Essendon VFL has made a number of changes to its round 18 side ahead of Saturday’s encounter with Sandringham at Windy Hill. 

The last time these sides met back in round seven, the VFL Dons held off the fast-finishing Zebras to win by 13 points.

With Essendon hoping to do the double over Sandringham, senior-listed Dons David Myers, Brayden Ham, Ben McNiece and Jayden Laverde return to the line-up, named on the half-forward flank, centre, back-pocket and full-forward respectively.

Promising defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher will act as key-defensive post with support from Josh Tynan, Matt Dea, Michael Hartley and Jordan Ridley making up the back six. 

At the opposite end, Jordan Houlahan, Mark Baguley, Noah Gown and Nick Dixon will line up in the forward line.

Young ruck Riley Bowman has also been included on the extended interchange, alongside Liam Read, Ben Fennell and Daniel Hanna to name a few. 

Tynan Smith comes in as the 23rd player.

Skipper Aaron Heppell will start in the centre, but wearing the number zero on his guernsey in support of Toward Zero round, which aims to promote the TAC’s goal of zero deaths and injuries on the road.

“We’re really excited to be able to be part of this initiative by the TAC, who do great work in promoting road safety,” VFL operations manager Matt Rodgers said. 

“For us to be able to play a part in promoting their message is great. Hopefully as a result of this round, people will be encouraged to have a heightened level of awareness around the responsibility we all play in making our roads safe.”

The team will be finalised before the first bounce at 2pm on Saturday, August 3, with live updates accessible via Essendon VFL’s Twitter.

The match will also be streamed live on, and broadcasted on SEN 2 digital radio.



50. Josh Tynan

30. Brandon Zerk-Thatcher

41. Ben McNiece


49. Matt Dea

36. Michael Hartley

14. Jordan Ridley


34. Jake Long

0. Aaron Heppell (C)

33. Brayden Ham


68. Nick Dixon

32. Noah Gown

23. David Myers


24. Jordan Houlahan

15. Jayden Laverde

12. Mark Baguley


46. Tom Jok

39. Trent Mynott

16. Josh Begley


76. Bruno Laguda

52. Liam Read

55. Danny Younan


74. Riley Bowman

62. Nino Lazzaro

56. Dylan Landt


60. Ben Fennell

53. Daniel Hanna

23rd player

72. Tynan Smith

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.