The Annual Champion Data Findings

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Not sure if Bachar Houli is elite but Dyson Heppell is not.

A decade in the doldrums: There are just three players on Essendon’s current list that played in the club’s last finals win. Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton and Dustin Fletcher played in the 2004 elimination final triumph against Melbourne; a game in which coach James Hird also appeared. They’ve since lost four finals. Watson is one of three players ranked as elite in by Champion Data, along with Cale Hooker and Michael Hibberd.

Scoring sabbatical: The Bombers averaged 83.1 points per game last year, which was the lowest average by an Essendon team since 1971. They took the ball inside 50 plenty, with David Zaharakis leading the charge with 103 inside 50s – equal seventh in the League – but they were wasteful, with the biggest differential of all teams between delivery into the forward line and points scored.

The time is now: The Bombers have the third oldest list in the competition, with Fremantle and North Melbourne topping the table, and have the fourth most experience in terms of games. With four players currently over 30 or move – Watson, Fletcher, Paul Chapman and Jason Winderlich – and a further 15 in the peak age bracket of 25-29, their list has progressed from being ranked in the middle bracket for age and into the place where success needs to come soon. - Jennifer Phelan"