Bombers Try To Stop Freefall

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au/Getty Images
Brendon Goddard has been one of Essendon's best lately. Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au/Getty Images
Last 5 Meetings

Round 20, 2012 – North Melbourne 100 d Essendon 76 at Etihad Stadium
Round 1, 2012 – Essendon 104 d North Melbourne 102 – Etihad Stadium
Round 13, 2011 – North Melbourne 111 d Essendon 90 at Etihad Stadium
Round 17, 2010 – Essendon 122 d North Melbourne 119 at Etihad Stadium
Round 4, 2009 – North Melbourne 69 d Essendon 57 at Etihad Stadium


Current Form

  Rd 16    Rd 17    Rd 18    Rd 19    Rd 20 
Essendon

W

W

L

L

L

North Melbourne

L

L

W

W

L


James Hird said he was “shattered” after the AFL charged him with bringing the game in to disrepute this week, but there was plenty of good news for his chargers with Bombers players, for the meantime, appearing to be in the clear as far as the club’s supplements scandal goes. It was a welcome bit of good news for a team which has suffered three straight heavy losses by more than 50 points against Hawthorn, Collingwood and West Coast.

North Melbourne performed true to form against the Crows in Adelaide last week going down by nine points . The Kangaroos have been dreadful interstate this season, but in their last two appearances at Etihad Stadium they have destroyed Melbourne and upset Geelong.

The Bombers have been forced in to a stack of changes due to injuries and suspension. Patrick Ryder and Dustin Fletcher have been rubbed out while Jason Winderlich, Scott Gumbleton and David Myers are out due to injury or soreness. There are some big inclusions, though, with forwards Stewart Crameri, Leroy Jetta and Joe Daniher coming back in to the team. North Melbourne welcomes back defender Nathan Grima and promising midfielder Brad McKenzie.


Key Men

(Bombers) Brendon Goddard – There weren’t too many Bombers who could hold their heads high after last week’s shoddy effort against West Coast, but recruit Brendon Goddard was close to his team’s best. He spent plenty of time forward and managed to boot three goals, pick up 27 disposals and ten marks. After a slow-ish start to the year, he is showing most weeks that he’s not far off his best from a couple of seasons back.

(Kangaroos) Daniel Wells – Super silky-skilled midfielder Daniel Wells cops the hard tag most weeks at the Kangaroos, but the past three weeks he has managed to break the shackles and put in some of his best performances of the season. He starred against Geelong with four goals and backed that up with 30 touches and a brace of goals in the loss to Adelaide. With Andrew Swallow out, he has stepped up to again be a leader of the ‘Roos midfield.


Prediction

North Melbourne’s love of Etihad Stadium this season is clear; the ‘Roos have won seven of their 11 starts there, and their four losses have come by a combined 22 points. They play their best under the roof on the firm track where they can utilise their pace to great effect. This match is more about the Bombers, though, and their mindset after another week of turmoil. Their coach is in trouble, but it must be a weight off the players’ minds with the AFL, at this stage, taking no action against the group following the handing down of ASADA’s interim report. Essendon has conceded some huge scores of late, and North is one team that can pile on the points in quick time. They’re a lot better than they’ve showed recently, and look like value in the head to head market, but the Bombers will need a big form reversal to win this one. North Melbourne by 14 points .

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