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Rd 1: Pushing for a call-up

Natalie MacGregor  April 19, 2017 2:08 PM

BTV: VFL RD 1 | Highlights Some highlights from our Round 1 VFL match against Sandringham.

Essendon VFL opened its season with a narrow loss to Sandringham, but a number of players pushed their case for senior selection.

Here are some of the Dons in the frame this week.

Ben McNiece
23 Disposals, 9 Marks

The rookie-listed McNiece put his hand up for senior selection, with Coach Paul Corrigan naming him the best Essendon player in the VFL’s side’s opening match of the season last Saturday against Sandringham. McNiece finished with 23 disposals and nine marks to his name. His leadership qualities stood out with his voice heard from the grandstand.  He is small in size but competes strongly in the air.  His disposal was clean in a polished performance.

Aaron Francis
15 disposals, 1 Goal, 6 Marks, 7 Tackles

Francis staked his claim for senior call-up with seven tackles and six marks against Sandringham. Francis played in the forward line in the first half and went into the midfield in the second half. His skill was on display when he plucked a one-handed mark early in the game.

Heath Hocking
27 Disposals, 3 Tackles

Hocking worked hard in the midfield and was a standout around the contest. Hocking was all over the ball, ending the game with 27 disposals. He had three tackles, two of which resulted in free kicks in his favour. He was an important linkman in the middle of the ground finishing the game with 20 handballs.

James Stewart

16 disposals, 5 marks, 1 goal

Stewart competed strongly in attack. Starved of opportunity in the first half, he battled well despite the limited opportunities. Mobile and athletic, he could add another dimension to the Essendon forward line on ANZAC Day.

Best of the VFL

Nick O’Brien
25 Disposals, 6 Marks

After a year in Adelaide, Nick O’Brien has returned to Essendon as the Captain of the VFL side. In his first game leading the side out, O’Brien played the majority of the first half on the wing and moved inside in the second half. He finished with 25 disposals and six marks.

Nick Hind
23 Disposals, 1 Goal

Hind rotated between the backline and the wing and finished with 23 disposals. He was one of the key players in the Bombers comeback. His speed and line-breaking ability was important in the last quarter as the Dons rallied.