Injuries are something that are hindering Essendon’s peformances of late, but this is nothing new this season. They’ve be stifled by the way they’ve played the game the last month or so and can blame themselves for poor showings. The Crows after last weeks reality check in Geelong have this as their last opportunity to impress before September. Considering the Dons pain, nothing less than a comprehensive victory will be taken from the Crows faithful.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN:
There’s no doubt the length of an AFL season can start to take its toll at around this time of year. Combined with a genuine NAB Cup campaign, the Crows suddenly look a little tired, with several players down on their normal form. Ian Callinan, Graham Johncock, Jared Petrenko and Brodie Smith were just a few Crows who looked fatigued against the Cats last weekend; we’ll see whether it was just an off day or something more worrying come Sunday.
Scott Thompson – Started the game against the Cats with a bang when he cleaned up Steve Johnson with a fierce opening bounce bump, and was rarely out of the action for the rest of the afternoon. Along with eight clearances, Thompson defied the booing Cat fans to notch a personal season-best of 40 possessions, albeit in a losing cause. Thompson is in career-best form and is compulsive viewing for any football purist.
The Dons injury list has built up to absurd levels. Many understand this is a part of a longer plan, however it puts 2012′s magnificent start to waste. With Monfries, Fletcher, Stanton, Hille and Zaharakis all still M.I.A, the Dons will also bring underdone players such as Hurley and Hooker back into the team. Considering their structures have been decimated with injuries to key forwards Crameri and Hurley, it’s unfair to critique the ability to hit the scoreboard. Aside from a brilliant return from Gumbleton, they’ve failed to score heavily as they did at the start of the year.
The fit Dons however, have no excuses for the inept execution of the successful game plan at the start of the year. Their run and carry, has been combated by the opposition. They no longer play on at every oppotunity and their kicks to players working into space are woefully missing the target. For the Dons to give themselves the best chance, they must work harder down the ground and hit their targets by foot.
The Dons face an improved Crows team, and I doubt that with their exclusions and lack of form, be able to knock off the Crows. The Crows have one last chance to have a real crack at finals like intensity, and need to lift to consolidate a top 2 spot.
Crows by 41.