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Developing defender

Ben McNiece has become the VFL Bombers’ shutdown small man.

In just his first year, McNiece has become an important element to Essendon VFL’s success this season, nullifying the opposition’s best small forward each week.

“He’s been a vital cog in that back six,” VFL Co-Coach Paul Corrigan said.

“He’s been able to defend really hard on the opponents he’s played against, and over the recent weeks he’s been able to find a bit of the ball as well.”

The 23-year-old continued his purple-patch on Sunday keeping Werribee’s Kayne Turner to just 12 disposals while gathering 19 touches himself, including six marks.

“He played on Turner - who’s been up and down for the Kangaroos - and he’s quite an elusive type forward,” Corrigan said.

“He kept him to really low in the possession rate and was also able to find a bit of the ball himself.”

McNiece was again named among the Dons’ best on the weekend - the third time he’s achieved that in his last four games.