Essendon VFL head coach Dan Jordan reviews the 14 senior-listed Bombers who played in Sunday’s 26-point preliminary final loss to Williamstown at Adcon Stadium. 

Mark Baguley

Stats: Nine disposals, five tackles, two inside 50s, one goal

From the coach: ‘Bags’ played his role, and those high-forward roles are always tough because it’s not a high-possession role. Nine disposals and a nice goal is probably the output we’ve come to expect of him, but more importantly it’s his competing work and his contest stuff which were evident again, as they've always been throughout his career. He’s one that will walk away having given everything he could, which is a credit to him. 

Jordan Ridley

Stats: 20 disposals, three tackles, eight spoils, nine rebound 50s

From the coach: Jordan’s game was solid as a defender. He had a role on (Jaylon) Thorpe, which he played pretty well considering Thorpe didn’t have a big influence on the game. It was a solid game considering Jordan probably had to sacrifice his usual run and carry to play that defensive role, but still found enough of the footy with 20 possessions.

Josh Begley

Stats: 10 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s, one goal 

From the coach: Josh spent time up forward and in the middle. He kicked a nice goal and got up and competed. He got caught a couple of times trying to take the game on, but that was his instruction. He probably would’ve liked to get his hands on the footy a bit more for him to have a bigger impact. He only had 10 possessions and a goal, and we’d like to get up more to around 20 disposals and two or three goals, but it was a solid game.

David Myers 

Stats: 17 disposals, three tackles, six clearances, four inside 50s, one goal

From the coach: ‘Myersy’ played inside, and while I thought our mids were probably beaten for most of the day, he never gave up trying. It was obviously his last game for the club and he probably would’ve liked to go out on a better note, but his effort and desire to make the team better were evident, as they've been throughout his career.

Jordan Houlahan

Stats: Seven disposals, five marks, four tackles, one goal

From the coach: Jordan probably didn’t have the output that he would’ve liked again with the seven possessions and a goal, but more importantly he laid four tackles and had good defensive pressure. It’s something for him to keep building on and how he can impact the game, while keeping that work rate and defensive pressure up.

Brandon Zerk-Thatcher 

Stats: 11 disposals, three marks, eight spoils, four rebound 50s 

From the coach: Brandon played as key defender. He seemed to get his hands on the ball a fair few times, but probably didn’t have his marking at the level he would’ve liked to intercept. Williamstown got the ball inside 50 a fair bit so he had to defend pretty hard on some good players, and battled admirably all day. 

Brayden Ham

Stats: 11 disposals, six marks, four rebound 50s, two goals

From the coach: ‘Hammy'[ tried to give us a bit of run and spark through the wing. He had six marks and kicked two nice goals, so I thought his contribution was good. When he did have the ball he seemed to have some poise about him, and he also tried to run and give us some impetus, which we probably lacked for a bit of the day. I thought his game was solid, and even though it wasn’t a high-possession game from him, his ball use and finishing was great.

Jake Long 

Stats: 17 disposals, eight handball receives, seven tackles, seven inside 50s 

From the coach: I thought 'Longy's' game was pretty good. Playing at half-back he found himself around the ball with (Williamstown) putting an extra up at the stoppage. He looked to have some good intensity and run and carry when he did have the ball, and tried to take the game on. I thought he was one of our better players. 

Michael Hartley

Stats: Three disposals, four tackles, two inside 50s, six hitouts

From the coach: ‘Harts’ was pretty flat on the weekend having played a number of roles up forward and through the ruck. He didn’t really get his hands on it much, but he battled hard, especially when we had to throw him in the ruck when Nick Meese was dominating. He was good in taking some intercept marks up forward as well, so it was a good challenge for him to be able to work through that and still impact the game. 

Dylan Clarke 

Stats: 14 disposals, six handball receives, four tackles, four clearances, two inside 50s

From the coach: ‘Clarkey’ is probably another one in that midfield group that probably didn’t find the ball as much as he would’ve liked. Led by Nick Meese in the ruck, Williamstown was pretty dominant all day and we seemed to be on the back foot a little bit. He only had 14 possessions, and from a midfielder you’d like him to have closer to 20, but as always, he competed pretty hard and put the pressure on with four tackles.

Trent Mynott 

Stats: 14 disposals, four tackles, four clearances, five inside 50s 

From the coach: Trent again was probably another that didn’t have the input we would’ve liked, but he found the footy 14 times and worked his way into the game in the second half. He gave us five inside 50s which is good impetus in the mid arc, but we just need to get that possession rate up a bit more and get the footy into his hands a bit more.

Ben McNiece 

Stats: 21 disposals, six marks, four tackles, three spoils, seven inside 50s

From the coach: I thought Benny’s game was really good across half-back, and even when we pushed him into the middle in the second half to give us a bit of zip around the stoppages. He looked to be defending well and was aggressive when he got the ball in his hands. It was a solid game from him.

Tuth Jok 

Stats: 14 disposals, three marks, nine tackles, one goal, 12 hitouts

From the coach: ‘Jokky’ played a bit through the ruck and on the wing. I thought he gave us a bit of a contest in the ruck and tried to get out of the stoppages. His defensive pressure was good with nine tackles, but we probably needed to get the ball in his hands more to use his run and try and expose Williamstown a bit. I thought his game was solid in a number of roles. 

Matt Dea

Stats: 13 disposals, four marks, three tackles, four rebound 50s

From the coach: Matty just competed hard all day, when it was pretty tough down there in terms of defending. He was on a number of different opponents but competed like he’s always done throughout his career. He’s another one that bows out for us, but he’s been a great soldier for the VFL and AFL sides. We’ll miss his drive and his leadership.