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McNiece breaks through

BTV: JLT 2 | Ben McNiece post-game We spoke to defender Ben McNiece after our JLT 2 win over the Cats.

Small defender Ben McNiece was restricted to just two senior games in his debut season last year, but an impressive JLT performance in Essendon’s win over Geelong has given him fresh confidence of a breakthrough season.

The 25-year-old played a crucial role in the comeback victory on Sunday, impressing with his pressure and repeat efforts – something he prides his game on.

“It’s something that I’ve tried to make my trademark, just that pressure on,” McNiece said.

“(I) don’t get as many touches (as some other players) and I’m really working on my rebound this year.

“In terms of defensive pressure, I’m trying to keep that as a maximum and trying to work on a few other aspects of my game as well to really help the team along.”

McNiece debuted on Anzac Day before playing just one more AFL match the following week in 2017 and said he was thrilled to be back into the senior team against the Cats.

“It’s been a while between drinks obviously playing Anzac Day and then one other after that, so it was really pleasing to get back out here.

“(I’m) rapt to be back out here and round one is around the corner, so I’d love to be in that side when it comes around.”

The defender said the side would take plenty of confidence out of defeating a strong Geelong line-up as the Bombers head into another challenge against Adelaide in the opening round.

“It’s good for a bit of confidence for the boys and leading into round one it’s good to get some chemistry under our belt,” he said.

“With Adelaide in round one, we’ve got to be on our game.”

While admitting that the Bombers weren’t at their best for the entirety of the match, McNiece said the side was happy with the way it fought back to win, showing some of the pressure in the contest that has been a focal point in the pre-season.

“It was just pleasing to show in the last quarter we could still get the job done,” McNiece said.

“We’ve really been focused on trying to play four quarters of really good, hard contested footy this year.

“We probably went away from that a little bit today when Geelong did get on top, but it’s really pleasing to see that we can come back to it.”