the SCG.

After a week back in the team, Charlie Dixon’s ankle injury will again keep him sidelined, with talented young big man Daniel Gorringe getting another opportunity. Dustin Fletcher misses out with a groin problem, with Tayte Pears coming in for the veteran defender.


Key Men

(Bombers) Jake Carlisle – For the first time all season, Jake Carlisle was taught a lesson last week by a forward. Jarrad Waite had it all over him in the first half as his mobility and aerial ability proved to be too much for a young man used to manning up on bigger forwards. But James Hird’s masterstroke to switch him and Michael Hurley turned the game in Essendon’s favour. After his first half mauling, Carlisle finished with 23 touches, 13 marks and a goal. Gold Coast doesn’t have a similar weapon up forward, although Tom Lynch is showing more and more with every game.

(Suns) Trent McKenzie – More than likely, Trent McKenzie will never get the amount of space he found himself in against North Melbourne last week playing as a loose man at the back. With the ball almost constantly in the Suns’ forward half, McKenzie and his booming boot patrolled a kick away from the ball and pumped the ball back in with monotonous regularity. His use of the football fell away in his second season but he appears to have refound his delivery and he is now an integral part of Gold Coast’s back-half.


Prediction

When the Suns took on the Bombers in their only previous meeting at Etihad Stadium, the ‘Dons sent statisticians reaching for the record books with a stunning 15-goal first term. That haul came on the back of the Suns recording their first win in the competition against Port Adelaide. The chances of a similar thing happening on Saturday night are remote, especially with Essendon down on form over the past few weeks. Carlton provided the blueprint for how to stop the Bombers by shutting down half-back Michael Hibberd and perennial ball-magnet Brent Stanton , but they couldn’t do it for four quarters. Gary Ablett Jnr has led the Suns in possessions each of the last five games, and he’ll need to produce another super-human effort to win this one. The Suns could well stay in it for three quarters, but they’ll probably struggle down the back end after tough assignments against the Hawks, Cats and Kangaroos. Bombers by 52 points

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