Patrick Ambrose tries to shrug a tackle against Collingwood. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Essendon banked its first win of the 2021 VFL season in a comfortable 12.13 (85) to 6.14 (50) victory over Collingwood on Saturday, with 10 senior-listed players featuring at Victoria Park.

Check out head coach Leigh Tudor’s assessment on each player below.

The VFL Bombers will face off against Carlton at Windy Hill from 12:05pm on Sunday.


Tom Cutler

Stats: 27 disposals, three goals, seven marks, one tackle

“Tom had a really good game. He had a purple patch in the third quarter which really broke the game open for us. We kicked six goals in the third quarter and he was involved in a lot of those kicks and set a couple up so he really broke the game open for us. He had a lot of the ball, 27 touches throughout the day. He rebounded from defence and he set us up going forward."

Tom Cutler led the Bombers for disposals and goals. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Ned Cahill

Stats: 21 disposals, five marks, six tackles 

“Ned was good. He played on ball, worked really hard in and around the contest and won his clearances. He had a few hardball gets and he also had nine handball receives so he worked really hard. It was a good midfield game from Ned.”

Ned Cahill hunts the footy. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Alec Waterman

Stats: 17 disposals, two goals, three marks, five tackles 

“Alec had a good game. He was really important for us and played an AFL game in the VFL. His body work was really good. He’s an exciting player to watch."

Alec Waterman is congratulated by Kyle Dunkley after kicking one of his two goals. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Tom Hird 

Stats: 16 disposals, six marks, two tackles 

“'Hirdy' defended well and he also attacked pretty well this week. It was a solid game from him. He played the conditions really well and he played his role well.”

Nick Bryan 

Stats: 13 disposals, 30 hitouts, two marks, two tackles

“Another good game from Nick Bryan. He’s putting a few together now. He had 30 hitouts and six clearances himself as well which was really good. He competed around the ground and he was playing on two good ruckmen, so another tick for Nick. He’s having a good run of form.”


Patrick Ambrose 

Stats: 12 disposals, two goals, five marks, six tackles 

“Patty was good. He ended up kicking two goals. He had opportunities to kick a couple more but he presented really well. Like Alec (Waterman) he played AFL-style football in the VFL. He was strong in the contest, fierce with his attack on the ball and the opponents."

Cody Brand

Stats: Seven disposals, one mark, one tackle 

“[Cody] started a bit slow. It was his first game back from injury. The longer the game wore on the better he got. He competed really fiercely in the high balls that came in and had some nice spoils, so it ended up being that the longer the game went, the better he got.”

Josh Eyre

Stats: Six disposals, 3 marks, 1 tackle

“Josh presented really well. He didn't get a lot of the ball, and he had some opportunities to probably take a few marks which he missed. He presented pretty well when it was raining really heavily, and he actually competed pretty well for us.” 

Josh Eyre in action against Collingwood. (Photo: Ben Johnstone)

Cian McBride

Stats: 12 disposals, one mark

“It was his first game back for a while and it was really exciting to see him out there. He competed really strongly. A bit like ‘Brandy’ (Cody Brand), he had a couple of early hit-ups the Collingwood players got on him, but one-on-one and in the highball contests he was really competitive. I think he played 60-70 per cent of game time and he got through, so it was really exciting to see him back.” 

Lachlan Johnson

Stats: 11 disposals, one mark, seven tackles

“Lachie played midfield again. He was good in around the contest and he put himself in the right positions. He fumbled a little bit and could have been a little bit cleaner, but again got through another game of hard running. It was good to see him in the middle again.”