Essendon VFL senior coach Dan Jordan assesses the performances of the 12 AFL-listed Bombers who played in Saturday’s 41-point loss to Casey

Kyle Langford

Stats: 25 disposals, six tackles, one goal

From the coach: I thought Kyle was pretty good inside. It was a high-pressure game and Casey brought a lot of intensity around the contest, but he held up well and was strong inside. He also played some forward minutes and presented at the ball really well, and finished with a really nice goal. He was solid as a midfielder around the contest and gave us some good balance both on the inside and outside.

Jordan Ridley

Stats: 13 disposals, six marks, two goals

From the coach: ‘Rids’ started in defence and then, when we lost a few of our key forwards, went forward to try and give us a target. I thought he defended OK without having too much influence, but when he went forward he looked nice ahead of the ball, he hit up at the footy and gave us a couple of outlet options. He finished with two goals, one behind in the second half as well which was a nice return from him. He played a different role for us, so hats off to him for doing the team thing. 

Josh Begley

Stats: 14 disposals, three marks, one goal

From the coach: Josh played a bit of inside and mainly forward minutes, but he probably didn’t find his hands on the ball quite as much as he’d like. He seemed to be around the contest and putting some good heat on. I thought he was physical inside but he’ll keep working at his cleanliness which will hopefully improve as we get some more footy into him – he’s only recently back from injury so his transition and work rate is really good and that’s a positive.

Josh Begley continues to build his game after a long injury layoff. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Irving Mosquito

Stats: 11 disposals, two marks

From the coach: ‘Mozzie’ played up forward and a bit of wing late (in the game). He seemed to get up and put some good pressure on but it was one of those days where the ball didn’t seem to bounce. He got himself into some nice spots and crumbed a few – he kicked a couple of points so if he finishes them off and hits the scoreboard then he’s having good impact as a small forward.

Jordan Houlahan

Stats: Nine disposals, three marks, three tackles

From the coach: Jordan played forward and some wing as well. I thought he transitioned up and down a fair bit and tried to give us an outlet option for our mids. Casey’s pressure was good and our outside players probably didn’t have the impact that we wanted them to, but when Jordan was forward he competed. He took a couple of nice marks but we couldn’t really generate any clean entries for him. 

Brandon Zerk-Thatcher

Stats: 14 disposals (10 kicks), six marks

From the coach: Brandon played in key defence – he’s progressively getting better. He took six marks and looked really comfortable with the fair amount of ball that was coming into Casey’s forward line. He’s showing some really nice signs moving forward.

Noah Gown

Stats: Three disposals, five tackles, one goal

From the coach: Noah was playing forward for us, giving us a target. He was another one who tweaked a little calf so was a little bit incapacitated in the second half but to his credit he stuck it out. He presented himself up at the footy and was good at ground level as well. He probably didn’t have much of an impact because he didn’t have his full range of movement – he’s a nice hit-up player when he does, but he contributed to the game in other ways. 

Jake Long

Stats: 13 disposals, four marks, six tackles

From the coach: ‘Longy’ played off half-back, and defended pretty well. His work rate was good, and had just the 13 possessions this week probably due to a fair bit of pressure being on the ball. I thought his game was solid, as was most of our defence, but he probably didn’t have quite the offensive impact as we’d like him to.

Michael Hartley

Stats: 15 disposals (12 kicks), four marks, four tackles

From the coach: ‘Harts’ was good as our key defensive post – we also had to use him in the ruck at times. He positioned himself well, and tried to set the ball up and keep competing, which he needed to. The guys were under a fair bit of pressure there but I thought his game was solid. 

Dylan Clarke

Stats: 30 disposals, seven marks, four tackles

From the coach: Dylan was really strong inside, and was really intent around the contest and also in getting out and spreading. He had eight clearances for the game which is a good effort for our mids, given we probably lost some ruck depth. His disposals were a good mix of kick-to-handball, and he’s probably our most solid on-baller.

Dylan Clarke shone once again for Essendon VFL. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Ben McNiece

Stats: 21 disposals (16 kicks), six marks

From the coach: I thought Ben was good again –if anything his disposal was a bit off compared to previous weeks but I think he got enough of the ball. He also defended really hard, had three rebound-50s and competed really hard at ground level against some of Casey’s small forwards.

Matt Dea

Stats: 20 disposals (12 kicks), 10 marks

From the coach: ‘Matty’ was great and his second half was awesome. He was the player we know he can be – he backed himself in the air, he looked really strong and confident when going at the footy, and made some really good decisions. He took 10 marks in the back-half, seven of which came in the second half. He was composed with the ball and used it pretty well. He also helped set-up and provide a fair bit of leadership down back.