Versatility key for Essendon in the VFL this season
Tim Michell, Moonee Valley Leader
April 11, 2017 8:30am
COACHING an AFL-aligned VFL side has always been a juggling act.
Each week, coaches such as Essendon’s Paul Corrigan are heavily reliant on the selection of their club’s AFL teams before finalising their own line-ups.
Recognising that challenge, Corrigan made versatility a priority when selecting players for the Bombers’ VFL list this year.
“When we looked at all the players that came down for pre-season, we tried to get versatility because you never know what you are going to get back week-in, week-out from the AFL,” Corrigan said.
“It’s nice to have guys who can play multiple positions or multiple roles.”
Coburg pair Danny Younan and Ozgur Uysal, former senior-listed midfielder Nick O’Brien, ex-Geelong player Michael Luxford and TAC Cup products James Peters (Calder Cannons) and Wilson Berry (Western Jets) headline Essendon’s signings.
O’Brien, who played 14 AFL games for the Bombers, has been appointed captain.
“He has always been a strong candidate as a leader, even as a young player when he was playing at Essendon,” Corrigan said.
“He showed some really strong attributes. The way he conducted himself through pre-season, a lot of the guys were able to see that.”
Vice-captain Aaron Heppell, defender James Ferry, forwards Alex Boyse and Alex Marklew and on-baller Nash Holmes have returned for another campaign.
Key forward Sam Hooper and midfielder Ben Fennell have been ruled out for the season after sustaining serious knee injuries.
“(We’re) disappointed but hopefully they will come back bigger and stronger,” Corrigan said.
“Apart from that the list is looking reasonably strong at this stage.”
Essendon will benefit from the healthy state of its AFL list during the early rounds of the campaign, with only David Myers, Ben Howlett, Jordan Ridley, Josh Green and David Myers sidelined.
Corrigan said a “fair contingent” of AFL-listed players had taken part in the club’s practice matches, with 14 named in the squad that hammered Richmond by 73 points on Saturday.
The Bombers finished eighth on the VFL ladder last year and were beaten by 19 points in a semi-final by premier Footscray.
Essendon starts its campaign on Saturday with an away fixture against Sandringham from 2pm.