I've been watching the 2000 Finals Series again - and last night whilst at work, I wondered how this current team would go about trying to stop the 2000 team. That team had matchwinners everywhere, and perhaps the most star-studded forward line I can recall.
I've taken the team from the 2000 Grand Final and put it up against a "Best 22" from this year. Of course my problem will be that Fletcher is in both sides. So I benched him for the 2014 side. Besides, 2000 Essendon went small in the forward line. And I couldn't decide whether a 2000 version would have Moorcroft or Bewick as sub.
b: Baguley, Hooker, Winderlich
f: Ramanauskas, Lloyd, Long
Bags goes to Rama. Hooker gets Lloyd - leaving Licka to deal with Longy. Some pretty good match ups there - though Rama and Long would eventually get up the ground.
hb Dempsey, Hurley, Hibberd
hf Mercuri, Lucas, Hird
The obvious issue here is Hird. Pig has to go to him. Hird will take him to the ball which is good for him. He'd have to concede he will probably give up a few goals, but definitely could set up a few going the other way. Hurley would be good on Lucas, and I reckon Dempsey would have his hands full with Mercs.
c: Myers, Watson, Stanton
c Heffernan, Misiti, Caracella
Watson v Misiti. Yes please. I cannot split them. Misiti just keeps getting the footy, and was so creative. Obviously Hocking goes to him to limit his numbers. I'm not sure who would tag Jobe - perhaps Jason Johnson goes to him? Heffernan and Caracella on the wings would hurt us on the outside, and I'm not sure Myers would play as a traditional winger - more an extra clearance mid. If we need to go like for like, the Merretts can be brought on.
hf: Zaharakis, Daniher, Goddard
hb Hardwick, Wallis, Solomon
Wallis v Daniher. Sorry Joedan. Zaka would need to get up the ground to keep Hardwick away from the packs and being third man up. Must keep Hardwick accountable. Solly will battle hard against Goddard, but I would still imagine BJ would snag a few if left forward.
f Chapman, Carlisle, Ambrose
b M Johnson, Fletcher, Wellman
Chappy v Mark Johnson. Love it. Wellman to Ambrose, and Fletch gets big Buckets. Buckets recent form would even have 2000 Fletch in trouble, despite his B+F year. I suppose that Wellman and Wallis might change pretty quickly too if JoeDan was too tall for Wally.
foll Ryder, Heppell, Hocking
foll Barnes, Blumfield, J Johnson
Quality followers here. The ruck battle is a beauty. Both agile ruckmen who can push forward and kick goals, and run with the football. I'm not sure I can split them. And Heppell and Hocking match up well against Blumfield and Johnson.
int: Fletcher, Z Merrett, J Merrett
int Alessio, Barnard, Bewick
If Alessio comes on and goes forward, Fletch goes with. Switch Hooker to Alessio, and Fletch goes to Lloyd. The Merretts give us some good pace when they get on too. 10. Darren Bewick does the same for them, and Barnard gives them some real flexibility within the team.
Moorcroft would be the prototype for a sub player. But Colyer is pretty good too. Call it even.
Result: Well, I'd be crazy to suggest that 2014 Essendon would beat 2000 Essendon, but I can't see this side being blown out the water like Melbourne were on Grand Final day. I'd hazard a guess that 2000 Essendon would be a couple of scoring shots a quarter better than 2014 Essendon.
2000 Essendon by 30 - 40 points.