VFL - Round 4 vs Pies @ Windy Hill, 2pm Saturday 27 April 2019

  1. Collingwood came into Round 4 averaging 385 disposals per game – 16 more than the next best team – but Essendon simply denied the Magpies chances to maintain possession in its 37-point triumph. The Bombers recorded 336 disposals to 303, with their top ball-winners Kyle Langford and Ben McNiece (equal game-high 29 disposals each) effectively matching it with the top two disposal-getters in the competition – Collingwood’s Rupert Wills (28 touches) and Alex Woodward (29).

Otherwise, no Essendon players won any stats this week.

Kyle Langford

Stats: 29 disposals, four tackles, one goal

From the coach: Kyle was pretty solid all day. I thought his first half was good in terms of his transition. He didn’t win as much of the ball in the first half as he would have liked, but in the second half he was really good around the contest and gave us some good, strong contested possessions inside. I thought it was a pretty solid game from him.

Aaron Francis

Stats: 10 disposals, five marks, two goals

From the coach: Aaron played a couple of roles for us. He started as a back, and then we lost Jayden (Laverde) early so he went forward and kicked two goals in the second quarter. He looked really dangerous up there, and I thought he competed hard and made a contest for us. That was all that we asked of him – to try and bring the ball to ground and compete for us. He wasn’t brilliant in terms of his output but he played his role really well, particularly having to change roles mid-game.

Jayden Laverde

Stats: Five disposals, one goal

From the coach: Jayden started really well, kicked a nice goal and got his hands on the footy early. He got injured at the end of the first quarter which is disappointing for him - he was probably in line for AFL selection but thankfully it doesn’t look like he will (be sidelined) for long. Hopefully he’ll just be out for a couple of weeks, and then can come back and plead his case.

Josh Begley

Stats: 16 disposals, five marks, two goals

From the coach: It was Josh’s first full game back from an ACL injury. I thought he was really good – he looked to cover the ground really well, he played a bit of an inside mid and was strong around the contest. Some of his work forward and transitioning was really good, along with his defensive work rate. He finished with a couple of smart goals as well. It was a pleasing game from him in his first full hit-out.

Josh Begley played his first full game since his comeback from a knee reconstruction. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Irving Mosquito

Stats: Nine disposals, one goal

From the coach: It was a standard Mosquito game – he was brilliant in patches and is working hard on his consistency. As we saw he kicked a beautiful goal and he’s just really exciting to watch. He’s one of those guys that doesn’t need to get a lot of possessions to have a big impact on the game. Some of his defensive pressure acts were great as well. He’s progressing nicely.

Jordan Houlahan

Stats: 10 disposals, six marks, four tackles, three goals

From the coach: It was one of Jordan’s better games for the club. I thought he looked strong in the contest, took a couple of nice marks early and kicked two first-quarter goals. He played a bit of wing-time and looked to be transitioning up and down the wing really well. He’s been working on his defensive pressure and laid some really good tackles by putting himself in good positions. It was a good all-round game from Jordan. He’s building into some good form.

Brandon Zerk-Thatcher

Stats: Nine disposals, four marks

From the coach: It was Brandon’s second game back from an ankle injury, so it took him a while to get into the game in terms of reading the pace of it. Obviously Collingwood have some good forwards in (Ben) Reid and (Tyson) Goldsack so it was a nice challenge for Brandon. He positioned himself well on occasions but was probably just a bit off with his touch. He’ll be better for the run though, and will (look to) get back to the form he was in two or three weeks ago before his injury.

Noah Gown

Stats: Three disposals, two marks

From the coach: It wasn’t a big output from Noah in terms of possessions, but I thought he still played his role well in terms of competing and getting up and down the ground. He worked hard defensively as well, so we want that to be a consistent level for him. He did the same last week and kicked three, and did the same this week but things didn’t go his way. He just has to keep working and if he does that the output will come for him. We’re happy with how he’s going.

Brayden Ham

Stats: 14 disposals (10 kicks), three tackles, one goal

From the coach: ‘Hammy’ played a little bit on the wing and up forward. He used his speed to get up and down the ground really well. He didn’t get a lot of the ball but his defensive pressure was good and he played his role. He went forward and kicked a goal, and put some forward-line pressure on for us. It was his first game back from AFL, which can often take a bit of adjustment but I thought he was good. We’re exposing him to a couple of new roles as well as playing his half-back role, which we know he can play.

Jake Long

Stats: 11 disposals, three marks

From the coach: ‘Longy’ played a half-back role for us. I thought he was solid, without being brilliant. He didn’t have a lot of the ball but when he did, he moved the ball forward through the corridor and used his run and carry. I thought he was solid in that respect and can hopefully build on that, be more aggressive in his game and be a real weapon for us across half-back.

Michael Hartley

Stats: 19 disposals (14 kicks), five marks,

From the coach: ‘Harts’ played as our key defensive post once again, on a good player in Ben Reid – that was a good battle all day. I think Reid hit up on him a few times and kicked two goals but, Harts positioned himself well and was able to intercept and use the ball well coming forward. He probably broke even with Reid, but if he’s with us again he’ll have another good challenge this weekend against Geelong. I think he’s building into some nice form, but just want him to be consistent over four quarters.

Dylan Clarke

Stats: 24 disposals, three marks, one goal

From the coach: ‘Clarkey’ was solid again around the contest. He won some good inside ball and was a real presence around the contest with some good method. He was also able to get (the ball) out hard which is something he’s been working on and finished off with a nice running goal. Hitting the scoreboard is another thing he’s been working on while playing some forward minutes. It was another solid contribution from Clarkey.

Sam Draper

Stats: 20 disposals, five marks, 47 hit-outs

From the coach: ‘Drapes’ obviously played in the ruck, and I thought he gave our mids first use and had some really good transitions. His first half was great – he probably allowed us to get on top and win some clearances to get the ball into our forwards one-on-one. We were challenged a bit by Collingwood in the second half but he worked his way through that and still influenced the game. Sam’s in some good form at the moment. He just needs to work on his consistency and keep that up, and hopefully then put his hand up for AFL selection if that opportunity arises.

It was another solid outing from young ruckman Sam Draper. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Trent Mynott

Stats: 19 disposals (11 kicks), four marks, three tackles

From the coach: Trent was reasonably solid again, in terms of playing a bit of a mid-forward role. He got some nice ball through the corridor, and worked on his defensive pressure, which was good. He had a really good game the week before, so it probably wasn’t to that level but his work rate was still there and his intensity was still good. As long as he brings those two things, he will play some really good footy at this level.

Ben McNiece

Stats: 29 disposals (17 kicks), six marks, two tackles

From the coach: ‘Benny’ was brilliant all day. He read the ball really well, and chopped it off through a number of intercept marks. He was freed up a bit in the second quarter when Collingwood put one behind the ball, and was able to have four or five inside-50s in that quarter. He used the ball really well and made smart decisions, but also defended hard when he needed to. He was also really instructive in setting up for our backline. Having over 20 possessions as a defender is really good. He was given the Anzac medal and I think deservedly so.

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.


Those articles are some of the best vfl content I’ve seen from the club. Really good insight on where the club sees the young players.


Interesting that despite a comprehensive win the coach seems to be marking the players a bit more harshly this week.
Except for MacNiece & Laverde, all of them are basically rated as OK/good but must try harder.

Either a grumpy coach or we’re raising the expectations.

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He should be a little grumpy.

We slaughtered them in the first half, and pretty much slept through the 2nd half.


It’s probably as it should be

If they want to be really pressing for AFL selection they should be dominant at VFL level

Good/ok games not really enough.

Love the comprehensive and smooth manner that Brooke Varney goes about her work.

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A meaningful outcome of this RMIT partnership. A big win win for all parties.

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I’ve got an idea.,
only count the kick out as a stat if they take a bounce first :slight_smile:
Bounces can still be counted as well (if they are im not sure).
would be funny seeing some blokes take a bounce and stuff it up and cost a goal just to get a stat. lol

Would actually help us if we had McKenna and Saad taking the kick outs as they are prolific bouncers

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Really good piece, thanks for posting. A few takeaways for me:

  • Generally, I’d agree with most of the comments, especially when you consider they’re probably slanted with a bit of positive reinforcement where necessary.
  • A bit disappointed at the talk of Draper needing more consistency and then will put his hand up for AFL. Seems to be a disconnect with where the punters and the club see Draper’s form vis-a-vis AFL level right now.
  • The comment on Hartley was interesting, and makes me wonder if they’re planning on playing him in the AFL against Geelong, with maybe Hooker forward.

Not all punters, … seems I’m with the Coach on this, . (surprise!! :smile: )