Season 2019: The Empire Strikes Back?


Thanks AM, lots of boxes ticked in that article. Maybe more confident re JD and Raz than me. Makes me more excited about 2019, though a little wistful that Trav can’t be part of it after getting through the darker times.


Thanks for posting that. Good article, and written by a Hawk supporter too


In other words DJR, we’ll be playing in another League!!:flushed:


I sincerely hope Joe Dan has had the right treatment for his injury and this NOT something which might be a re-occurring thing. He has a load of potential, I hope we get to see it. We need him to be fully fit and firing otherwise don’t play him.


How great will it be to see some of that goofy smile and the finger twirling.


Geez that round 1 fixture screenshot is bland.


Anyone know when we see the first of Shiel playing for us? Pre season?

Wish the cricket wasnt so disinteresting this summer. Will have to go play some more sport.


Hopefully from the second floor bbq at the inter.


Um, you just contradicted yourself. Richmond are reliant on Dusty, but won a premiership.


My eight.

  1. Richmond - did it last year and Lynch makes them better. Will be hoping to keep their dream injury run going though.
  2. Adelaide - significantly easier draw, did it in 2017, and still quality on every line. Surely can’t shoot themselves in the foot two years in a row.
  3. GWS - unlikely to have another bad injury run
  4. Melbourne - add Lever and May in, more confidence in themselves. Terrible game style will still hurt.
  5. Essendon - no early season suicide in 2019
  6. Collingwood- more focus from opposition and harder draw sees them drop
  7. West Coast - Premiership hangover plus more opposition focus
  8. Geelong- games at Skilled stadium saves them from dropping out

North, Hawthorn also contending.


I’m usually bullish on Adelaide, but I can’t see what quality they’ve brought in this year.
Milera has improved. I’ll give them that, he showed a bit.
But that’s nowhere near enough.
I think they’re a Talia injury away from being bottom four, and I don’t see them being top six even if (insert midfielder of your choice) has a great year.

And I’m saying that about my second favourite team.




You’re fingering what?


Sydney is on a slide.
Hawks recruited poorly.
And the Bulldogs are ■■■■!

Bottom 6


That maybe all the incentive we need.


It would be pretty funny if the Suns don’t come last.


The Punt just took the lid off!


Good post. Better off with role players giving their utmost than a star at half rat power. Teammates and coaches (in a good team) can work with that.

Brown and McNernan are capable of doing enough on the day, albeit a step down on class vs Joe.


No surprises the pressure is on us to perform. Shiel’s addition is going to be a lot more than just what he does directly. There should be a big benefit to our other onballers.

And I forgot about we’ve added Ben Rutten from Richmond’s coaching staff to our coaches.

COMMENT: Shiel arrival means Dons must deliver

Callum Twomey

DYLAN Shiel’s arrival at Essendon brings with it increased expectations for the Bombers, but here is the reality: the time is now for them to strike.

List boss Adrian Dodoro said as much on Wednesday night after landing the Greater Western Sydney star at the expense of two first-round picks (albeit getting a future second-rounder back his way).

It means the club won’t have selected in the opening round of the draft for three years between 2017-19. However, the Bombers believe their group is good enough to challenge with the best, and Shiel’s acquisition will only strengthen that confidence.

The club took an unforeseen backward step in 2018, despite recruiting Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Adam Saad in last year’s NAB AFL Trade Period. All were successes – Smith won the best and fairest, Saad came fourth and Stringer led the goalkicking.

But none of those players addressed their need for midfield size and strength. Shiel will.

He’s a centre clearance specialist, who can muscle opponents, stand up under fierce tackling pressure and provide genuine speed and line-breaking run. His presence will help fellow midfield jet Zach Merrett, who struggled with close attention throughout last season, plus younger midfield types Darcy Parish and Andrew McGrath.

Those four, joined by captain Dyson Heppell, best and fairest Smith, consistent performer David Zaharakis and the much-improved Kyle Langford, make for a much healthier midfield mix for the Bombers.

Essendon hasn’t won a final since 2004 (the longest drought of any club), and has had four horror elimination final losses in between. They aimed to win multiple finals in 2018 – an expectation the club was open about in the pre-season but gradually backed away from after its 2-6 start to the year – but finished in 10th place.

However, the second half of the season – when they won 10 of their last 14 games, including wins over West Coast, Geelong, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney – highlighted their ability.

Aaron Francis looks set to take on Brendon Goddard’s sweeping role across half-back, Marty Gleeson will return from injury that ruined his 2018, and they will be hoping for full years from key pair Orazio Fantasia and Joe Daniher.

Essendon’s core is young, but the need to push for a premiership next season centres on its key defenders. Michael Hurley will turn 29 next year, while Cale Hooker will start the season as a 30-year-old.

If Essendon is to taste success, it will need its pair of All Australian defenders to be playing impenetrable footy in the back half – Hooker as the interceptor and Hurley as the lockdown.

John Worsfold, who is contracted until 2020, will enter next season as one of the most under-pressure coaches, not for what Essendon hasn’t achieved in his three years at the club, but because of the talent at his disposal now.

The list management team has delivered him four key players for his side over the past two trade periods without losing any of its own.

He, too, has made his own signing for his coaching panel, with former Adelaide defender Ben Rutten crossing from Richmond’s coaching staff to Tullamarine.

Expect Rutten to be involved in building a better team defence for the Bombers, which has been a weakness for the club but a strength at Punt Road.

Landing Shiel was a coup for Essendon, and highlighted its ability to attract talent. It was one of the brightest moments for the club this decade. The contracted star midfielder chose them over rivals (some offering more money) because he saw Essendon as his best fit. It’s time for Essendon to live up to its end of the deal.


No ifs or buts, we must win a final in 2019 or it’s a fail. Pressures on, let’s phucken do it!