The Team: Franga and his mates V the Swans

IN – Francis, Stringer, McKenna
OUT – McKernan, Colyer, McNiece

Team selection - Rd 19
Conor Walsh July 26, 2018 6:20 PM


Essendon has made three changes and Aaron Francis will make his long-awaited return to the line-up in the club’s must-win clash with Sydney on Friday night.

Bombers coach John Worsfold said he is “rapt” to have the promising 20-year-old back in the senior side after overcoming a number of significant hurdles.

“We’re rapt for Aaron. Early on in the year it was pretty tough for him, so everyone’s worked really closely with Aaron and supported him,” Worsfold said on Thursday.

“Our first aim was obviously to get him back to really enjoying his footy and enjoying life and get him back on the pathway to playing, and we’re rapt with the outcome.”

Francis missed around a month of the pre-season to deal with a mental health issue, but has been knocking down the door for selection in recent months through outstanding form in the VFL.

“He’s been in good form and we’ve weighed up exactly where he’s been at and where the team’s been at prior to putting him in,” Worsfold said.

“We feel as though now’s the right time and the best time for Aaron, more than for the team, because it’s really important that we get this right in terms of him continuing on to play good footy and growing as a young man.”

Worsfold said it was important to be patient as external calls for Francis’ inclusion continued to grow in recent weeks.

“I understand people have been anxious about bringing him in, but they don’t understand that there’s more to it than just how they want to see things happening.

“It’s a credit to Aaron the way he’s been continuing to learn and grow, and he’s earned his spot back in the side.”

The Bombers will also be boosted by the return of Jake Stringer, who has overcome the minor calf strain that kept him out of the team in the last fortnight.

“Jake’s been a wonderful contributor to the team this year and even in his couple of weeks out he’s assisted the boys in their preparation and what we’ve been working on,” Worsfold said.

“So he’s worked hard to be available and that’s awesome for us.”

Stringer will play an important role in the team as it looks to maintain a balanced forward line without injured tall Shaun McKernan, and Worsfold said he expects the in-form side to stay potent despite the disappointing injury.

“We’re really pleased with the way we’ve been able to cover all of the players that have been out of the side for periods this year and we are confident we’ll be able to continue to kick a score,” he said.

Conor McKenna is the other inclusion after proving himself fit following groin tightness that held him back from reaching full speed throughout last week and Worsfold has no doubt about the defender’s ability to attack off half-back on Friday.

“That’s all he knows, he plays with real dare and dash. So Conor’s fresh and I think we’ll see some great explosiveness from him this week. “

Worsfold also highlighted what he wants to see from Ben McNiece and Travis Colyer, who have both been omitted from the side.

“There’s no game on for the VFL this week, so really they get the chance to freshen up and be up and going and available next week,” he said.

“Ben McNiece played really well last week, he’s a bit unfortunate to go out of the line-up, but he understands the reasons behind that.

“Trav’s come in after an interrupted year, so we just want Trav to keep working so he maximises all of the possessions that he’s getting and he’s ready to go for us as required.”

B – Dea, Hooker, McGrath
HB – Saad, Hurley, McKenna
C – Heppell, Z. Merrett, Zaharakis
HF – Smith, Stringer, Baguley
F – McDonald-Tipungwuti, Brown, Fantasia
R – Bellchambers, Goddard, Myers
I/C – Parish, Francis, Langford, Guelfi
Emergencies – Colyer, Leuenberger, Long, McNiece

IN – Francis, Stringer, McKenna
OUT – McKernan, Colyer, McNiece


I can deal with that. Bit rough on Ben McN, but I’m guessing they think he’s done enough.


Blitz delivers!

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oh yeah conor trauma time



It’s a beauty beauty!!


Good ole Iron Hands ey


What is this, dropping underperforming players? Logical selections? FRANG IN?? Bizzaro Essendon.


Very happy for Francis - hope we smash them!

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before Worsfold told Colyer he was dropped did he fumble around a bit to put Travis more at ease?


Daniher aside, probably our best team all year.

That usually spells trouble.


Interesting, I thought Stewart would come in because he could give TBC a rest in the ruck. Now it seems that TBC will ruck for the entire game.


That’s a great lineup. Imagine Joe in there too. Phwoar!


The umps better bring their best because we just powered up! Sydney are farked!


[quote=“SCarey, post:1, topic:13694, full:true”]
IN – Francis, Stringer, McKenna

OK, OK So what we got here is the greatest “IN” line-up in memory. Just putting it out there…

But no need to get your knickers wet just yet

What needs to happen is " the Franga" must be placed in a protective bubble, AFL endorsed if you like, to ensure no freak accident deprives the fans of his impending awesomeness.

Oh hail great Franga.

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Was thinking the same thing. Daniher in for Brown, Gleeson in for Dea, it’s pretty much best 22.