No doubt, every team is concerned about the tall forward line of Sydney. Bombers have to face this problem on Friday August 1. With Joey not playing against the Dogs, Essendon looked to be one tall short and became unbalanced when Hooker had to ruck to allow Rhyder a rest. Fletcher was moved to fullback and was soundly beaten. When sent forward, he made little contribution. It isn't going to be easy to try and counter Franklin, Reid, Tippett and Goodes. Any reliance on Carlisle to be a superman again will be truly tested by the Swans.
So what sort of team do we take to Sydney? I'm suggesting two taller inclusions despite their injuries and indifferent form. But we must take a gamble as we don't want Sydney to run all over us like they did to Carlton. Of course we want to win, but despite Essendon's great form of late, it is a big ask of the side to beat the flag favourites on their home ground.
So here goes:
B. Baguley Hooker Fletcher
HB Hibberd Hurley Dempsey
C Stanton Hocking Goddard
HF Winderlich Bellchambers Zaharakis
F Z.Merrett Carlisle Ambrose
R Rhyder Heppell Myers
INT Colyer Pears Dell'Olio SUB. Howlett
Why Pears and Bellchambers? Remember that one tall short against the Dogs. Paddy needs a break and Tommy is the obvious replacement despite his poor form and recurring ankle problem. But what other option do we have? Time for Pears to be given a run. His form in the VFL has been very good, playing both forward and back, and he becomes the insurance to help out in the backline if Fletch has another bad day. Fletch might even be rested again as Father Time seemed to be catching up with him as demonstrated last Sunday night. Who knows?
Incidentally, despite the weight difference, I reckon Hibberd would do well on Goodes given his agility, speed and great marking ability. Hibbo would make Goodes earn every kick.
There are plenty of midfielders/runners in this side - Heppell, Myers, Stanton, Goddard, Zaharakis, Dempsey, Hibberd, Merrett, Chapman, Winderlich, Coyler, Dell'Olio and Howlett, who looked tired against the Dogs. A day as the sub will not hurt him one bit.
If Watson and Daniher were available, I wonder how we would go?