While Essendon VFL fell to the Lions by 37 points in Saturday's round one clash, the season-opener provided an opportunity for the Bombers to showcase some of their young talent.

Among 15 club debutants, all four of the Dons' 2023 AFL draftees received their first guernseys, while 2022 father-son selection Jayden Davey also made a long-awaited return to competitive action.

VFL Senior Coach Blake Caracella reviews the performances of the Bombers' eight AFL-listed players from the weekend's clash.


Sam Weideman

Six disposals, two marks, one behind

‘Weids’ and the key forwards had a pretty tough day with the windy conditions and the ball not coming in as often as he would’ve wanted, given Brisbane had 62 inside 50’s compared to our 31.

His opportunity wasn’t there but he competed really well and created some goals for us when it was down there.

Lewis Hayes

19 disposals, six marks

Lewis was pretty assertive in his positioning to win the footy and wasn’t afraid to join in the attack.

He used the ball okay and competed pretty admirably in the air against a really good forward line and some experienced opposition.

Jayden Davey

10 disposals, one goal

We saw the best of Jayden at times on the weekend, he’s got that real high level of speed which he showed in that first play by getting into space out the back and taking three bounces into goal.

He’s an exciting player who’s only just come back from a lengthy spell, so we hope he can build week-by-week and we’re keen for what he can bring.

Nick Bryan

29 hit-outs, 10 disposals, three marks

‘Bristle’ had the ruck duties on the weekend against Darcy Fort, who’s played a fair bit of AFL footy, and they had a really good duel.

I’d say he broke even in the ruck contests, which was a solid effort. He took a few good marks around the ground, and we’re looking for him to really grow and build on that for next week.

Nate Caddy

Nine disposals, two marks, two goals

‘Cads’ kicked a couple of goals in the first half and was unlucky not to have a couple more.

We were really pleased with the way he competed, especially in the air. He won the ball on the ground a bit in the second half and brought his teammates into the game which was great to see.

Archie Roberts

25 disposals, six marks, four clearances, one goal

‘Robbo’ managed to find the ball a fair bit, he’s led our possessions on a couple of occasions now (including pre-season games).

He knows how to get it, now the big thing for us is knuckling down on the subtleties and benefit of those possessions, putting that left foot to good use.

Luamon Lual

12 disposals, five marks

It was really good to see ‘Luey’ out there this week, he won the ball a fair bit in defence through the early stages when we were defending against the wind and showed a little bit of that rebound and run we want to see from him.

He’s a developing player and we’re excited to see that more throughout the year.

Vigo Visentini

Nine hit-outs, seven disposals

Vigo got a nice hit-out in the ruck this week.

We’ve been trialling him in a few different positions including as a key defender last week (as we fielded three rucks), which he’d never played before.

He competed really strongly and helped (Bryan) out against Fort, the big thing for us is to keep developing Vigo’s work in transition and make the most of his exciting mobility.