Round 22- Richmond v Essendon: If, if, if!


Without a shadow of doubt, Friday night’s match against Richmond requires a do or die effort from Essendon if their slim finals hopes are to remain alive. 


I’m forever the optimist, so I believe we have a real chance of causing a boil over and winning this match. Games against top sides I’m quietly confident in winning whereas I worry whenever we play lower sides. Whatever the reason, the Bombers seem to go missing in these games, the Carlton game an obvious point in mind that continues to haunt us, to the extent it may well be the difference between us playing finals or not this year!


Although the Tigers are once again in Premiership contending form, they are, I believe, beatable.


Having a belief in the law of averages, and after Richmond’s extraordinary run of wins at the MCG to this stage of the season, that law suggests to me it is only a matter of time before Richmond must succumb and lose an upcoming game there. And, undoubtably, if that law comes into play and Richmond drop  a game, it would be preferable for them to lose one now rather than during their finals campaign. 


And, just how long can a team maintain playing at their optimum level of performance in order to win week in and week out? This, of course, is open to conjecture but a lapse in form must be around a corner. Hopefully, it happens Friday night!


The makeup of the Essendon team will be critical for this game. Injuries are hurting, particularly those incurred last weekend against St Kilda, and at this stage only Fantasia is set to miss this week. However, it still is possible that Goddard, Hooker and Saad may be late withdrawals from the the lineup as indicated by the emergencies named. Green, Ridley and Laverde were late omissions from the VFL team last weekend and are named as emergencies this week, so read  what you may into that announcement.


The speed and carry of  Fantasia and Saad is enormous to the side, as is Hooker’s defensive role, one that allows Hurley to become the player to launch attacking forays into the forward line. If Saad does join Fantasia on the sidelines, then their speed and use of the ball will sorely missed by the Bombers. 


However, if the Bombers are to have any chance in this match, the replacement players, if required,  must fulfil their obligations to the Essendon game plan and play accordingly whatever their assigned roles may be.


A team with a fast running game, moving the ball quickly down the line is capable of upsetting Richmond’s style of play, and Essendon plays that type of game. 


First use of the ball out of the centre will be important. Tom Bellchambers has been an unsung hero for the Dons for most of the season, and with Nankervis back in the Tiger side this week, the load on Tom’s shoulders will be even greater so he will need to up to the task. 


Myers has been standing tall in recent weeks, and if he continues to remain injury free, his confidence will rise further. The continuing development of Langford is a bonus to the club and his team mates. Merrett, Heppell, and Smith  must continue their consistent form, and if the mercurial Jake Stringer can have a day out, which is due, then who knows what may happen Friday night. 


With Cotchin missing from the Richmond lineup makes one less key cog for the Bombers to deal with, resources can be deployed elsewhere to limit any possible influence Rance, Martin, Riewoldt and co. may have on the game. But as I said, I’m quietly confident!


There are so many ifs in this game. 


If Essendon play well and are good enough on the day, they can win. 


If they can eliminate the influence of key Richmond players, they can win.


And, if the good old law of averages comes into play, Essendon can win. 


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Nice try Colin. I too am a great believer in the law of averages but I’m afraid the word “average” has no place in any description of the Tigers!

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Close, had their chances but no cigar!

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