Essendon manager of development and VFL talent Luke Ball says there were many positive signs in the VFL Bombers’ 28-point practice match victory over Northern Blues at Ikon Park last Friday.

Six senior-listed players took part in the game alongside several fresh faces as the Dons continued to gear up for the 2020 season off the back of successive preliminary final appearances.

“It was our first official hit-out against an opposition after good block of preseason training,” Ball said.

“We fielded a squad full of young, new faces who have, up until this point, only connected on the training track.

“That meant it was a really good opportunity for them to go out and compete and show their strengths as footballers

“Some more familiar faces from the last few years also played with Aaron Heppell, Liam ‘Bluey’ McKenna, Bruno Laguda and Dan Guccione leading them out, and all showed some good early season signs.”

Jake Stringer led the AFL-listed brigade in the clash last week and despite being put on ice for the majority of the second half, Ball said there was no reason for major concern.

See Ball’s review of each senior-listed player below.

Jake Stringer

“Jake was down to play a bit over a half. He looked sharp and showed his usual explosiveness in the centre bounces and forward. He copped a minor corky in the third quarter but was planned on being iced at that point anyway.”

Josh Begley

“Josh played inside mid and forward, kicking the first goal of the game. He showed good signs and was impacting in both areas, however didn’t take any further part after half-time due to a corked quad."

Dylan Clarke

“Dylan was very good as an inside mid. His clearance work and spread from stoppages were strengths all night.”

Nick Bryan

“Nick played the majority of the game in the ruck and he certainly gave the mids first use with his tap work. What was really pleasing was his follow-up work at ground level to either win the ball or help apply pressure.”

Kobe Mutch

“Kobe played the majority of the game on the wing and a little as an inside mid. Again, his work rate was a standout for four quarters along with his ability to be strong and impact the contest when needed.”

Ross McQuillan

“Playing his first ever game of Australian football, Ross acquitted himself well down back and showed great instincts both offensively and defensively when the ball was in his area. He plays the game with speed and got better as the game wore on.”