Where and when: UTAS Stadium, Sunday 29th August at 3:20pm (AEST)
Last time they met: Round 21, 2021: Essendon 15.7 (97) def Western Bulldogs 12.12 (84) at Marvel Stadium
The Doggies started with a small flurry and held the quarter-time lead but their dominance was short-lived. Under the midfield leadership of Merrett and Parish, and a dominant forward performance by Wright (with 7 goals in a career-best performance), the Dons charged back from 19 points down in the second quarter to hold the half-time lead.
The Dogs again challenged in the third and fourth quarters but Essendon responded each time and held on for a tough win that put them in the box seat for September action.
Last five: Western Bulldogs 2-3, Essendon 3-2
Match Preview: This is shaping up as the most fascinating match of the round with two teams heading in opposite directions. For weeks the Bulldogs were in contention for the minor premiership but they fell in a massive hole and dropped three winnable games in the final month of the regular season. The Bombers have looked shakey early in the season but three late wins saw them sneak into eighth position.
So can struggling teams ‘flick the switch’ and return to form after three straight losses?
I believe some teams can, but not the Western Bulldogs! They are stacked with talent and their midfield racks up possessions like no other team but they have massive structural issues at half-forward and in stifling opposition defenders. In the weeks since Josh Bruce injured himself, the Dogs have been breaking down at half-forward and seem incapable of kicking big scores. At the same time, opponent defenders are racking up touches and providing multiple scoring thrusts.
Unless Bevo can find a way to stop this trend, the Dogs will be enjoying lockdown with the rest of us next week!
Thommo Watch: This is the most exciting the Bombers have looked in years and I am actually enjoying watching the kids like Perkins, Draper and Durham go around. That’s a weird sensation for a Hawks’ fan!
Thommo’s Tip: Essendon by 10 points (tipping record 39.5/67).
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