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Rd 2: VFL preview v Pies

Natalie MacGregor  April 21, 2017 4:23 PM

20170421_VFLDonsPies_H.jpg

Essendon VFL plays Collingwood on Sunday.

In the first home game of the 2017 season, the Essendon VFL side will be looking for improved skill execution and consistency.

The Bombers play Collingwood on Sunday and will be hoping to replicate the form that saw them win by 85 points in last year’s ANZAC weekend clash.

“I think the focus is a lot on the basic fundamentals of the game, making sure that we are clean in our skill execution and are consistent with that over the four quarters,” Coach Paul Corrigan said.

“We will be looking to start fast and well, and try and maintain that for the whole game.

“We understand that there will probably be times during the game that Collingwood will get some momentum but it’s about our ability to wrestle that off them and get the game back on our terms.”

The Magpies finished the 2016 home and away season in second spot before bowing out in the Preliminary Final.

The Pies began their 2017 season with a narrow win over Coburg.

“Collingwood has been tracking really well. They have a real healthy AFL list at the moment so they have a lot of good players playing VFL level,” Corrigan said.

“They have been playing a good brand of footy, very similar to the way the AFL side play.

“They got over the line against Coburg last week so we are expecting a really competitive game. We know from years gone by in these clashes that they’ve always been pretty tough.”

An extended squad of 31 players has been selected for both Essendon and Collingwood, as the AFL sides will not be announced until Saturday night ahead of their ANZAC Day game on Tuesday.

“We are still finalising the team, I’ve spoken to the boys and they all understand the process of selection this week,” Corrigan said.

“It has been a bit abnormal this week but from what we have in the squad and who may come in we are really happy.

“We are all really keen to play in the ANZAC Day weekend clash, it’s a real privilege for all the boys and the staff to be involved in games like this.”

The action will kick off on Sunday at Windy Hill from 1pm. 

Players to watch:

#2 Tom Bellchambers – Bellchambers has consistently built fitness and form over the last few weeks and will be out to play a big game and put his hand up for AFL selection.

#17 James Stewart – Against Richmond VFL in the last practice match, Stewart had 10 scoring shots. A big, mobile target up forward looking to also be in the frame for AFL selection.

#51 Alex Boyse – Somewhat of an x-factor in attack. Boyse is back in the VFL team this weekend after impressive form in the pre-season.  Exciting to watch in the Forward 50.

#54 Nick O’Brien – The new and returned skipper of the VFL has been in great form over the last three weeks averaging 27 disposals.