For Bombers fans, the 2017 AFL season is one filled with excitement and anticipation. After 4 years of controversy and turmoil, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the Essendon Football Club can put this dark time behind them.
After the heartache of losing players to suspension, multiple draft picks and the beloved captain Jobe Watson’s Brownlow medal, there is finally some positivity surrounding what is possible for the red and black in 2017. Despite only notching up three wins in the 2016 season, Essendon were able to get crucial games into their young up and coming stars, unearth some hidden in talent and secure multiple high draft picks in the 2016 AFL Draft, including the number one pick.
The Bombers took highly sought after young gun Andrew McGrath with their number one pick, as well as Jordan Ridley and Joshua Begley with picks 22 and 31 respectively. McGrath, a dashing defender with the ability to run through the midfield, who has been highly regarded for his leadership qualities, will give the Essendon backline a much needed injection of elite pace. The final quarter in Vic Metro’s two-point victory over Vic Country brought out the best in McGrath, showcasing his ability to rebound and attack from half-back, making him likely to play a lot of footy in his first year of AFL.
Jordan Ridley is a tall runner with the flexibility to be thrown into any position on the ground. At 192 cm, Ridley plays his best footy as a defender, but could be moulded into a big bodied midfielder.
Joshua Begley is a powerful forward who has a real sense for goal. Strong and dynamic, Begley is difficult to beat in a one-on-one.
The Bombers went on to pick up Kobe Mutch at pick 42 and Dylan Clarke at pick 63. Essendon also held the number one pick in the Rookie Draft, in which they took ruckman Sam Draper out of the SANFL. They finalised their list by adding Ben McNiece, the vice-captain of Essendon’s VFL side in 2016.
This year’s draft added some much needed talent and youth to Essendon’s list, however their most important asset is the ten players returning from suspension, including key pillars Michael Hurley, Cale Hooker, Dyson Heppell and Jobe Watson. They were also able to unearth talent in 2016 in players like Matt Dea, Conor McKenna and cult figure Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, and get games into young players such as Darcy Parish, Kyle Langford and Martin Gleeson. Players such as Joe Daniher, Orazio Fantasia and 2016 Crichton medallist Zach Merrett were able to elevate their games and have breakout years with the added responsibility on their shoulders, which should excite Essendon fans.
Every game is important throughout the season, however there are some key games in 2017 for the Bombers to prove something to their fans and the rest of the competition.
Round 1. Saturday night. MCG. it doesn’t get much bigger than this. Last time they met, Hawthorn gave the Bombers a 108-point drumming. Essendon will be looking to exact some revenge on their old foe, who look like they are finally reaching the end of their reign at the top of the competition. Secure a private suite or chairman’s package now to enjoy the action in style.
The ANZAC Day blockbuster is the biggest home and away game of the year, and regularly pulls a crowd of over 90,000 screaming fans. Collingwood did not hold back on the depleted Essendon side in 2016, kicking fourteen goals to two in the first half. To make sure you don’t miss what is sure to be a sell-out, see all the package and experiences here.
Another Saturday night Blockbuster against a bitter rival, the Dreamtime at the G match celebrates the influence and contribution of Indigenous Australians on our great game. Always a big crowd and an amazing experience, check out what options are available here.
Essendon now have a list that has the ability to play finals football in 2017. However, it is still a case of the unknown. How long will it take the team to gel with plenty of new faces around? How long will it take the returning players to adjust to the pace of AFL football? Will their young stars reach their potential? Will senior players such as Jobe Watson and Brent Stanton be able to return and play at the elite level? All these questions will be asked, and only time will tell us the answers, and that is the exciting part. Book your packages for the season now and witness a historic season for the Essendon Football Club. Go There!