2018 Pre Season Discussion


A look back to 2017 - AFL.com.au

Who’s burning up the track…

Who’s burning?
All the attention has been on Essendon’s group of returning players, in particular midfield pair Jobe Watson and Dyson Heppell. Both have had a strong summer, and Watson looks primed to have another season dominating at the stoppages. Pleasingly though for the Bombers, there’s also plenty of youngsters who have shone ahead of the start of the season. Kyle Langford looks to have stepped up his game as a midfielder, Darcy Parish only appears to have improved since his excellent debut season, and the club has been pleased with Martin Gleeson’s development as a rebounding half-back.

Who’s not?
It looms as a later start to the season for ruckman Tom Bellchambers, who is again battling a knee injury this summer. The Bombers have some fitness issues with their tall department, as Cale Hooker and Michael Hartley overcome hamstring problems, while Michael Hurley rolled his ankle at training on Friday. In better signs, key forward Joe Daniher joined in match practice this week after overcoming a knee complaint. - Callum Twomey


Every prediction except marty gleeson was wrong in the end.


what the? There aren’t actually many predictions in that article anyway, but I reckon most were right.
Watson to dominate stoppages - he was still our best clearance winner, so that was right. They made no mention of how he’d go at anything else, so even though the rest of his game was useless they didn’t get that wrong.
I reckon Parish did improve. He played a different role that probably suited him less, but we worked through that well and will benefit from that year.
Langford…yep, that is probably wrong. Although seeing as he wasn’t playing midfield in 2016, arguably he did improve his midfield game in 2017, although he spent most of that time in the 2’s.
Belllchambers starting the season late…yep that happened.

what other predictions are there?


I reckon the interesting thing is that most of those that struggled through preseason, still has solid years.


burning up the track: Watson and heppel weren’t as good expected, parish wasn’t as good as expected and either was langford.

Bellchambers and hooker were expected to be under prepared and went better than most expected.


Yet Watson and hepp probably both cost the youngsters midfield time


Thought I’d share a few honest/blunt opinions from someone involved in player development at the club. Good source, although this is all second hand info.

To provide some context, this is coming from a very old school/tough love type of personality. Not usually one to pump up our players in general convo - instead tends to downplay everything and talk more about what players need to work on and why they’re not as good as they should be.

  • Massive Zerrett fan. Keeps getting better and is genuinely elite.
  • Heppell is good but not in the same category as Zerrett.
  • Couldn’t believe that Jerrett was offered another contract on the senior list.
  • We need more quality big bodied mids.
  • Zaka & Goddard are total pros but also prone to a whinge lol. Zaka has the lowest body fat % at the club, for those interested.
  • Originally wanted McCluggage over McGrath (prefers goalkickers), but has really come around. Apparently, something that’s really unique about Andy is that he’s a ridiculously fast learner. Coaches go through footage with him re mistakes and he fixes them immediately - only needs to be told once. Very, very coachable player.
  • Saad has no idea about defence. Not that he can’t defend a man, but that he was completely unfamiliar with some pretty standard defensive drills that should’ve been taught over at GC. Has fitted in well but may take a little while to get used to some of our structures.
  • Actually quite impressed with young Lavender so far, which has been a nice surprise. Lots to work with here.
  • Early signs but also likes the look of Mason Fletcher.
  • Not a big wrap for Franga (or any player who seems a bit mentally fragile). Again, old school type of personality here. Not a question of talent.
  • Colyer: “yeah, he’s ■■■■ at ground balls”. lol Working on it though, hanging back for extra training.
  • No real concerns, but reckons McKenna enjoyed himself over the break.


Essendon will head to Barwon Heads for a training camp in February and fans will have the opportunity to watch an open training session in Ocean Grove.

This is the perfect opportunity for local fans to get a glimpse of the players training, including our new recruits for 2018.

When: Friday 9th February, 2018
Where: Ray Menzies Oval, Shell Road, Ocean Grove
Time: 10am

There will be a signing session conducted post training for a short period. Please note that you may not be able to get all of your desired signatures during this time as there is a tight schedule for the training camp.

The Bomber Shop will be on-site for all your 2018 apparel needs.


Helps a players recovery? If you limit it to a pint a day !

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The old advertising slogan “Guinness is good for you” is actually true it seems. While Diageo, the manufacturer, makes no health claims for the product, scientific research shows a pint of Guinness a day is actually good for your health…"


Did you get an opinion on Langford and Laverde?




Sorry mate, not this time around.



I’ll be there tomorrow.


Gee this post never gets old…


Andy Maher and Brett Anderson say out of all our players,the one who everyone will hear more about is: Marty Gleeson. They see him as the intercepter, sweeper, 3rd man up of the future. (sure we have already heard lots about SSS.)
Interesting to hear this. We are so used to opinions from supporters, blitzers and those connected with the club, these blokes are not Essendon people, but claim to have seen something from him at the end of 2017.
I guess its because he is one of the few players who showed any fight in the final.


Andy maher and Brett Anderson?

Was Ossy Ostrich unavailable for comment?


A lot of hype on the Dons this preseason most media/pundits predicting Essendon to finsih top 4.


Yeah, and it’s more than a handful of them. Feels Strange to be favoured.

ESSENDON Bombers on track for strong pre-season despite injury issues for Francis and Travis Colyer > JON RALPH, Herald Sun January 28, 2018 7:08pm

NEW footy boss Dan Richardson says Essendon will forge its own playing style this year rather than replicate Richmond’s successful premiership template.

The highly-rated football administrator crossed from Richmond to the Bombers in December to help support third-year Essendon coach John Worsfold and his new-look football department.

The accepted wisdom is that Essendon is still short of inside midfield grunt despite its off-season acquisitions and immensely talented list.

Recruits Devon Smith, Jake Stringer and Adam Saad bring a different look to the Bombers.
But the Bombers will back in their strengths, which saw them third for scoring in the home-and-away season last year and featuring quick, aggressive ball movement.

Richardson says one of the key lessons from Richmond’s premiership success was to play a game plan that utilises the players’ strengths, rather than minimises their deficiencies.

The Bombers play an AFLX round robin tournament on Friday week, JLT games against Richmond (February 24) and Geelong (March 11) then a Round 1 home clash against Adelaide on March 23.

All clubs will attempt to bring more forward pressure this year to win forward-half turnovers but it doesn’t mean they have to slavishly replicate the Tigers.

“You take some learnings from wherever you go and I have learnt a lot from Richmond and the people there,” Richardson told the Herald Sun.

“But that said I don’t believe you can just try to copy what someone else has done. You have to forge your own path.

“You need to form your own brand and way of doing things, that’s what any good organisation does. There is no point trying to follow what someone else has done before you or you will continually be in their shadow.

“One of the things Richmond learnt was that you allow a team and the players in that team to play to their strengths, whatever they may be.

“We particularly learnt that in the past 12 months.”

Many of the Bombers stars will play both those JLT games to tune up for Round 1, with the Bombers not set on the make-up of their AFLX squad.

Silky outside runner Travis Colyer will be in a moon boot with inflammation of the sesamoid bone for three weeks, while Aaron Francis is working back into the main group after recent hip flexor pain.

He has not enjoyed the unblemished pre-season he had hoped after an aborted trade, but the Bombers medical list has few long-term issues.

Michael Hurley is in match play after hip and wrist surgery, and Josh Green (foot surgery) and David Myers (finger surgery) have enjoyed plenty of pre-season work.

Matthew Leuenberger also is easing back into match practice four months on from shoulder surgery.

The shortened JLT series — three games down to two — means less kids will be on show during that pre-season competition as clubs get two games into senior players.

It doesn’t mean Essendon won’t play some of its stars in the JLT as it tries to hit Round 1 full of running against the beaten Grand Finalist of last year.

“We have had two sessions where we have trialled it and it’s a game suited to players with high endurance and high running capacity,’’ Richardson said.

“But having said that it’s also a game with high rotations so we can manage our players. It’s new and everyone will take a little while to understand the implications of what the game involves with selections and tactics.

“I think we are planning to field a fair portion of our senior players.”