At the bye we are 6-6. Some wonderful wins and a few horrible losses. The last month has included three excellent performances which I'm sure gives us (coaches, players and fans) all some serious confidence going into the back half. The draw opens up with much less travel, we certainly have our destiny in our own hands. Worsfold has said we would be better in the second half of the year, if he is correct then a finals spot beckons for the first time since 2014.
Considering our Key Back depth has been challenged with the serious injuries to Brown and Ambrose I think we have held up well. Hartley after a modest start has had two very good games enabling Hurley to focus on a more attacking role. We really struggled early with intercept marking which was a real concern, Hurley's transformation from number 1 defender to number 1 intercept/attacking player has been pretty ■■■■■■ good and has solved some big issues. Ole trampoline hands as I read someone referred to him by is clunking them almost as well as his mate Hooker in he's AA year. Bagley, Kelly and Goddard are all in good form and both Mckenna and McGrath have been excellent. One of our biggest issues going into the year in my view was our drive off HB but Hurley, Kelly, Goddard, Mckenna and McGrath have combined to give us plenty of run and very good attacking kicking. Our transition from half back has been a weapon all year. Sydney and anyone legitimately playing two big forwards will be a good test for our structure as Hurley will need to play a more accountable role, so that will be interesting but Brown and Ambrose will give us more flexibility when they come back. We go into the rest of the season feeling pretty confident this group can hold their own defensively and rebound well
Was certainly a struggle early. Although I applaud Worsfold staying true to his view of the better balance and not going with more of our slow inside guys even when we were getting beaten soundly in clearances. I think we have certainly felt the positives of this decisions in our forward line which isn't carrying one or two slowish midfielders waiting for their rotation. Also the renewed form of Heppel and Watson has made us far more competitive at the coal face. The group is in its best form of the year and is running deeper with Tippa, Fantasia, Green, McGrath, Zaharakis, Parish all getting opportunities to support the core. A decision needs to be made on Myers however it will simply be he either gains form thus gives us better output or Langford comes in and gives us better output.
Wow. The long suffering Essendon faithful have been richly rewarded with the most efficient and dynamic forwardline in the country and the most maligned assistant coach is wearing his "form a line to tongue my nuts" T and matching cap wherever he goes. We are simply outstanding in all facets, contested marking, pace, goal kicking options, crumbling, pressure it's just such a ■■■■■■■ pleasure to behold. Is it as good as it was 17 years ago? it's pretty ■■■■■■ close.
Looking pretty good here really, especially compared to expectations. We can pick Luenberg and be confident we will get a 100% contest every time for the full game. Or whilst the form is warranted we can go the big Doublechamber who's last two weeks have been immense and his fitness base can only improve.
Backline - Stanton, Dea, Mcniece, Ambrose/Brown when fit
Midfield inside - Langford, Bird, Hocking
Midfield outside - Stanton, Mutch? (Looks skinny and probably why Colyer and Zaharakis were persisted with)
Forwards - Bagley, Langford, Mckernan, Laverde when fit
Rucks - Luenberg, Mckernan
Ball movement - When it comes off (WCE, Port, Geel) it looks incredible however when we are met with fierce pressure and the opposition guards the corridor it falls apart (Melb, Carl, Rich). I'd be willing to bet that every club will be coming to play us with this plan so we must be able to make adjustments throughout the game otherwise we will fall apart. It feels as simple as that (although I'm sure it's far more nuanced as it doesn't account for our pressure etc...). If we can handle the pressure and find other effective ways of moving the ball when the game is not on our terms I believe we will play finals as both our backline and forward line are good enough to cope with an even amount of inside 50s.