VFL senior coach Leigh Tudor. (Photo: Essendon FC)

Returning defender Patrick Ambrose, who has been unlucky with injuries the past couple of seasons, was among 12 senior-listed Bombers who featured in a VFL practice match against Frankston at the NEC Hangar on Friday night. 

Essendon took out a 14.10 (94) to 10.10 (70) win over Frankston in its final practice match before Saturday's season opener against Brisbane in Queensland.

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See VFL senior coach Leigh Tudor’s review on each senior-listed Bomber below.

The Bombers will play their first-round match against the Lions from 1:30pm at Southpines Sporting Complex.

Patrick Ambrose

“Patty played just over a half. He played full-forward, had three shots at goal and kicked the first goal of the game which was really exciting for the group. The boys celebrated pretty hard with that because he’s been out for so long. He got his game time up, he competed really well and he should be right for a full game this week so I’m really pleased for him.”


Andrew Phillips

“‘Flip’ was really good. It was his first game back from injury and it was great to see him out there. He really dominated when he was in the ruck. He took about four or five really strong marks. He was a really consistent performer for us over the four quarters. It was a really solid game for the first game back from injury.” 

David Zaharakis

“David had another good game considering he was the medical sub (AFL) the night before and usually it’s mentally draining to fly back and get yourself up for a game. He got a little bit tired towards the end of the game because of the preparation he had, but he did everything he needed to and had a good game for us.”

Martin Gleeson

“Marty had another strong game. He defended really well and when he got the ball he made good decisions and set us up in attack.”

Tom Cutler

“It was a strong game from Tom. Again he played probably half the game on the wing and half the game on half-back. He got a lot of the ball and most of the time used it well, and he defended when he needed to.”

Nick Bryan

“Nick started the game really well. Both our ruckmen were really dominant. His aerial contests were really strong and he took some really good marks. He was a great pressure player as well on the weekend, so it was a good game for Nick.” 

Ned Cahill

“Ned played half-back and got a lot of the ball and he used it well. He’s just getting better and better each week at learning the defensive play of the game.”

Zach Reid

“‘Reidy’ was strong again. He was good in the aerial contests and he took three or four intercept marks which was really good for him. He got a lot of the ball and used it, and his decision-making and skill execution has been a highlight.”

Josh Eyre

“It was good from Josh. He got a lot of ball running the patterns that we wanted him to run. He was playing against quite a strong player from Frankston, so it was a really good test for him. He cramped a little bit which has been happening the last few games but he comes off, he gets himself right and he gets back out there again. He’s just playing more and more game time every week so it was good to see him out there a bit longer this week.”

Cody Brand

“Unfortunately Cody got injured early. He rolled his ankle, so that was bad luck for him. Hopefully it’s not too bad but we’re not sure how he’ll come up.”

Tom Hird

“‘Hirdy’ played half-back flank. He got quite a bit of the ball and he defended well. In the second half he played on the wing for the first time, so it was good to see him learn a new position. Again his work rate was super again so it was a nice game for him.”

Lachlan Johnson

“He pretty much played as a forward but we threw him on ball for five or six minutes every quarter and he looked really good in there. He won his own ball and if he didn’t win it, he was the first player to tackle, so it was a really good inside game when he played on ball. It was pleasing to see.”