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VFL battle of the 'brands'

BTV: The Footy Panel - Ep 26; Paul Corrigan Julian de Stoop & Scott Lucas catch up with Essendon's VFL Coach, Paul Corrigan.

This weekend’s elimination final between Essendon VFL and Footscray will be a clash of similar game styles, according to Coach Paul Corrigan.

The Bombers finished sixth on the ladder, while the Dogs finished in seventh place.

The sides secured one win each in their home and away matches, setting the stage for Sunday’s Elimination Final.

“We have had some really good encounters against them,” Corrigan said.

“We seem to match up pretty well.

“We both play an exciting brand of footy, so I expect nothing less on the weekend.”

With the Bulldogs AFL side out of the finals, it allows eligible players to come back to play in the VFL finals series.

Tom Campbell, Lewis Young, Bailey Williams and Matt Boyd all qualify to play VFL finals football.

“It’s hard to say without being in the inner sanctum, what players they will put away for surgery or what that looks like,” Corrigan said.

“There is a few that probably have the ability to come back if they want to and if they do it gives our guys a great opportunity to go up against quality players that have been playing AFL.

“We’re really just looking forward to the challenge.”

Both Essendon teams are in the 2017 finals, with the VFL side likely to name even numbers of AFL and VFL listed players in their squad.

Regardless of the final make-up of the side, Corrigan is confident the side has the depth and talent to match it with the competition’s reigning premiers.

“It’s (selection) a tough one because obviously with the bye for the AFL, and then them playing the following Saturday, it depends what the squad looks like and how many they want to hold over,” Corrigan said.

“We will finalise that and have a look at it over the next day or two.

“We are in a pretty good position.

“Whether they hold back a bigger squad or a smaller squad back, doesn’t affect us too much.

“Yes, we would love to have as many AFL players as we could but we have a VFL list that we put together, that we feel are full capable of taking on the game against the Bulldogs.

“We saw it two weeks ago when we played 13 VFL listed players against Footscray and they performed really well.

“I’m confident, whatever that number is, and we will put up a good show.”

While the team goal is the focus, Corrigan said the increased attention throughout the finals series provides an opportunity for players to stake their claim for higher honours.

“We keep telling our VFL listed players, you don’t have to pay 20 games in a year to be noticed by AFL recruiters,” Corrigan said.

“You could put together five really good quality games and get drafted.

“Recruiters understand that the nature of the VFL system is that, with the AFL influx coming back each week, it can change the dynamics of who is playing and who isn’t.

“If you perform well when you get the opportunity then you can get picked up.

“There is no better opportunity to do that than in finals.

“For the younger guys also, it’s about the experience of being in finals and the atmosphere.

“It is below the AFL level but it is still exposure to playing in games that are a bit more heated and a bit quicker.

“For them to be able to play in as many of those games as possible, to help their development is crucial.”

Essendon VFL will face Footscray this Sunday at Fortburn Stadium, in an Elimination Final.

The game will be televised on channel 7 from 2:30pm.

You can also keep up to date with the game by following @essendonvfl on Twitter