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Where: Etihad Stadium
When: Saturday August 16 – 7.40am (BST)
Watch live: Click here to watch online with AFL Global Pass!
Saturday’s game at Etihad Stadium is yet another game this round that will help shape the final eight positions.
As the race for the finals intensifies, the Eagles have become a much tougher proposition than a month ago and are now a legitimate chance of featuring in September.
Essendon will be hungry to bounce back after its disappointing loss to Richmond last Friday put it right in amongst the scrap for one of the last few remaining finals positions.
The Bombers go into the clash as favourites and with Mark LeCras out for the Eagles, Mark Thompson’s side must capitalise.
The return of captain Jobe Watson from hip surgery is a massive boost for Essendon and it’s difficult to see the Bombers losing here.
1. Dyson Heppell has enjoyed an outstanding season for the club, playing every game and averaging 28 disposals a game. In Jobe Watson’s absence, Heppell has become Essendon’s No.1 midfielder.
2. West Coast forward Mark LeCras has enjoyed playing against Essendon at Etihad Stadium, kicking 23 goals in five games, including a 12-goal haul in 2010.
3. With a finals berth up for grabs, expect a reasonable crowd at Etihad Stadium. The best crowd between the sides at the venue is 48,913, in round 11, 2007.
4. West Coast’s talls have hit form, and will prove a tough task for Essendon to handle. In last week’s win over Collingwood, Scott Lycett (four goals), Jack Darling (four) and Josh Kennedy (three) combined for 11 goals.
5. Bomber Jake Carlisle kicked the match-turning goal against the Eagles last year when pinned against the boundary line after being switched forward. More than a year on plenty will rest on the shoulders of the 22-year-old if the Bombers are to once again get the four points.
6. Stand-in Essendon skipper Brendon Goddard’s consistent season has been reflected in the Official AFL Player Ratings, brought to you by Gatorade. Goddard started the season ranked the 48th best player in the competition but has risen to No.28.