St. Kilda v Essendon
Etihad Stadium – 7:40PM – Saturday 7 July
Essendon will be hoping to capitalise on Collingwood’s shock defeat by consolidating a win against St. Kilda at Etihad Saturday night.
The Bombers will overtake Collingwood on the ladder should they triumph over St. Kilda.
The Saints on the other hands are trying to stay in touch of the eight after a disappointing loss to North Melbourne last week.
It means that the importance of this mid season clash is critical, with both teams desperately needing the win.
Essendon will go in to this game extremely confident, having won the last four games against St. Kilda and winning 12 of their 14 games at Etihad stadium under James Hird.
St. Kilda on the other hand boost a rather quirky record, having not last a Saturday Night home and away game under the roof since 2003, though they did lose their elimination final against Sydney last year.
The Saints were found out last week through a break neck speed game plan by North that sliced St. Kilda to shreds like a hot knife to butter.
It is a problem that could further be highlighted against an Essendon team, who are an even quicker team than North.
Essendon however demonstrate a different quickness to that of North, the Bombers are the number kicking team in the competition, moving the ball with scintillating speed through long kicks.
North Melbourne on the other hand used a handball based running game plan against the Saints to leave them in their wake.
Whether Essendon’s can use their kicking skills to dismantle the Saints remains the critical question of the night.
Essendon fell down in this area against Sydney and Melbourne, which resulted in Essendon losing two consecutive games.
St. Kilda must pressure the Essendon ball carries if they are to have any chance, a task that could prove to be very difficult.
In team news, St. Kilda have named a host of changes, most notably Brendan Goddard out for two weeks with suspension.
Essendon were also hit by the match review panel, with Stewart Crameri being forced out due to suspension.
To counter act this, Essendon welcome back Alwyn Davey from his two-week suspension.
Davey who previous to his suspension had kicked 22 goals in his 10 games will be crucial in the forward line structure minus Crameri.
Key Match Ups
Michael Hurley v Sam Fisher
Hurley has been in phenomenal form recently, kicking 11 goals in his past two games. It is likely Fisher will have to be responsible for Hurley, or at the very least act as a third man up in contests. In Hurley fires up it will go along way to Essendon kicking a winning score.
Jobe Watson v Clinton Jones
After missing last week with what Watters described as “general soreness,” Jones comes back in to the side to take what is arguably the hardest tagging job currently in the competition, Jobe Watson. Watson has been in sublime form this year that has seen him sky rocket to short odd favourite for the Brownlow medal. Not only is Watson a clearance machine but he is also a handy goal kicker, with a season total of 15 to date. Watson must be stopped is St. Kilda are to be close.
Prediction: Essendon by 30 points
B: Jarryn Geary, Tom Simpkin, James Gwilt
HB: Sean Dempster, Sam Fisher, Sam Gilbert
C: Nick Dal Santo, David Armitage, Jason Gram
HF: Arryn Siposs, Nick Riewoldt, Adam Schneider
F: Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke, Jack Steven
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna
I/C: Clinton Jones, Farren Ray, Ahmed Saad, Beau Wilkes
Emg: Terry Milera, Daniel Markworth, Jack Newnes
In: Clinton Jones, Farren Ray, Tom Simpkin, Arryn Siposs, Beau Wilkes
Out: Jason Blake (Ankle), Raphael Clarke, Brendon Goddard (Suspension), Rhys Stanley (Hamstring), Terry Milera
B: Kyle Hardingham, Dustin Fletcher, Cale Hooker
HB: Ricky Dyson, Jake Carlisle, Courtenay Dempsey
C: Brent Stanton, Ben Howlett, David Myers
HF: Alwyn Davey, Michael Hurley, Michael Hibberd
F: Sam Lonergan, Patrick Ryder, Leroy Jetta
Foll: David Hille, Jobe Watson, Heath Hocking
I/C: Nathan Lovett-Murray, Kyle Reimers, Jake Melksham, Dyson Heppell
Emg: Tom Bellchambers, Travis Colyer, Elliott Kavanagh
In: Ricky Dyson, Alwyn Davey
Out: Stewart Crameri (Suspension), Cory Dell’Olio
Head over to BigFooty to read all the discussion from both sides before the big game