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VFL player review: Round 18

BTV: VFL Rd 18 | Highlights Watch the highlights from our VFL round 18 win against Sandringham.

Essendon VFL head coach Dan Jordan reviews the 13 senior-listed Dons who played a part in Saturday’s 85-point triumph over Sandringham.

Mark Baguley

Stats: 14 disposals, four marks, two tackles, three goals

From the coach: ‘Bags’ had a good game – he played that fat side/forward role and I thought he competed really well. He finished with three goals, which is a great return from a small forward and he was really good at setting up and coming up to the stoppage at times. I was really pleased with his game.

Jayden Laverde

Stats: 13 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s, two goals

From the coach: Jayden was an AFL emergency, so he arrived late and entered the game halfway through the second quarter. He still had a good impact and presented hard as a target, giving us a focal point up forward. He moved well also.

Josh Begley

Stats: 24 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, one goal

From the coach: Josh competed really hard, playing mostly forward minutes with a bit of on-ball. He had the 24 possessions and transitioned well. He probably could have finished with three or four goals having missed a couple, but I was still pleased with his game.

David Myers

Stats: 39 disposals, 18 contested possessions, six marks, 11 clearances, nine inside 50s, three goals

From the coach: I thought Dave’s game was outstanding. As an onballer he had 39 possessions and nine inside 50s, and was really strong around the ball. He set up well and got his hands on it first a fair few times to give us some really great drive out of the middle.

Jordan Houlahan

Stats: Eight disposals, four marks, two goals

From the coach: Jordan played forward with a bit of time on the wing. He finished with a couple of nice goals, but is still working on getting his hands on the ball a little bit more and taking his opportunities. It was good to see over the weekend though that when he did get those chances in front of goal, he finished well.

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‪Back to our winning ways with an 85-point triumph over Sandringham 🤩 #MightyBombers

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Brandon Zerk-Thatcher

Stats: 14 disposals, three marks, four spoils

From the coach: Brandon’s game was solid as our key defensive post. He competed hard and positioned himself well. He looked to be reading the ball a little bit better than previous weeks, so he was back to having a good influence as a key back while still being able to get 14 possessions. He set up well also, particularly with (Michael) Hartley missing.

Noah Gown

Stats: Nine disposals, four marks, four goals

From the coach: Noah finished with the four goals, which is a great return from him. He competed hard and moved well, and looked to be in better positions than the last couple of weeks where he’s had some illness. He gave us good defensive pressure in the forward line, and some good competing and contest work which is all we ask of him.

Gown tackles star Saint Jack Steven at Windy Hill. (Image: Ben Johnstone)

Brayden Ham

Stats: 19 disposals, five marks, two tackles, three inside 50s, three rebound 50s

From the coach: Brayden hasn’t played for a few weeks due to some byes and carryovers (as AFL emergencies) so he was finding his feet a little bit. His second half was a lot better where he seemed to get his transition going and give us that drive off the wing that we needed. In terms of a wingman’s game, to have 19 possessions and a balanced mix of contested and uncontested is a good return. Three inside 50s and three rebound 50s also shows he was getting the ball at both ends, which is great.

Jake Long

Stats: 14 disposals, three tackles, three inside 50s

From the coach: ‘Longy’ played as that cover defender/high half-back and gave us some good run. He got on the end of a few and was able to run the ball through and use it fairly well. 14 possessions is a good return from him.

Trent Mynott

Stats: Six disposals, two tackles, two clearances

From the coach: Trent was playing well but copped a knock early in the second quarter. We probably could have pushed him back out there, but we decided to hold him off and freshen him up for next week. It was limited impact from him, but obviously not his fault. 

Ben McNiece

Stats: 26 disposals, five marks, 10 rebound 50s

From the coach: ‘Benny’ had an outstanding game, particularly in the first half when I didn’t think our team was playing its best footy. He was probably our best player – giving us a lot of drive in the back half and reading the ball really well. His defensive pressure was also great and he had 10 rebound 50s. He helped set up a lot of forward thrusts from intercepts and turnovers, and then being aggressive back on the opposition. 26 possessions is an outstanding return from a half-back.

McNiece continued his strong form against Sandringham on Saturday. (Image: Ben Johnstone)

Tom Jok

Stats: 24 disposals, 13 contested possessions, three marks, seven clearances, four hitouts

From the coach: Tom is building into some nice form now. He seems to be moving more freely, particularly in the second half where his transition was really good. He did a bit of ruck minutes too and had the seven clearances and was able to get out. He worked hard contest-to-contest and won 24 disposals, which is probably his highest for the year. It was a nice platform for him to build on late in the season.

Matt Dea

Stats: 19 disposals, seven marks, three tackles, three spoils

From the coach: It was a really solid game from ‘Matty’. He was hard and physical at the contest, took seven marks and had 19 possessions. He rarely lost a one-on-one contest and helped set up the back six really well. It was good to see him back to the form we’ve become used to from him.

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Waking up on Sunday after a win 😁 #MightyBombers

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Brooke Varney is in the final year of her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at RMIT University. As part of their strategic partnership, Essendon Football Club and RMIT University are committed to providing opportunities for students, staff, players and the wider community.