The Eagles will be looking to gain some confidence on the road with a win against a talented Essendon side on Tuesday night.
The Eagles will be looking to bounce back from last week’s loss against Richmond to keep their finals hopes alive, by securing a win against Essendon on Tuesday night at the Gabba.
The Eagles will run out with a fresh-faced side against the Bombers, with top goalkicker Josh Kennedy ruled out after suffering a concussion against the Tigers and Liam Cripps returning home for the birth of his first child.
Adam Simpson suggested that Eagles fans will get a “glimpse of the future” with Oscar Allen and Bailey Williams coming into the forward line for the match, and will see Lewis Jetta return to the Eagle’s backline after spending two months on the sidelines.
Although it seems Simpson will have to play a few players out of position, he is still confident that the side will run out strong against the Eagles, stating, “we’ll still have a strong side and we’re confident we can perform at our best.”
But the West Coast will need to shut down a pacey and aggressive Essendon side who can move and carry the ball better than most teams in the league.
The Bombers came back late on Saturday night producing an amazing comeback to overturn a six-goal deficit at the half, to beat Hawthorn by 16 points.
Following the win, the Bombers will be high in confidence looking for a result that could take them into the top 8. Plus they’ll also see the return of their captain Dyson Heppell, a major boost to the side, who comes back to play his first game since round 2 this season.
But Eagles fans will be hoping to see Liam Ryan step up again this week to dominate the Bombers defence in Kennedy’s absence. Ryan looked a constant threat against the Tigers, tormenting the Richmond defenders who struggled to cope with his aerial presence, taking 4 marks inside the Tiger’s 50 and a hattrick of goals during the game.
Jack Darling was also a standout performer last week, notching his 400th AFL career goal, and will also spearhead the Eagles attack to add a few more majors to that tally.
And with Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly and Andrew Gaff all in form, bolstering the midfield, the Eagles won’t be short of quality in the centre of the park as they look to disrupt the Bomber’s high tempo running game.
Sitting two points behind Richmond, and with only four games left, the Eagles will want to keep the pressure on the top four in their bid for a position in the finals.
And with Essendon only winning one of their last five games, the West Coast will see this as an opportunity to build some momentum away from home as they begin a congested fixture log with their first of three games in nine days.
“There’s a lot to play for this week. I think we all know where the season is heading. It’s really tight and this game is huge for us.” – Adam Simpson.