The Team (Final) vs Melbourne


B – Goddard, Hurley, Saad

HB – Ambrose, Hooker, Heppell

C – Guelfi, Laverde, Mutch

HF – McNiece, Stringer, McDonald-Tipungwuti

F – Zaharakis, Daniher, Baguley

R – Leuenberger, Smith, J. Merrett

I/C – Stewart, Z. Merrett, Parish, McGrath

Emergencies – Ridley, Langford, Clarke, McKernan

IN: Leuenberger, Ambrose, Laverde, Mutch, McNiece

OUT: Begley, Green, Bellchambers, Hartley, Myers

Essendon has made five changes to its side ahead of its clash with Melbourne on Sunday, with one young Bomber set to make his AFL debut.

Midfielder Kobe Mutch will play his first senior game against the Demons, and coach John Worsfold said his selection was a reward for his impressive start to his career.

“Kobe’s been knocking on the door for quite a while,” Worsfold said on Friday.

“His form last year was outstanding in the VFL for a first-year player.

“(He) had a little setback in the off-season early with some knee surgery, but we knew he’d get up to speed quickly and he’s done that and we’re excited about his opportunity.”

The 20-year-old finished second in the VFL side’s best and fairest in his first season last year, and has impressed Worsfold with his athleticism.

“His work ethic, his running ability to get up and down the ground, ball-winning ability - he knows how to win it both inside a contest and running hard on the outside.

“So he can play several roles for us through an inside mid or an outside mid, or even at half-forward or half-back with his running capabilities.”

Key defender Patrick Ambrose will return to the side after overcoming a broken wrist and serving a one-week VFL suspension.

Worsfold said he was excited to have him back in the line-up after an interrupted start to 2018.

“It’s great, Patty’s been a really good part of the team over the last couple of years.

“He has to work hard to hold his spot in the team, he knows that, he plays a really key role for us in the back half and gives his heart and soul every week.

“So the boys will be rapt that Patty’s got himself back into the line-up.”

Small defender Ben McNiece will play his third senior game – and first of the season – after a recent hamstring concern.

“(Ben) understands the role, plays the role really well as a small defender (and) kicks the ball really well,” Worsfold said.

“It was really just injury that has probably held back his opportunities, but he’s ready to go now and again (we’re) really excited.

“He’s super quick, competitive and uses the ball well for us.”

Dangerous forward Jayden Laverde will also take his place in the senior side for the first time this year as an important replacement for injured forwards Josh Begley and Josh Green.

“Jayden, he’s been playing really good footy, he’s worked so hard through his injury rehab after another serious injury.

“He’s really impressed us with how well he’s got himself back and how quickly he’s back into really top form.”

Worsfold admitted it was hard not to select Laverde earlier, but has jumped at the chance to bring the 22-year-old back into the line-up.

“He’s been knocking on the door for a while, two unfortunate injuries really open up the opportunity for him that he’s been looking for.

“It’s been hard not to pick him, because his form warrants selection. Now he gets the opportunity, so we’re all excited about that.”

Ruckman Matthew Leuenberger rounds out the inclusions as a like-for-like replacement for Tom Bellchambers.

Worsfold said he is confident Leuenberger can compete strongly with Melbourne’s All-Australian ruckman Max Gawn.

“He’s been in good form rucking in the VFL and the idea is that we’ve got two good ruckmen, we probably won’t play them both in the same team in any given week, but we’re comfortable that either one of them can lead the ruck really well.

“So it makes sense that we’ve got a guy who’s fresh and in really good form ready to back up after a short turnaround for us against a really good ruckman in Max Gawn.”

The first bounce will be at 1:10pm, but fans are encouraged to get to the game early to avoid missing the pre-game entertainment where this week’s Bomber Legend Darren Bewick will be honoured.

So how much will we get for Langford at the trade table when he requests a trade?


Wow Tippa and Bags really lucky there.
Tippa looks injured as hell, and can’t get to contests. Bags, well he is done.

Good luck to Mutch, Clarke should have also been included. Langford needs four games to just get a bit of confidence.


Wow, Clark and Langford are stiff.


I think this idea that clubs will be queueing up to get Langford is fanciful IMO


Good riddance if we lose him. Good changes, go Mutch!



Thats cool Mutch got a game.

Extra speed is what they are going for and workability.


Would have liked to see Clarke there as well but with McNiece, Lav and Mutch selected I can understand maybe going with someone with some experience in Ambrose.

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North will queue up.


Not sure how Bags got a game. Really annoyed. He was so costly on Wednesday.

Melbourne have brought Tom McDonald back - concerned about that in.


We’re playing 3 back pockets? Bags in the Green role?

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I doubt it, they want experience and have the money to burn.

WHY did Baguley get a game. Pies exposed him as a liability.


They queued up for Morgan.

I’m thinking of starting a line for Jerrett, he has a reputable surname after all.

That was down back.
He plays forward this week. He would have learnt a fair bit about how to kick opportunistic goals.


when has he ever been a forward?

1 person is not a queue.


Sunday, April 29, 2018, at about 1:20pm or so.