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Leaders back for JLT2

BTV: JLT 2 | Squad Selection Senior Coach John Worsfold talks through the squad for our JLT 2 match.

Essendon Football Club has selected a strong extended squad to take on Geelong at Central Reserve in Colac on Sunday for its second JLT clash.

Several players who missed the side’s opening JLT clash against Richmond have been named in the squad including All Australians Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker.

Tom Bellchambers, David Myers and James Stewart are also in line to have their first hit-out of 2018 as they gear up for the club’s fast-approaching match against Adelaide in round one.

Coach John Worsfold said while the experience from that brigade is a “really important” boost for the side it won’t be the only advantage they bring into the team.

Worsfold said the opportunity to have new recruits Adam Saad, Jake Stringer and Devon Smith play with their experienced teammates for the first time would be crucial.

“It’s one game, but they get to play alongside each other, other than training and that will help,” Worsfold said.

“I was always keen to have the senior squad in certainly for at least one JLT game.”

Worsfold said the playing group was disappointed with its performance against the Tigers and said he is confident the Bombers have overcome their issues from the loss.

“I know the boys were disappointed with our game in Wangaratta and really keen to show that we have had a good pre-season and we’re ready to go for round one,” he said.

“The players have been stewing over that for a couple of weeks and are really keen to have a great hit-out as part of our preparation for round one.”

Essendon will face a highly-touted Geelong side this weekend ahead of the club’s blockbuster against 2017 grand finalists Adelaide in round one, and Worsfold said the Bombers are embracing the challenges early in the year.

“It’s really great to get those hit-outs,” he said.

“If you want to be playing in the finals you have to be matching it with these teams and at least beating them regularly throughout the year.

“Round one against Adelaide is just an awesome game first-up; it’s at Etihad and we’re going to hopefully have our record membership along to cheer the boys on.”

Two players who will not take their place in the side this weekend are Orazio Fantasia (knee) and Mitch Brown (adductor), who both suffered injuries this week.

“Mitch Brown’s come out with just a slight adductor strain from earlier this week and Orazio Fantasia is out as well,” Worsfold said.

“Other than that we’ve got a really strong team in and it’s exciting to get them out there.”

The 30-player squad will be refined to 18 with another six players on the interchange bench and six emergencies on Friday.

JLT2 SQUAD:

1. Andrew McGrath

2. Tom Bellchambers

3. Darcy Parish

5. Devon Smith

6. Joe Daniher

7. Zach Merrett

8. Martin Gleeson

9. Brendon Goddard

11. David Zaharakis

12. Mark Baguley

15. Josh Green

16. Josh Begley

17. James Stewart

18. Michael Hurley

20. Jackson Merrett

21. Dyson Heppell (C)

23. David Myers

24. Jordan Houlahan

25. Jake Stringer

26. Cale Hooker

29. Patrick Ambrose

34. Jake Long

35. Matt Guelfi

37. Dylan Clarke

41. Ben McNiece

42. Adam Saad

43. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti

44. Shaun McKernan

45. Conor McKenna

49. Matt Dea

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