Venue: Etihad Stadium at 4:40pm AEST
Last 5 times:
R18, 2015, Western Bulldogs 19.13 (127) d Essendon 5.10 (40) at Etihad Stadium
R18, 2014, Essendon 15.11 (101) d Western Bulldogs 14.10 (94) at Etihad Stadium
R7, 2014, Essendon 10.13 (73) d Western Bulldogs 9.11 (65) at Etihad Stadium
R16, 2013, Essendon 18.13 (121) d Western Bulldogs 14.6 (90) at Etihad Stadium
R14, 2012, Essendon 21.14 (140) d Western Bulldogs 8.8 (56) at Etihad Stadium
Top SC scorers from last match:
- Essendon: Gwilt 93, Z Merrett 82, Goddard 81
- Western Bulldogs: Hunter 124, Bontempelli 121, Johannisen 111
- In: Darcy Parish, Kyle Langford, Mark Jamar
- Out: Sam Grimley (Omitted), James Polkinghorne (Omitted), Jonathan Simpkin (Omitted)
- In: Toby McLean, Roarke Smith
- Out: Matthew Suckling (Achilles), Jake Stringer (Omitted)
Game notes: The Western Bulldogs didn’t play their best game of the season last week against Collingwood, but were good enough to claim a three-point win to keep alive their top-four hopes. They are not quite at the same levels as their early-season form, but have ground out some important wins in the past month. They should be able to account for the Bombers, but Essendon did manage to surprise Gold Coast last week by registering their second win of the year. The Bombers broke a 17-game losing streak and gave themselves a chance of avoiding the wooden spoon with the hard-fought victory, as key midfielders David Zaharakis (40 disposals) and Zach Merrett starred.
The 6 Points
1. Only four points separated these sides at quarter-time the last time they met before the Bulldogs kicked 18 goals to five to run out big winners. Former Bomber Stewart Crameri starred with seven goals against his old side.
2. This week pits the top-two ranked sides for uncontested possessions against each other. Both are high possession teams despite the difference in ladder position: the Bulldogs are ranked first in the league, averaging 413 disposals a game. The Bombers are seventh in the competition for total disposals.
3. Despite last week’s win, the Bombers continue to be the lowest-scoring side this season, averaging only 64 points a game. The Bulldogs are the lowest-scoring side in the top eight as they average 86 points a week.
4. The Bombers might be a little better placed had they kicked straighter. They are the worst team in 2016 for goalkicking accuracy, having booted 178.213 across the year (41 per cent). They have kicked more goals than behinds in just five games.
5. Essendon and the Western Bulldogs meet for the 158th time, with the Bombers holding a clear advantage across history (94 wins to the Dogs’ 61, with two draws).
6. Marcus Bontempelli’s rise to stardom has been swift, and it’s been reflected in the AFL Player Ratings. Bontempelli is rated the sixth-best player in the competition, placing him among some of the competition’s genuine superstars.
Thommo’s tip: Western Bulldogs by 75 points
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