Season 2023 - Essendon


Coach – Brad Scott

2022 –

Points For – 13th
Points Against – 16th

Top 5 Best and Fairest

1 – Peter Wright
2 – Zach Merrett
3 – Matt Guelfi
4 – Mason Redman
5 – Jordan Ridley

2022 Rising Star Noms

Nic Martin (Round 1)
Ben Hobbs (Round 14)
Massimo D’Ambrosio (Round 16)

Ins – Sam Weideman, Will Setterfield, Elijah Tsatas, Lewis Hayes, Alwyn Davey jnr, Jayden Davey, Rhett Montgomerie, Anthony Munkara

Outs – Michael Hurley, Devon Smith, Tom Cutler, Tom Hird, Garrett McDonough, Aaron Francis, Cody Brand, Brayden Ham, Alex Waterman, Josh Eyre

My Prediction

What an absolute dumpster fire of a year for Essendon. The false hope of the year before with dipping our toes into the finals before being unceremoniously dumped by the ducker and his friends. Still we had a strong young list and reason to believe that things were on the improve. We have had six rising star nominees in the past two seasons. Is last year the truth or was it an aberration.

The backline feels like it has good young talent but there is only so much you can do when your midfield only runs one way and only then when they feel like it. BZT came on at the end of last year and finally looked like repaying the faith. Ridley was a shell of his former self and a game plan that seemed to insist on small sideways kicks. Laverde worked hard and was generally effective which is more than can be said for Kelly. Redman, Hind and McGrath off half back look solid although the depth of McGraths kicking is a constant concern.

The midfield last year was terrible and either had a game plan that didn’t work or one they couldn’t be bothered executing. Shiel has the best half a season he has had in red and black after a terrible start. Zerrett was just ok but not at his standard and Parish barely had a run at it. Martin was a revelation and Hobbs when we let him play in the middle looked like a player. I think Heppell gets come captaincy free wing time this season and will be good, we forget sometimes how good he is. Add in Caldwell and Setterfield and the midfield looks well constructed and should perform a lot better than the garbage we saw last year.

The forward line was down significantly on the year before. Wright though was massive and rewarded with a BnF. I don’t see anything in his game to suggest he cant maintain that form or even get better. Stringer never got his body or mind right last year and it showed, I don’t care if he touches the centre circle, he needs to kick goals. Last year there was zero forward pressure but with possibly a Davey, Menzie and/or a Walla running around, it will already be an improvement on last year. Would be the cherry on top if Jones could play a full season.

I am not sure I would swap our ruck for any other player in the competition. Draper is a heart and soul player who has skill deficits but he also does things that no one else can. He will improve. Depth wise, Bryan can step in and Phillips always seems to step up when needed. I am a big fan of the coach. Scott was at the top of my wish list, he is a tough uncompromising leader of people, not here to make friends and demands high performance.

This year we will start to see who the real Essendon is, are we the squibs that jogged around the oval for most of last year or is there more fight. I think we can logically expect improvement, there is good young talent on the list and there is enough amongst our older players to think we should be climbing up the ladder. I don’t think we play finals although we my threaten the eight, I think we finish in the 9-11 range.


Could genuinely finish anywhere from 8th to 16th.


I like Scott’s appointment but I also think he’s had a couple of years away and may not be anymore the guy he was as a player or at North, than Worsfold ended up being. He’s saying the right things at least. Only time will tell.

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We started the year with almost no forward line other than 2MP. Stringer, Jones and Snelling seemed shadows of their former selves when they finally showed up. It was almost as if they copped that awful belting in the first round from the Cats and never recovered.
I never trusted what the players said in public about the coach because as far as I was concerned they voted with their lack of commitment. The nadir being that awful match against the Swans when it looked like no-one was interested in being there. Either for the coach or the Captain.
They strung a couple of games together that showed what they were capable of. If Jones had of kicked straight they would have beaten Collingwood.
On paper there is talent. There is no denying that. I suspect we may see a better year because of the new coach and fresh message. I am absolutely stoked to see the emphasis on player development and seeing the VFL team being treated seriously. But they need to find some consistency. Not just within a single season but over the course of the next five years. If there is no improvement over consecutive years, there is actually no improvement.

I agree with previous summations, anywhere between 8th to 13th.


We’ve certainly improved the list when you compare the in’s and out’s. We got very little output from that departing group last season.

I feel we’re on the right path, but it’s a slow burn. This year should be all about building consistency and enforcing standards. There’s talent on the list, we need to get the most out of it.

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I like how this first sentence doesn’t say it is talking about 2022.


I’m going out on a limb.
I think we finish 5-8 and have a cracking chance of winning at least 1 final.

2021 probably saw us finish well up the table because of the draw, 2022 I think was a bit of a perfect storm.
We got hit by key injuries early and our game plan was a complete flop.
While we got some talent back progressively, it was largely underdone and ineffective.
We got completely knocked at the outset and had any shred of confidence squashed and we never got off the canvas save for a few glimpses here and there.

Fast Fwd 2023.
Rightly BDB setting expectations low, but that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve more than expected. I think the Pies set themselves low expectations going into 2022, so anything can happen.

Norf, wiggles, Hawks, GC, Adel, Saints, Dogs, Freo, Giants are all beatable on the ladder. That gets us to 9th.
FC is going down, and we wil get the Pies this time around, that gets us to 7th.

Our list feels more balanced this year and our forward options are going to be key to our success.
I am assuming that BDB will get our GamePlan fixed to the point where we can compete defensively, stop the Coast to Coast avalanche, and make the opposition work harder to score, which in turn energises us to have more forward thrust when needed.

So then the improvement in our forward line will be particularly important.
if Jones is fit & improving for most of the season, Stringer can deliver as intended, focussing on using his explosiveness rather than trying to make him something he is not, Weeds plays a solid support role, Walla, Daveys etc fill the void in the small pressure area, we suddenly become very potent up forward.

Then Tsatas may come online mid way through season and show some form at the back end.

It feels like our coaching and support is also way better, so there is a chance we can respond “in-game” when needed, to deal with what emerges, as opposed to sitting there like stunned mullets.

There was a lot of potential in 2021, a line through 2022, but if we hit 2023 largely fit with some additional game plan capability developed through the off season, improved depth options, the easier draw in 2023 could see us do a lot better than expected and set us up for a fantastic 2024 and beyond.


Fox Footy Best 22

B: Jordan Ridley, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Jayden Laverde
HB: Andy McGrath, Jake Kelly, Mason Redman
C: Nic Martin, Dylan Shiel, Dyson Heppell
HF: Archie Perkins, Sam Weideman, Matt Guelfi
F: Jake Stringer, Peter Wright, Kyle Langford
FOLL: Sam Draper, Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish
I/C: Will Setterfield, Jye Caldwell, Harrison Jones, Nick Hind

Actually dont mind their 22 to be honest.
They have no Walla, think after his preseason he deserves a spot or sub.

Im always optimistic on Dons.
we are a chance of making finals or finishing bottom 4.
Prediction 8-15th

@ivan for best 22

While the defence is largely set, and there are now more players to rotate through the midfield, the big question marks still hang over the forward line. In recent seasons it has resembled nothing so much as a patchwork quilt. Going into 2023 is the first time in years that we look to have some more than half decent options. I am not holding out much hope that the Weed will make much of an impression based on training reports, but there are now enough healthy candidates to make regular contributions. 2MP will continue to cause headaches and Stringer should impact games spending more time in the forward line. Unlike others, l expect Tippa to make quite an impact.

We will improve over last year, and be more competitive than in 2022. We have an easier draw, especially in the earlier part of the season and a few wins will do wonders for the confidence of what is still a very young team. However, the main area of improvement will come from our younger players having another year of development under their belts. Scott will drive and demand higher standards and the team has been focusing on defensive tactics, which the last couple of coaches did nothing much about.

We will finish in the middle 6 of the ladder.


Anywhere in the middle 6 would be quite acceptable for 2023 (unless we do what Fark Carlton did last year!).

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7-11 for me.

I don’t expect finals but twice we’ve gone into a season with zero expectations and have made it (only to get embarrassingly knocked out in week 1). We thrive when the pressure is off so we should see a big improvement this year. 2024 will be the big test though


Bottom 6. We’ll improve as the year progresses but tire towards the end of it.

8-10 wins.


Reckon Scott knows where we are as a group and the preconditioning tells me he expects us to finish bottom 6 but with a view of putting together a really solid last quarter of the season for a 2024 that sees us start to climb.

We’ll possibly go 2-2 in our first 4 as we unlearn old habits before that gross 7-8 week stretch of the fixture. We’ll be lucky to win a game for a while but will see progress before claiming a fair few promising wins in the back half of the fixture. I expect our idea of the best 22 to be quite different by season’s end.12th.

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When you look at the outs, we have lost absolutely nobody of worth. We have brought in a few young talented kids and a couple of experienced role players

If our midfield actually decides to work both ways consistently. We will make the 8

On paper our midfield should be the strongest part of our team.

Backline looks ok, but a lot of that depends on a guy like Ridley performing to expectations. And Mcgrath and Hind performing really well and giving us the run we need.

Forward line looks average. Wright is the main man, then we are relying on guys like Stringer(unfit) Tippa(who knows),Jones(injury prone) and Guelfi(had his best season last year to provide the rest.

We have some really talented youngsters that seem to bring it each week. It’s the senior core that will ultimately decide how go

So sick of turning up to games and not knowing what to expect. Been so much misery for almost 20 years, I just want to see us win some games and be consistent in effort.

If we are prepared properly and switched on. We should be starting the year 4-0. Then it becomes very very tough.



Sorry to burst the bubble, but we aren’t getting out of the bottom 4.

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Bottom 4 forward 50
Average midfield
Average defence
Bottom 4 leadership

Reckon we will finish 10-13

I’m liking the universal ‘lid on’ expectations coming into the season.

And all fair enough.

It’s the sort of low expectation base that really does bring out the best in us as a team and club. Yeah… it’s been a while.

We will well and truly know by the ANZAC Day game if we are in for a year of pain or blue skies ahead.


Bottom 6-8 is my guess. If we show some kind of progress with our midfield defence and get some games into guys like A. Davey and Voss, I’ll be pretty content.


I just want us to be the team that is respected and possibly feared. Depth has improved, players to be played in their best positions and we have a few players with X factor.

Ninth for me and finally on the right path out of football wilderness.