Essendon coach John Worsfold says his approach to team selection is unlikely to change despite locking in a finals berth following the side’s 32-point defeat of Fremantle.
The Bombers are guaranteed September action, but Worsfold is keen to maintain the momentum of the side when the Dons take on Collingwood on Friday.
“It’s really important that we want to keep players in form and building momentum,” Worsfold said on Tuesday.
“So that’s our major focus; we want to put a team on the park that’s going to play really well together and play the way we want them to play.”
Captain Dyson Heppell continues to be a week-to-week proposition on the selection table as he manages an ongoing foot injury and Worsfold said the important onballer’s situation hasn’t changed heading into this week.
“It’s not too dissimilar to the decisions we’ve been making for the last month or six weeks, around what’s best for the player and the team this week, what does that mean for them the following week or the weeks after that.
“How do we best get the most out of all of our players for as long as we can?
“It’s complicated, it’s taking a lot of our time up at the moment, but it’s a really important focus that we have to have.”
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One Bomber who is in the mix to return from the sidelines this week is ruckman Tom Bellchambers, who has made good recent progress from a calf injury that has kept him off the field since round 15.
Worsfold said he would love to have the experienced Don back in the senior side, but he said it is possible Bellchambers could return via the VFL.
“T-Bell is a chance to be available for this week’s game. I’m pretty sure he’s doing main training today and we’ll assess him after that.
“I’m expecting he’s available to play footy this week. It could be (VFL).
“I wouldn’t say (he is) our most important (player), but he has been a key part of some of our best footy throughout the last couple of seasons.
“He’s been in really good form for us, so we would love to have him back in the team when he’s ready to go.”
Tom Bellchambers is on track to return to the field this week. (Image: AFL Photos)
Worsfold said locking in a position in the finals won’t change the mentality of the side ahead of Friday’s huge clash against the in-form Magpies in what could be the perfect test for the upcoming campaign.
“This game’s fairly brutal; we’ve got to be well prepared and really focused on playing our best footy and that’s really what we want to do.
“We’ve got so much improvement we still need to gain and this week is an opportunity to take on a really top opposition and test our game plan out.”
Essendon’s drought of finals success has been well reported in recent years, but Worsfold says the club won’t look back as the new-look squad maintains its focus going forward.
“I don’t know if I’d blame Dyson Heppell for not winning a final in 2004/5/6/7/8,” he said.
“This group hasn’t played too many finals together. Our focus is on what we can achieve as a group, not to try and address the last 14 years.”
The clash with Collingwood is set to start at 7:50pm at the MCG on Friday.