tmedia
Main content

Latest Bomber TV

BTV: The privilege to play

3:00pm  Apr 22, 2018

Always Striving - Episode 2

12:00pm  Apr 22, 2018

BTV: James Kelly on the mic

6:57pm  Apr 21, 2018

Hooker staying forward

Conor Walsh  March 20, 2018 2:55 PM

BTV: Cale Hooker Media Conference - March 20 Forward Cale Hooker spoke to the media today.

Essendon fans can expect to see star key-position player Cale Hooker spending his time in the forward line against Adelaide in the club’s opening game of the season on Friday night.

After key defender Patrick Ambrose fell to a wrist injury last Friday many people thought Hooker may be forced to return to defence – where he was an All Australian in 2014 – but he was quick to quash those suggestions.

“I’ve played all last year as a forward and trained as a forward all pre-season, so I think you’ll see me starting down there,” Hooker said after training on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old booted a career-high 41 goals in 2017 and said he was getting used to relying on his midfielders’ delivery in the forward line.

“I feel like I personally improved a lot last year as the season went on, so I’ll be looking to build on that and I’ve had a big pre-season,” he said.

“You never know as a forward what’s going to happen, because the ball might come in nicely or it might be a tough day, you’ve just got to take it as it comes.”

Hooker said he is unsure about where young gun Andrew McGrath will spend most of his time on the ground on Friday, but admitted he prefers having the 2017 NAB AFL Rising Star in the centre.

“I like him in the midfield, because he uses the ball so well and I’m sure the guys down back love him down back, so that will be a good problem for the coaches to work out.”

The Crows provide an early challenge for the Bombers, but Hooker said the team was excited to face last year’s Grand Finalists and ready to finally get into the home and away season.

“I think the JLT is a little like dancing with your sister – it’s fun, but it’s nothing like the real stuff and it will be good to get into the season,” Hooker said.

“It’s obviously very exciting getting the pre-season out of the way and Friday night against the Crows – what a great way to start the season.

“You want to test out against the best teams and Adelaide have certainly shown they’re a quality side, so we’ve worked on a lot of things over the pre-season and we’ll be looking at putting them in place on Friday night.”

Essendon has had a hard time against the Crows in recent years and Hooker said the key to winning the tough contest on Friday will “winning the football first”.

“If we win enough ball out of the middle we know that we’ve got a pretty potent forward line and I’m sure it’s the same for them, so it will be about winning the footy first and then going from there.”

The Bombers have identified contested work and the tightening of their defence as areas for improvement throughout the pre-season, and Hooker said he doesn’t expect those efforts to compromise the team’s current strengths in attack.

“We’ve got some areas we’ve been working on publicly; we’ve been working on our defence and contest work.

“It’s good to be able to add layers to our game. We don’t want to lose our attacking side of the game, so it’s been great to work on those (areas) and hopefully we’ll see them come out.”

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to watch the Bombers take on the Crows in their Friday-night blockbuster.

CLICK HERE TO DON THE SASH AND FLY UP IN 2018