VFL preview: Dons v Pies
Essendon VFL coach Dan Jordan and his players will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to 2019 against Collingwood. (Photo: AFL Media)
The top-of-the-table Bombers will host their first home game at Windy Hill for the 2019 VFL season on Saturday afternoon, facing traditional rival Collingwood in the Anzac clash.
Essendon enters the contest on the back of two giant wins against Frankston (121 points) and North Melbourne (94), sitting in first position despite a bye in round two.
The Magpies, who were knocked out by the Bombers in last year’s elimination final, have had an indifferent start to 2019.
They narrowly held out Coburg in their season opener, before falling to Footscray (84 points) and the Northern Blues (three).
The last four meetings played at Windy Hill between the two sides show an equal record - Essendon winning two matches and losing two.
Most recently, Essendon was defeated by Collingwood at Windy Hill in round 16 last year - 11.6 (72) to 14.14 (98).
The Bombers had 11 individual goalkickers on that day, including Trent Mynott, Jayden Laverde, Heath Hocking and Danny Younan, while Aaron Heppell, Michael Hartley, Aaron Francis, Sam Draper and Hocking were named among the best on ground.
The match-up before that was in round two, 2017, where Essendon thumped Collingwood by 80 points, with Josh Begley and Dylan Clarke kicking one each.
This time around, skipper Heppell will be looking to lead his undefeated side to its third win of the season, after having the bye in round two.
Essendon VFL’s last meeting with Collingwood was one to savour. (Photo: AFL Media)
Essendon has made a few changes, but will most notably be without versatile defender Marty Gleeson , who suffered a fractured cheekbone in last week’s win over North Melbourne and will be sidelined for approximately two weeks.
Following his bag of six goals against North, Laverde will line up at half-forward, while Brayden Ham returns to the midfield after making his AFL debut on Good Friday.
Defender Ben McNiece will look to continue building on his form, starting in the back pocket after receiving praise from senior coach Dan Jordan in the round three player review .
Senior-listed Bomber Begley is ready to play a full game, having completed the necessary steps of his ACL rehabilitation that included restricted match minutes over the last couple of weeks.
Young recruit Dylan Landt (Calder Cannons/Sunbury) will make his debut, replacing Jacob Brown as the 23rd player, who has been named as one of eight on the extended bench.
Essendon VFL will live-tweet the match, which will also be broadcasted on SEN 2 digital radio, Radio 3DJR via BomberBlitz and live-streamed on vfl.com.au from 2pm on Saturday.
The team will be finalised closer to the start of the match.
B: 41. B. McNiece, 36. M. Hartley, 30. B. Zerk-Thatcher
HB: 64. R. Connellan, 10. A. Francis, 59. A. Heppell
C: 34. J. Long, 33. B. Ham, 70. L. McKenna
HF: 4. K. Langford, 15. J. Laverde, 62. N. Lazzaro
F: 16. J. Begley, 32. N. Gown, 24. J. Houlahan
R: 38. S. Draper, 37. D. Clarke, 39. T. Mynott
Int: 61. W. Berry, 51. J. Brown, 77. H. Hocking, 79. J. McQueen, 22. I. Mosquito, 65. E. Sibbald, 55. D. Younan
23P: 56. D. Landt
In: J. McQueen, K. Langford, B. Ham, E. Sibbald, D. Landt, W.Berry
Out: M. Dea, M. Gleeson, T. Jok
B: 35. I. Quaynor, 44. J. Madgen, 67. M. Smith
HB: 73. A. Oxley, 47. M. Keane, 51. L. Tardrew
C: 57. S. Ralph, 33. R. Wills, 3. D. Wells
HF: 29. T. Broomhead, 20. B. Reid, 39. B. Crocker
F: 40. A. Bosenavulagi, 6. T. Goldsack, 26. J. Daicos
R: 45. M. Lynch, 50. A. Woodward, 61. S. Hetherington
Int: 54. A. Gallucci, 27. W. Kelly, 64. C. Lane, 52. E. Le Grice, 78. R. Pal, 43. A. Tohill, 63. C. Wellings
23P: 56. C. Hustwaite
In: W. Kelly, J. Madgen, M. Chippendale, C. Lane, R. Pal, A. Gallucci
Out: L. Greenwood, F. Appleby
Brooke Varney is in the final year of her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at RMIT University. As part of their strategic partnership, Essendon Football Club and RMIT University are committed to providing opportunities for students, staff, players and the wider community.