Game Day Thread vs Cats - 2020 round 16

The ultimate preview: Rd 16

A comprehensive look at Sunday’s Powercor Country Festival clash with Geelong at the Gabba.

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Zach Merrett with Tom Hawkins during a Powercor Country Festival photoshoot earlier this year. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Take a look at our comprehensive preview of Essendon’s Powercor Country Festival clash with Geelong on Sunday.


Sunday, September 6
3:35pm AEST
The Gabba
Live on Channel 7


Games played - 218
Won – 115
Lost – 98
Drawn - 5


1. Burgeoning tradition continues

Essendon and Geelong will unite for the fifth annual Powercor Country Festival clash on Sunday. Aimed at supporting and celebrating regional communities, the festival will look different but have added significance given Victoria’s recent bushfire crisis and the effects of COVID-19 on regional producers. You can show your support by shopping at the Virtual Farmers’ Market , which includes an amazing variety of Victoria’s finest-sourced local produce that can be delivered straight to your door.

2. Contrasting fortunes at the Gabba

Both sides will take to the Gabba for the third time this season. Essendon fell short against St Kilda and West Coast in its two games there, while Geelong easily accounted for North Melbourne and St Kilda. It’s proven to be a happy hunting ground for the Cats, whose one-point loss to the Lions last season has been their only blemish in their last six games at the venue.

3. Cats craving control

The Cats are the masters at denying their opponents possession. Ranked first for the time in possession differential, they strive for control and know how to keep it when they get it. The Bombers faced a similar challenge last week against the possession-based West Coast, but outnumbered the Eagles for disposals (325-283) and inside 50s (42-31) in encouraging signs.

4. Cats’ drastic change

Known for their slow, controlled ball movement in recent seasons, there’s been an urgency about Geelong’s game style in 2020. Ranked last for mark play-on percentage (18 per cent) in their defensive 50 last season, the Cats have made quick ball movement out of defence a focus this season, and have caught their opponents off-guard as a result. The Bombers will need to dial up the pressure in their forward half to deny Geelong its switches and opportunities to play on.

5. Bombers in search of aerial dominance

Essendon (18th) and Geelong (17th) sit in the bottom two for contested marks per game, but we’ve seen the Cats add aerial supremacy to their arsenal recently. They’ve averaged 12 contested marks in their past four games, ranked third in the competition during that period. The Bombers will be without aerial threat Joe Daniher (five contested marks in two games), and were comprehensively beaten 17-5 in contested marks against the Eagles last week.


Round seven, 2019: Geelong 13.8 (86) defeated Essendon 7.12 (54) at the MCG

It’s been 489 days since Essendon last faced Geelong, with the Cats proving too strong in last year’s Powercor Country Festival clash.

Restricted to just 54 points, the Bombers had a tough time cracking the Cats’ miserly defence on a flat afternoon at the MCG.

Despite Essendon having three inside 50s, it could only manage eight marks inside 50s to Geelong’s 17, with Cats defender Tom Stewart (nine intercepts) a constant nuisance.

Jake Stringer made the most of his opportunities, booting three of the Bombers’ seven goals.

Country boys Zach Merrett (29 disposals) and Darcy Parish (25) stepped up for the occasion as the Bombers got on top in the clearances (38-32).

Darcy Parish was one of the Bombers’ best against the Cats last season. (Photo: AFL Photos)


Round 13: Defeated Adelaide 9.11 (65) to 5.7 (37) at Adelaide Oval
Round 14: Defeated Western Bulldogs 10.12 (72) to 9.7 (61) at Metricon Stadium
Round 15: Bye

Launching into the top four on the back of six wins from their past seven games, the Cats are a clear force this season.

They haven’t had it easy recently, however, struggling to put themselves out of reach of the then-winless Crows in round 13.

They were stunned early against the Dogs last week, trailing by 36 points at quarter-time before clawing their way back to victory.

A round 15 bye means a freshened-up Geelong enters Sunday’s clash off a nine-day break.

Round 13: Lost to Richmond 10.1 (61) to 10.13 (73) at TIO Stadium
Round 14: Defeated Hawthorn 13.9 (87) to 10.11 (71) at Adelaide Oval
Round 15: Lost to West Coast 6.9 (45) to 9.6 (60) at the Gabba

Despite having just one win to show, the Bombers have shown clear improvement in their past three games.

They kept challenging against a high-flying Richmond in Darwin, completely outplayed Hawthorn in a scintillating second half and were within 10 points of premiership fancy West Coast in the dying stages.

Inefficiency inside 50 has been a problem, with All Australians Jake Stringer and Joe Daniher only recently returning to a forward line that has been largely unsettled this season due to player availability.

The challenge for the Bombers will be how they back up off another short break, with Sunday’s match marking their third in 11 days.



Backs: Jake Kolodjashnij, Lachie Henderson, Harry Taylor
Half-backs: Jack Henry, Mark Blicavs, Tom Stewart
Centre : Mitch Duncan, Patrick Dangerfield, Sam Menegola
Half-forwards: Luke Dahlhaus, Gary Rohan, Tom Atkins
Forwards: Brad Close, Tom Hawkins, Gryan Miers
Followers: Rhys Stanley, Cameron Guthrie, Lachie Fogarty
Interchange: Jed Bews, Mark O’Connor, Brandan Parfitt, Zach Tuohy
Emergencies: Cooper Stephens, Josh Jenkins, Jordan Clark, Zach Guthrie

In: Fogarty

Out: Steven (injured)

Milestone: Zach Tuohy - 200 AFL games


Backs: Martin Gleeson, Michael Hurley, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher
Half-backs: Matt Guelfi, Jordan Ridley, Adam Saad
Centre : Kyle Langford, Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett
Half-forwards: Will Snelling, Cale Hooker, Irving Mosquito
Forwards: Jake Stringer, James Stewart, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
Followers: Sam Draper, Dylan Shiel, Darcy Parish
Interchange: Devon Smith, Mason Redman, Dylan Clarke, Jacob Townsend
Emergencies: Brayden Ham, Tom Cutler, Andrew Phillips, Josh Begley

In: Townsend, Redman

Out: Daniher (managed), McGrath (syndesmosis)


Kyle Langford

Kyle Langford enjoyed a coming of age against the Eagles, tallying a career-high 29 disposals to go with eight marks, five clearances and five score involvements.

It was the exclamation mark on an impressive season for the the sixth-year midfielder, who has shown marked improvement to cement a position in the Bombers’ best 22.

With young gun Andrew McGrath (syndesmosis) sidelined for the rest of the season, expect to see more of Langford in the engine room.


Tom Hawkins

Geelong has the best offensive one-on-one contest win percentage in the League, and owes a lot of that to Tom Hawkins.

The big Cat, who is destined for triple All-Australian honours, has been a marking machine in his side’s past four games, winning 12 of his 20 contests.

He’s also booted 16 goals in that period to sit atop the Coleman Medal leaderboard on 35 majors, seven ahead of second-placed Josh Kennedy.

Hawkins loves playing against the Bombers, averaging three goals in the sides’ past three encounters.

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One team is poorly coached, extremely poorly-skilled with a dubious game-plan and with mentally- suspect players who have checked-out for the year. The other is Geelong.

There’s only one way this is gonna go…


Why would he leave? At least the state. The hub I understand.

Right now South east Queensland has beautiful weather, freedom of movement, open beaches. Sure even if he hasn’t got a bunch of people to share it with… Beats Iso.

Make sure you’re all upstanding for … “hey true blue”


I still cant believe they asked the crowd to do that, some even removed their hat!


the gameday thread could mimic it also. the meh lets get this over with gameday thread :rofl:

l prefer to think of the match day thread as a groan fest.

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Yup, 100% could be an absolute smashing.



If he’s left, i’d say it’s back to Ireland. I think he prefers Irish weather to beautiful sunshine.

Serious? I missed that, thankfully

Only way we get close is us playing that high pressure game,whilst Geelong…

Oh fk who am I kidding.

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I have that’s for sure

How long till this flogging is over and done with?

Not saying that I agree with it, but firstly many people still believe that removing your hat is a sign of respect- there are still many places eg RSL clubs, where hats must be removed before entering. The song True Blue also has been sung/played at many emotional & commemorative services (Steve Irwin’s funeral among many), so while you don’t agree with the emotion attached to it, many (mainly older) people do.

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Cats game style is similar to WC, we actually beat theEagles in a lot of areas. Just were inaccurate in front of how and gave up some crucial goals via turnovers

Could have won despite being a man down and a gun at that

Crows took it right up to Cats for 3 quarters a few rounds ago also

I don’t expect to win but if we turn up defensively and execute better should be competitive


I looked through this thread quickly this morning but I may have missed it. So I’ll ask the obvious question.

Why do I read now that Daniher is being “managed”? He has been “mismanaged” for over 2 years. With a couple of games to go I haven’t read anything that suggests he is sore or has any niggles. Managed for what? He doesn’t ruck or rarely moves outside 50. His mere presence on the ground creates panic for the opposition.

And while checking the injury list I noted that Mckenna is not injured. Why is he not selected? Has he told the club he wants to go home and the club has decided to not play him? What does that achieve?


I still do. Hardest bloke on our list, we need people like that in the team.

The one thing I have learned is that this club has problems and they don’t learn much from whoever is teaching learnings. And; until they do, things won’t change in the short or long term.


I know you’re trying to be smart but surely it’s obvious and sensible to rest him this week.
If he played this week and broke down from 3 games in 10 days, you’d be right in the middle of the long line of people taking potshots at the club