Season 2024 - Essendon

Essendon

Coach – Brad Scott

2023 –

Points For – 14th
Points Against – 15th

Top 5 Best and Fairest

1 – Zach Merrett
2 – Kyle Langford
3 – Mason Redman
4 – Andrew McGrath
5 – Jordan Ridley

2023 Rising Star Noms

Nil

Ins – Nate Caddy, Xavier Duursma, Todd Goldstein, Jade Gresham, Luamon Luai, Ben McKay, Archie Roberts, Vigo Visenti

Outs – Massimo, D’Ambrosio, Alastair Lord, Cian McBride, Walla, Rhett Montgomerie, Anothony Munkara, Andrew Phillips, Will Snelling, James Stewart, Patrick Voss, BZT

My Prediction

Last season for two thirds of it felt like we were finally turning around this giant crap stained bus. We were competitive, we beat good teams or took them to the wire, I started to trust them again before the wheels fell off. It then becomes a question of which Essendon is the real one. We watch other teams turn themselves around with little more than a sneeze and a change of coach. Last season we truly started to see just how broken we were. This season, more talk about how we are changing the culture and demanding more of each other. I don’t believe them, not yet.

The backline should be good this year. McKay and Reid as the twin towers, releasing Ridley to play the role he was born for by floating around intercepting the ball and not being accountable for anyone. McGrath chipping the ball sideway 14.5 metres but this time to Redman and Martin who will give us all of the drive. Laverde stopping medium sized forwards in the VFL all day. They have the shape of a quality backline.

The midfield has depth and quality this season, I feel they may even have size. It is worrying how important Setterfield is to our structure but whispers that Durham and Perkins might be in there relieve some pressure and Hobbs with his ample shoulders and quads could also get involved. Tsatas is both the hope and the worry. If the kid learns to kick, we are on to something good but that is a big if. Parish and Merrett are a very very good one two punch running out of the centre and I trust both of their disposals. You then look at Sheil, Caldwell, Durrsma and Heppell/Kelly. It is as good a midfield group as we have had in twenty years (which isn’t saying a huge amount).

The forward line is worrying but there are signs of life. Wright spent most of last season injured or recovering before reinjuring himself again. A fit a firing Wright would make a huge difference. Alternatively a lot of the problem up forward last year was Weideman and his capacity to keep playing week after week. Caddy is a first year marking forward who looks to have something special about him. Langford was stunning last year in a crap season and they look to have improved the forward line with addition of Gresham which will add someone alongside Langford who actually understands the game and how it works. If Menzie or one of the Daveys can give them crumbing support then there is hope.

The rucks are fun, Draper is the best player in the competition to watch and Goldstein is one of the best tap rucks of the modern era. Both can impact a game up forward. I like the coach, I know he has faults and he likes to back in his experienced players. That being said, he didn’t have a wealth of talent waiting in the wings. I still expect him to err on the side of picking the most professional players for the best 23. I like that.

All in all, this is the best the Essendon list has looked for a while. It bats deeper and they have recruited quality players. They need to make finals and preferably win one, just to shut the world up and to remove that very large chip from our collective shoulders. I don’t know about the second part but I believe the Essendon we saw before the collapse at the end of last season is closer to the real team and I think they will play finals this year. I predict 6-8.

32 Likes

Great write up!
I’m still not sure we have the quality forward of the ball to crack into the top 8.
Too many good teams in a similar ladder range and I think we’ll miss out and finish 9 to 12th. Would be delighted to be proven wrong.

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Do we have to?

But seriously, If there is one thing I want to see this season its a massive shift in attitude and on field football smarts.

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Good grief! I know this is a little skewed given the blowouts towards the end of the season, but this has taken a bit of optimism I had about the season ahead.

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Why are you expecting us to not try to get any better?

For context, I should have said from a list point of view, I thought we’d push for 7-8th.

But to improve both scoring and defending or significantly improving one of those, seems like a bit too much improvement in one season.

If it helps. I picked a random round to compare before our late season collapse…

After Rnd 16

Points for : 7th
Points Against : 11th

So that late season crap show dragged the numbers

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I cant see Essendon in and winning finals in September.

Wont say the club cant of course they could. Just wouldnt predict it

Objectively I just think theres at least 8 sides with the list and runs on the board ahead of us.

BULLISH!

After doing the FLR I used squiggle to check the results. It put us 5th. Shouldn’t have done it so early in the morning!

I think we’ll improve on last year, but can’t see us doing anymore than scraping into the 8.

So you’re telling me there a chance that we can fall into the bottom of the 8 and then get destroyed in an Interstate Final?

All is right with the world again

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No, destroyed in a home final.

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I mean we weren’t that good last year. I just don’t really think it will impact how we should look at this year. Teams can turn these things around pretty quickly IF everything clicks.

Footy hanger Best 23

FB: Jordan Ridley, Ben McKay, Andrew McGrath
HB: Mason Redman, Jayden Laverde, Dyson Heppell
C: Sam Durham, Darcy Parish, Nic Martin
HF: Archie Perkins, Kyle Langford, Jade Gresham
FF: Matt Guelfi, Peter Wright, Jake Stringer
FO: Sam Draper, Zach Merrett, Dylan Shiel
I/C: Todd Goldstein, Jye Caldwell, Xavier Duursma, Ben Hobbs
SUB: Elijah Tsatas

Also in the mix: Jye Menzie, Nate Caddy, Nick Hind, Harrison Jones, Kaine Baldwin, Zach Reid, Alwyn Davey Jr., Jake Kelly, Nik Cox

Prediction : 5-14th we could do anything, win a final or wheels fall off once injuries mount. im on the optimistic side and think we will make finals and win a final this year. Competition is even, if finals are off the cards, would like to play the kids…and put senior guys in for surgery early so get a head start for 2025.

Hard to believe it until I see it with us. On paper we have players who can do good things in almost every position (at least until we get a few injuries), but at the end of the day, other teams sliced through us like a hot knife through butter on a regular basis.

The end of season meltdown is also very hard to write off. Base case scenario is it was a fitness issue that may or may not be fixable in one off-season. Worst case is it’s down to lack of self-belief or determination, in which case- actually let’s not go down that road.

Strangely, this is one of few times in the last decade where I’ve felt that our list is ready to attack finals. Our best players are in the middle of their peaks and will be past them before we know it, we have good ruck depth, a few key position options at either end to challenge for spots, and a glut of young promising mids who could turn the corner at any moment. Small forwards are the biggest hole in our side, but we could probably win a final without fully addressing that.

The problem is that Essendon have taught me to expect nothing. They have never met or exceeded expectations when I have thought they are capable of winning a final, so I won’t.

11th-13th.

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Anywhere between 6-16.

Our best is good enough to win a final. Not go very far in them, but definitely win an elimination final.

Our worst would have us 16th.

Hoping for the former rather than the latter.

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We will kill it this year. I got rid of my Kayo subscription so we are guaranteed to have a very good one. I am in no doubt.

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Comment of the year!

“Alternatively a lot of the problem up forward last year was Weideman and his capacity to keep playing week after week”
:joy::joy::joy:

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3rd to 6th if we have a good run with injuries. Need McKay, Reid, McGrath, Redman, Martin, Zerrett, Parish, Wright, Duz, Caldwell, Langford, String, Duursma & Gresham to all play 20+ games. Need 22 games between Draper and Goldy as well

We will fall away/miss finals should we have the standard amount of injuries or higher.

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