Essendon VFL head coach Dan Jordan rates the 13 senior-listed Bombers who took to the field in Sunday’s three-point semi-final win over Werribee at Adcon Stadium. 

Mark Baguley

Stats: 17 disposals, two tackles, three inside 50s, one goal

From the coach: ‘Bags’ played up forward and competed really hard in trying to keep the ball locked in. He was often outnumbered down there but he scrapped and probably showed a few of his ‘junkyard dog’ traits when bringing the ball to ground. Seventeen disposals and a nice goal is a good return. I thought some of his pressure acts were great too.

Jordan Ridley

Stats: 16 disposals, four marks, seven rebound 50s

From the coach: ‘Rids’ played a half-back role and it was a nice game from him with 16 possessions. He got his hands on the ball a bit but probably didn’t quite find the space that we’d like him to get due to the nature of the game, but I still thought he competed and defended hard. Through some structural changes, he also spent some time forward and brought the ball to ground for us as well. It was a solid game from him. 

Josh Begley

Stats: 14 disposals (11 contested), six tackles, five clearances, one goal

From the coach: Even though it wasn’t a high-possession game with 14 disposals, I thought Josh was really strong for us in the contest. During his last 15 minutes, when we really needed someone to stand up and win the game, he put some contests on the line and won a couple of balls which moved us forward. I think he even propelled the ball for ‘Jokky’ to kick the winning goal for us too, so he was really important there. It’s a good testament to him that sometimes even though you’re not playing the game that you would like, you’re still impacting just through having some strong competitive work, which Josh did.

David Myers

Stats: 21 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six clearances, six inside 50s

From the coach: It was one of those scrappy and contested games, so Myers' traits were really important for us. He was a big body inside and competed with repeat efforts, despite it not being a high-possession game from him. He brought a lot of grunt work and helped organise in a really high-intensity game. He played his role really well.

Jordan Houlahan

Stats: Five disposals, one mark, one spoil

From the coach: ‘Houlas’ obviously didn’t have quite the impact that he would’ve liked with just the five disposals. We want him to get some more defensive pressure on, as he didn’t have any tackles and didn’t hit the scoreboard. Jordan’s working on how he can impact the game, and even though the conditions certainly didn’t suit him, his marking ability and his running weapons on the weekend, he’s just got to work through that and work out those ways so he can still compete and still put pressure acts on to influence the game.

Brandon Zerk-Thatcher

Stats: 11 disposals, three marks, six spoils, seven rebound 50s 

From the coach: Brandon played as our key-defensive post and I thought he was really solid. He competed really hard with six spoils. Werribee had some good forwards in (Jake) Riccardi and (Kye) Declase, but Brandon rarely got beaten one-on-one. He’s a really important player for us down back when he’s competing really hard, and we need that from him.

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Jake Long 

Stats: Nine disposals, four tackles, one goal

From the coach: It was a good effort for ‘Longy’ to get up and play – he was pretty sick on the day but still put his hand up and said he’ll play his role for us. He played across half-back but also found himself inside the contest when Werribee threw a spare up around the stoppage a bit. He just had to compete, and when he kicked that nice goal for us it really got us going in the second quarter. I thought he competed really hard. 

Michael Hartley 

Stats: 13 disposals, five spoils, six clearances, one goal, 25 hitouts

From the coach: ‘Harts’ had a number of different roles again on the weekend. He played a bit up forward, and spent two or so quarters in the ruck when it was raining heavily. I thought he competed really hard. He had 25 hitouts in the ruck, which was a great effort, and six clearances. When he was up forward he kicked a nice goal and brought the ball to ground for us. I really liked his game.

Michael Hartley's versatility continues to be an asset for the VFL Bombers. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Dylan Clarke

Stats: 17 disposals, 11 tackles, three clearances, six inside 50s

From the coach: Dylan drew a lot of grunt work through the middle with Myersy. He had 11 tackles which was testament to the defensive pressure he brought, and gave us some drive by propelling the ball forward with six inside 50s. I thought that like a couple of our other big-bodied mids, he gave us a really strong contest in the centre. 

Trent Mynott 

Stats: 17 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances

From the coach: I liked Trent’s game, particularly early. He seemed to break out and got the ball going forward our way with six clearances. He was also good defensively with seven tackles and 17 possessions, and was in that quartet or so of mids that rotated through and did some heavy work for us. 

Ben McNiece

Stats: 17 disposals, five tackles, five spoils, three inside 50s 

From the coach: Benny's first two quarters in particular were outstanding. He was really aggressive at the contest, put himself in good positions and seemed to be able to apply some really good ground-level pressure. He came off his man and was able to spoil which gave us some impact in the air, and had the five tackles which gave us some inside 50s from his intercept work as well. 

Tuth Jok 

Stats: 10 disposals, three marks, eight tackles, five inside 50, one goal

From the coach: ‘Jokky’ mostly ran through the wing, but it probably wasn’t a huge day for wingers in terms of the outside ball. Having said that, I thought he played his role really well and ran hard defensively. He also obviously kicked that last goal for us, which through his work-rate put his head down and worked really hard offensively to find himself on the end of it and finish off. Again, it was a good testament to him that even when you’re not dominating the game, you can still leave an imprint and I’m sure that goal will be one he remembers. 

Matt Dea

Stats: Eight disposals, four marks, four tackles, three spoils

From the coach: Matty Dea scrapped all day. He came off his man and tried to impact in the air, and had four tackles and three spoils. He competed hard all game and was on some really good Werribee forwards. While it wasn’t a big day in terms of numbers, I thought he was really competitive and structurally set us up really well.