Category Archives: Uncategorized

Greene back and ready to fire GWS to AFL glory

Greater Western Sydney forward Toby Greene has made it clear he is fully fit and feeling healthier than he has at any point this season. The 24-year-old has been plagued by injuries this term, but Greene is back in contention for the upcoming Sydney derby elimination final after missing the Giants’ last three home and away rounds with a hamstring problem. GWS’s struggles in front of goal were made clear in the club’s defeats to Sydney and Melbourne, and having a man capable of scoring as consistently as Greene will be a huge boost heading into these finals.

Following a broken toe, a foot injury and his hamstring injury, Greene has only made seven appearances this season. The fact that the Giants have won six of those seven games highlights the forward’s importance to the club. For a team priced at around $10.00 in terms of the latest Aussie Rules betting odds, it’s clear there are a number of other teams in the finals expected to mount a much stronger challenge for the premiership than the Giants. That might not be the case if GWS can beat Sydney in their elimination final, and you may find the club being considered as a potential dark horse.

Greene’s return certainly helps the Giants’ chances. After kicking off the season with four goals in an 82-point win over the Western Bulldogs, shortly after recovering from a broken toe, a hamstring injury kept Greene out of action for the next two rounds before a foot issue saw the forward ruled out for ten games. He subsequently returned to the field for a run of four appearances before his most recent hamstring complaint. Despite his interrupted campaign, though, Greene has still managed to record 13 goals at an average of two a game.

The 2016 All-Australian representative and Giants best-and-fairest winner is one of a number of players set to return from injury in time for the finals for GSW, along with Brett Deledio, Ryan Griffen, Matt de Boer, Aidan Corr and Sam Taylor. The group had been missing for the Giants during the regular season’s closing rounds, and GWS’s back-to-back defeats against Sydney and Melbourne only go to highlight how much stronger this team are at full strength.

NAB CUP 2013 – Giants v Essendon” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Amy Mergard Photography + Design

Now set to compete in the AFL finals for a third straight season, the Giants will be hoping to use their experience from the past two years to go on and reach the grand final and potentially challenge for the premiership. Having finished in the top four for the past two years and reaching the preliminary finals, GWS’s seventh-place finish this season has earned them a sudden-death elimination final against city rivals Sydney. The Swans may well have the upper hand, having beaten the Giants only a couple of weeks before the two meet in the finals, although the pressure on the elimination final will be a lot different to when the two did battle in a match that had little relevance to the end-of-season shake-up.

Injuries hit Collingwood hard

Despite sitting second in the AFL ladder with the regular season entering its final third, Collingwood’s hopes of challenging for honours hasn’t been helped by yet more injuries hitting an already depleted roster. The latest names to join the ever-increasing casualty list are Will Hoskin-Elliot and Flynn Appleby. The duo picked up their injuries in the bruising victory over Essendon in round 16 – a result that saw the Pies extend their winning run to seven games. But despite their current form on the field, the club will be desperate to have a number of key players back from the treatment room in the run up to the finals.

In more promising news, Darcy Moore, Travis Varcoe and Josh Smith all made successful returns in the VFL having recovered from their respective hamstring injuries, although Nathan Buckley won’t want to throw the trio back into the fold until they are completely ready. Much could depend on how important the minor premiership is to the club. In the same way you take a chance when you play one of the slots at the likes of Joe Fortune, Buckley may feel he needs to spin the wheel in the hope of landing the jackpot and winning the 20th minor premiership in the Pies’ history.

It’s no secret that Collingwood have their sights set on the big one, and not rushing back those returning players could be crucial to the Magpies hopes of pushing the Richmonds, Port Adelaides and Sydney Swans of this world in the finals. Moore’s return to fitness is particularly important, with the team already missing Lynden Dunn following his season-ending knee injury, leaving a sizeable hole in their defence. But as we’ve seen this season, Collingwood have a roster capable of stepping up and filling in when needed, and that strength in depth has been one of the most impressive aspects of the campaign for the club.

St_Kilda_V_Collingwood_093” (CC BY 2.0) by Martin Turmine

 

That was evident in Collingwood’s 16-point win over an Essendon team that produced one of their most determined performances of the season. Chasing a place in the top eight, the Bombers pushed their opponents more than many would have expected from a 12th placed team against one sitting second in the table. It was the Collingwood stalwart Scott Pendlebury who popped up in the last quarter to see his side come out on top in a tough game. Another long-serving Pies man Steele Sidebottom also grabbed the headlines, scoring two goals in his 200th appearance for the club.

For Those in Their 20s” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by mikecogh

 

With a number of huge games coming up between now and the end of the season, the team will be under no illusions they haven’t achieved anything yet. A lot can happen over the course of seven games, and continuing this winning streak would play a significant role in just how short Collingwood will be with the bookies by the time the finals get underway. And if the majority of the players currently sidelined can get back on the field before the end of the season, Collingwood could well be the favourites with many to win their first premiership in eight years.

Tigers Looking Strong As They Get Ready to Begin Their Title Defence

Source: Richmond FC via Facebook.

The Richmond Tigers have finished their pre-season series and it looks as though they are going to start their title defence at full throttle. In their last game of the JLT Community Series, the Tigers belted the North Melbourne Kangaroos 19.14. (128) to 8.10. (50), in an impressive display that will have every other team in the premiership a little worried. Some thought that the Victorian club might have a bit of a grand final headache and possibly take a while to get back into the swing of things, but the performance against the Roos showed everyone that they are ready to rumble.

Coach Damien Hardwick’s men looked confident and composed on the field, and they will undoubtedly be one of the teams challenging for the flag in 2018. Currently the Adelaide Crows and the Sydney Swans are the early favourites at $6.00 according to Aussie Rules betting, with Richmond and the GWS Giants both back on $7.50. Geelong, Port Adelaide, Essendon and Melbourne are the bookmakers’ choice to take the final spots in the top eight.

In the victory against North Melbourne, the Tigers were ruthless at times, constantly applying pressure and forcing turnovers all across the park. Richmond had an incredible 12 separate goal kickers, which highlighted just how much of a team performance it was from the reigning champs. The commanding display will surely give Hardwick a bit of a selection conundrum ahead of the new season.

Source: The West Australian Sport via Facebook.

Shai Bolton looks to have locked in his role as Daniel Rioli’s replacement until he returns from injury, with the small forward taking 15 possessions and 1.3 goals after scoring three against the Bombers in their previous game. Apart from Bolton, the small forward line should remain relatively unchanged. However, the coach would have been pleased with youngster Callum Moore’s cameo appearance after he came on and kicked two goals, showing that he could be a viable backup option for Jack Riewoldt, if necessary this season.

Kane Lambert was impressive through the midfield with four goals, while Josh Caddy showed that he could be one of this year’s big improvers with another dynamic performance. The 25-year-old was heavily involved in the middle and made seven clearances from his 20 possessions. His decision making moving forward was excellent and he finished the contest with two goals.

In their other preseason game against Essendon, they were equally as devastating, thrashing the Bombers by a massive 87 points. Brownlow Medal winner Dustin Martin was back to his best, tallying up 24 disposals and scoring one goal. Although the Tigers were only missing three of their premiership winning 22, compared to Essendon who were far from full strength, the display from the premiers further cemented their place as one of the flag favourites for this season.

The Tigers seemed to have picked up right where they left off at the end of last year and will once again be a major threat in this year’s competition. It could even be the start of a golden era for the club, and opposition will have to be at their absolute best if they want any chance of overcoming them in 2018.

Which Team Has the Most Dangerous Midfield for Next Season?

Now that the AFL trade and draft period are behind us, it’s easier to pick how teams will be lining up for next season. There have been a few additions to most squads, and it’s always interesting to see how the players adapt to their new teammates and surroundings.

Some of the most talked-about trades were Gary Ablett returning home to where it all began, as well as Bryce Gibbs heading back to South Australia. These are the kind of key positional changes can have a dramatic impact on the way a team performs throughout the campaign. Here are four midfields that are looking like they will be a major threat to opposition sides next year.

Source: Titus O’Reily via Facebook

Geelong Cats

Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood are already an imposing force through the middle of the park, and now with Ablett joining the mix, they are shaping up to have the most attacking midfield in the premiership.

The Cats have been looking for that something extra for a while now to make the final push towards the Grand Final, and although they have been a hugely competitive side in recent times, they have been eliminated in the preliminary finals for the past two years. Their supporters will be hoping the prodigal son is the key to their success next year as they search for their first flag since 2011.

 

Source: 7 News Adelaide via Facebook

Adelaide Crows

The Crows’ midfield was arguably the best in the competition last term and it’s hard to see them not being extremely competitive once again. Newcomer Bryce Gibbs will be joining up with Rory Sloane and Matt Crouch in the middle, and all signs point to the trio becoming a powerhouse on the pitch.

Adelaide will be hungry for another shot at the flag after coming so close last year when they went down to the Richmond Tigers in the Grand Final. The bookmakers certainly think they are capable contenders yet again, with the latest Aussie Rules betting having them as equal favourites on $5.50, alongside the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

 

Source: Perth Live News via Facebook

Sydney Swans

Any midfield that can lose the first six games of a season and come back to make the semi-final should never be underestimated. The Swans’ campaign was a little unorthodox in 2017, but there was no denying the resilience and drive that was shown by their players to achieve what they did.

They became the team that nobody wanted to face in the finals, and the midfield three of Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery, were the engine room that made the team so dangerous. They were the most accurate midfield in front of goal last season, and we can expect them to do more of the same in 2018.

 

Source: Richmond FC via Facebook

Richmond Tigers

The defending champions will be out to prove it wasn’t just a one-time deal in their next campaign, and an unchanged midfield of Dustin Martin, Trent Cochin and Dion Prestia should prove to be a massive help in doing so. With the current Brownlow Medal holder in Martin, and a previous winner in Cochin, the Tigers seem to have the middle of the park safely taken care of with these tremendous players. The trio are equally as good at dropping back to defend, as they are of turning defence into attack, and Richmond have a great chance at making it back-to-back premierships next year with this three in control.

Now the only question is which midfield will bring that little something extra to the table that gives them the edge over the rest of the competition? Chances are it could very well be one of these four sides, as they look to guide their team towards the Grand Final and a coveted AFL premiership.

2017/18 Big Bash squads

Big Bash 07 is here and for the first time ever we are running public drafts on TheBench.

So in preparation for your draft, here are the predicted Best XI’s for each team and their squads.

 

Adelaide Strikers

  1. Jake Weatherald (Batsman)
  2. Alex Carey (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  3. Travis Head (Batsman, All Rounder)
  4. Colin Ingram 🇿🇦 (Batsman, All Rounder)
  5. Jake Lehmann (Batsman)
  6. Jonathan Wells (Batsman)
  7. Michael Neser (Bowler, All Rounder)
  8. Ben Laughlin (Bowler)
  9. Rashid Khan 🇦🇫 (Bowler)
  10. Peter Siddle (Bowler)
  11. Billy Stanlake (Bowler)

Other squad members:

  • Jono Dean (Batsman)
  • Kelvin Smith (Batsman)
  • Liam O’Connor (Bowler)
  • Wes Agar (Bowler)

 

Brisbane Heat

  1. Jimmy Peirson (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  2. Brendan McCullum 🇳🇿 (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  3. Sam Heazlett (Batsman)
  4. Chris Lynn (Batsman)
  5. Joe Burns (Batsman)
  6. Marnus Labuschagne (Batsman)
  7. Ben Cutting (Bowler, All Rounder)
  8. Shadab Khan 🇵🇰 (Bowler)
  9. Brendan Doggett (Bowler)
  10. Mark Steketee (Bowler)
  11. Mitchell Swepson (Bowler)

Other squad members:

  • Alex Ross (Batsman)
  • Cameron Gannon (Bowler)
  • Cameron Valente (Bowler, All Rounder)
  • Jason Floros (All Rounder)
  • Josh Lalor (Bowler)
  • Matt Renshaw (Batsman)
  • Max Bryant (Batter)
  • Yasir Shah 🇵🇰 (Bowler)

 

Hobart Hurricanes

  1. D’Arcy Short (Batsman)
  2. Ben McDermott (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  3. Beau Webster (Batsman, All Rounder)
  4. George Bailey (Batsman)
  5. Dan Christian (Batsman, All Rounder)
  6. Simon Milenko (Batsman, All Rounder)
  7. Clive Rose (Bowler)
  8. Jofra Archer 🇬🇧 (Bowler)
  9. Cameron Boyce (Bowler)
  10. Jake Reed (Bowler)
  11. Tymal Mills 🇬🇧 (Bowler)

Other squad members:

  • David Moody (Bowler)
  • Hamish Kingston (Bowler)
  • James Bazley (Bowler, All Rounder)
  • Sam Rainbird (Bowler)
  • Tim Paine 🇦🇺 (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  • Tom Curran 🇬🇧 (Bowler)
  • Tom Rogers (Bowler)

 

Melbourne Renegades

  1. Aaron Finch (Batsman)
  2. Marcus Harris (Batsman)
  3. Matthew Wade (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  4. Cameron White (Batsman)
  5. Brad Hodge (Batsman)
  6. Tom Cooper (Batsman, All Rounder)
  7. Dwayne Bravo 🇹🇹 (Batsman, All Rounder)
  8. Sunil Narine 🇹🇹 (Bowler)
  9. Kane Richardson (Bowler)
  10. Brad Hogg (Bowler)
  11. Chris Tremain (Bowler)

Other squad members:

  • Guy Walker (Bowler)
  • James Pattinson (Bowler)
  • Jack Wildermuth (All Rounder)
  • Joe Mennie (Bowler)
  • Jon Holland (Bowler)
  • Matthew Short (Batsman, All Rounder)
  • Tim Ludeman (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)

 

Melbourne Stars

  1. Ben Dunk (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  2. Luke Wright 🇬🇧 (Batsman, All Rounder)
  3. Kevin Pietersen 🇬🇧 (Batsman)
  4. Glenn Maxwell (Batsman, All Rounder)
  5. Marcus Stoinis (Batsman, All Rounder)
  6. Sam Harper (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  7. James Faulkner (Bowler, All Rounder)
  8. John Hastings (Bowler)
  9. Adam Zampa (Bowler)
  10. Scott Boland (Bowler)
  11. Ben Hilfenhaus (Bowler)

Other squad members:

  • Dan Worrall (Bowler)
  • Evan Gulbis (All Rounder)
  • Jackson Coleman (Bowler)
  • Michael Beer (Bowler)
  • Peter Handscomb 🇦🇺 (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  • Rob Quiney (Batsman)
  • Seb Gotch (All Rounder)

 

Perth Scorchers

  1. Michael Klinger (Batsman)
  2. Hilton Cartwright (Batsman, All Rounder)
  3. Mitchell Marsh (Batsman, All Rounder)
  4. Adam Voges (Batsman)
  5. Ashton Turner (Batsman, All Rounder)
  6. Ashton Agar (Bowler, All Rounder)
  7. David Willey 🇬🇧 (Bowler, All Rounder)
  8. Mitchell Johnson (Bowler)
  9. Andrew Tye (Bowler)
  10. Jhye Richardson (Bowler)
  11. Jason Behrendorff (Bowler)

Other squad members:

  • Cameron Bancroft 🇦🇺 (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  • Shaun Marsh 🇦🇺 (Batsman)
  • Nathan Coulter-Nile (Bowler)
  • Joel Paris (Bowler)
  • Sam Whiteman (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)

 

Sydney Sixers

  1. Daniel Hughes (Batsman)
  2. Jason Roy 🇬🇧 (Batsman)
  3. Nic Maddinson (Batsman)
  4. Sam Billings 🇬🇧 (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  5. Moises Henriques (Batsman, All Rounder)
  6. Peter Nevill (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  7. Johan Botha (Bowler, All Rounder)
  8. Sean Abbott (Bowler)
  9. Steve O’Keefe (Bowler)
  10. Ben Dwarshuis (Bowler)
  11. Henry Thornton (Bowler)

Other squad members:

  • Jackson Bird 🇦🇺 (Bowler)
  • Jordan Silk (Batsman)
  • Mickey Edwards (Bowler)
  • Mitchell Starc 🇦🇺 (Bowler)
  • Nathan Lyon 🇦🇺 (Bowler)

 

Sydney Thunder

  1. Kurtis Patterson (Batsman)
  2. Aiden Blizzard (Batsman)
  3. Shane Watson (Batsman, All Rounder)
  4. Ben Rohrer (Batsman)
  5. Callum Ferguson (Batsman)
  6. Jay Lenton (Batsman, Wicket Keeper)
  7. Chris Green (Bowler)
  8. Mitchell McClenaghan 🇳🇿 (Bowler)
  9. Clint McKay (Bowler)
  10. Gurinder Sandhu (Bowler)
  11. Fawad Ahmed (Bowler)

Other squad members:

  • Arjun Nair (Bowler)
  • Pat Cummins 🇦🇺 (Bowler)
  • Ryan Gibson (Batsman)
  • Usman Khawaja 🇦🇺 (Batsman)

 

DEFAULT RULES FOR BIG BASH ON TheBench:

Batters: 1 point per run, 5 points per catch, 5 points per run out

Wicket Keepers: 1 point per run, 10 points per catch or run out

All Rounders: 1 point per run, 5 points per catch or run out, 20 points per wicket

Bowlers: 1 point per run, 5 points per catch or run out, 20 points per wicket

Big Bash on TheBench

Last year we ran a trial of Big Bash on TheBench.com.au privately to see whether or not it would be any good. We had four competitions running and the feedback was great!

So this year we are opening it up publicly for the first time. So round your mates up and get ready to draft!

 

What is the scoring format?

We have intentionally kept the scoring very basic so that you can keep track of your match-ups easily. Those super cricket nerds like myself will see some similarities in the scoring format to the way Man of the Match is decided on the Cricket Captain game.

As with all our games on TheBench, you can customise the scoring for paid leagues ($10 per club) but we also offer a free version which is the easiest to setup if you just want to get it up and going.

Here is our basic FREE scoring:

  • Select THREE x Batsman (1 point per run, 5 points per catch and 5 points per run out)
  • Select ONE x Wicket Keeper (1 point per run, 10 points per catch, 10 points per stumping and 10 points per run out)
  • Select ONE x All Rounder (1 point per run, 5 points per catch, 5 points per run out and 20 points per wicket)
  • Select TWO x Bowlers (1 point per run, 5 points per catch, 5 points per run out and 20 points per wicket)
  • Select ONE x Bench (this player will automatically substitute into a playing position if your starter does not play and they are the same position).

 

Who should I look for?

It was a bit of an unknown as to which positions would score the best, but in the end there was a mixture of all positions up the top of the leaderboard.

To give you a bit of an idea on who scored the best in this format, here is last year’s top 10:

  1. Sean Abbott (Bowler) – 391
  2. Ben Dunk (Batsman) – 384
  3. Aaron Finch (Batsman) – 364
  4. Sunil Narine (Bowler) – 327
  5. Chris Lynn (Batter) – 306
  6. Tim Paine (Wicket Keeper) – 297
  7. Brendon McCullum (Wicket Keeper) – 291
  8. Pat Cummins (Bowler) – 289
  9. Ben Dwarshius (Bowler) – 285
  10. Tom Cooper (All Rounder) – 282

Over the next few weeks we will be posting articles about the best squads and the availability of each of the International players. So keep an eye on the Facebook page.

 

You in?

If you like the sound of this, then let’s get started. Head to TheBench and login or sign-up today!

* Paid leagues allow you to customise the draft order, scoring, number of players in each position, use a waiver wire, customise captains and utilise the rolling lockout. The cost for this is just $10 per club.

High-Flying Swans Zero in on Grand Final Redemption

High-Flying Swans Zero in on Grand Final Redemption

Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook

Ask any fan of the red and white half of Sydney about the 2016 AFL Final and watch the smile slip away from their face. Last year’s minor premiers had one hand on the trophy after a stellar season that saw them dominate the league from start to finish. However, what would have been their third AFL flag in the club’s history was snatched from under their feet by a gallant Western Bulldogs outfit who managed to claim their first premiership in over fifty years.

In 2017, things went from bad to worse for Sydney and the side endured the club’s worst start in 24 years. The Swans lost their first six games of the season and headed into round seven with a percentage of 76.6 and found themselves 24 points behind league leaders the Adelaide Crows. In comparison, the South Australian team had a percentage of 160.9 and had scored 806 points to Adelaide’s 454.

This came as quite a shock to their loyal supporters who assumed that their club would start the new campaign in the same fashion as they played last season. Most pundits wrote the team off and claimed that they would not have any influence in this year’s competition. How wrong they were.

The Swans decided to take fate into their own hands and completely turned their season around. They went on to win the next 14 out of a possible 16 games and secured themselves a place in this year’s finals. That same team that had a percentage difference of 84.3 compared to top-of-the-table Adelaide finished off the normal season with an outstanding 126; only ten behind the Crows.

Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook

It’s no secret that Don Pyke’s men from South Australia have been the dominant side all year and have constantly set the bench mark for how teams need to perform if they wish to challenge for the flag. However, due to the lack of consistency from other top-eight clubs, footy fans have struggled to find a genuine contender to challenge Adelaide for the title.

 

Sydney seems to be the team that has answered the call and are now looking like genuine title contenders. Bookmakers still think that the Crows will lift the trophy though, and have them as favourites at $3.40 with the Swans steadily creeping up behind them at $5.00.

There’s no doubt it will be a gruelling final series and injuries will surely play a large part in the outcome of both side’s Grand Final hopes. Some punters may want to grab some free advice from one of the online tipping sites such as https://www.championbets.com.au/ to ensure they are up to date with all available players and squad selection.

The Swans defeated the Crows in round 22 at the Adelaide Oval, and that will have given them a huge psychological advantage if the two teams happen to meet on their path to the Grand Final. Sydney better be careful, though, because this is an Adelaide side that absolutely has nothing but revenge on the agenda for a team that has scorned them on the last two occasions.

Nathan Buck-leave?

Is that Hi or Goodbye?
Is that Hi or Goodbye?

 

Should he stay or should he (Buck)leave?

The question on many Pies supporters minds along with many other fans, pundits and AFL enthusiasts.

So lets look at some stats…

Buckley took charge of the Pies in 2012 having spent two seasons under Malthouse. In the 2010 and 2011 season they finished top of the ladder and won a flag as well. A good grounding perhaps…

But since then, with Buckley in sole charge, they have fallen fallen fallen. League positions since have been 4th, 6th, 11th and 12th…. And the start of this year has been less than promising aside a very close victory against the Tigers…

That said, Buckley’s win ratio stands at 55.8%. That is 95 Games in charge with 53 Wins – 42 Loses – 0 Draws . How does that compare? Malthouse only had a 56.6% record over his entire career (which includes the time dismantling, I mean coaching, Carlton).

Of recent ‘greats’ Kevin Sheedy only had 57% and Leigh Matthews a little better at 57.9%. Stellar coaching careers but not stellar stats by any means… So does that help Buckley’s case to stay?

All these records are easily overshadowed by Chris Scott of the current crop of coaches who has a stunning 71.1% win ratio. Wowsers !

But what does this tell us? You can prove anything with stats. We can carve up the coaches various teams and how they performed with each club at different stages and before you know it we can prove a point.

The key to Buckley has to be that he took over a top performing team and has been going downhill since then.

Let AFL not get into the crazy ways of the Soccer and sack managers after half a season. The players must take responsibility too (imagine if Cloke could kick straight!). But Buckley has had a long time in an increasingly hot seat… Is it time for Nathan to (Buck)leave?

The POM

 

images

The (Potential) Game of the Week : Round One….

The POMs
(Potential)
.

With the new season kicking off shortly there are a number of fans who have heightened anticipation around their teams chances. Expectation, hope and plain delusion lead to thoughts of:

– Can we make top 8?
– Can we make Top 4?
– Can we be minor premier champions?
– And can we go all the way?

For one clubs set of fans, theirs is a more pressing question. Can we avoid the wooden spoon and can we even win a game?!?!

Usually reserved for the like of Melbourne or Brisbane of late this is the question being asked by the Bombers (very loyal) fan base. Right or wrong, whether known by the players or not the punishment has been handed down. A saga lasting for years will certainly continue until the players have served their bans.

But what this does make for is a MUST watch game in Round One. A depleted side in the Bombers but one where youth will be given a chance to stake a claim.

History for these clubs is obviously short but the stats show:

Played: 5
Essendon: 4
Gold Coast: 1
Draws: 0

The only win for Gold Coast came last year with a margin of just two points… and 2015 had them close in the table, though at the wrong end of the ladder:

15th – Essendon – W 6, L 16
16th – Gold Coast – W 4, L 17, D 1

So with a new makeshift team for the Bombers and little separating them last year Gary Abletts Gold Coast go in as clear favourites.

It may not be the prettiest of games, but Essendon v Gold Coast is a must watch and my (Potential) Game of the Week.

This will show what 2016 holds for Essendon. Anything but a clear loss will be seen as a victory in most parts.

The POM