2023 Team Preview – Essendon

Written by Dane on February 22 2023

Another disappointing season for the Bombers, finishing 15th on the ladder, which cultivated in the sacking of Ben Rutten and will see Brad Scott take the leads this season. 

There’s plenty of talent on this list so fingers crossed for those long suffering Bombers fans that 2023 can bring some memorable highs. Lets jump into their season preview from a Supercoach point of view.


Feeling Lucky:

Mason Redman ($510,900) / Jordan Ridley ($504,300) / Andrew McGrath ($478,700)

Alright I might be cheating by chucking three guys in here but all three have the potential to be right up there with the top tier of Supercoach defenders.

Redman has a lethal kick coming off half-back and had a hot finish last year, with a standout 176 point effort in round 20 sticking in a few coaches minds. If Scott deploys him in the right role as a dashing half-back man who also gets his fair share of free points from kick ins, then I can see him pushing his average into the triple figures. Will you get alot of return from his current price point? Probably not, but one to consider if he has a few standout performances in the pre-season. 

Ridley is an interesting prospect. In 2020 he averaged 102, 2021 he averaged 98 as one of those underrated defenders in a nice intercepting role with some kick ins to top it off, then last year he copped a bit of a role change to some sort of lock-down defender? Still had 9 tons but a frustratingly low floor which was seen several times. The thing that draws me into Ridley though is that he can score a ton from 15-18 touches with his precise ball skills and intercepting ability, something not a heap of guys in the league can do (Ryan, Sicily, Barass, McGovern to a point). Anyway, don’t be opposed to getting him early in the season if the role is right.

McGraths season averages read 70, 70, 73, 95, 85, 86, which for a former number 1 pick and touted future captain, have room for improvement. Does a new coach let McGrath have a full time midfield role this year in what seems to be his natural position? Last year a new coach gave Coniglio a massive boost, and with 111 games of experience and entering his seventh year in the league, McGrath reads as a prime breakout candidate, guess we’ll just wait and see. 

Money Maker

Couple of candidates here but as is the case with a lot of rookies at this time of year, there’s nothing really concrete to go with, so best to just keep an eye out on any rookie news. Montgomerie ($102,400) is currently in 7% but I’ve got little to no insight on him apart from the fact he has been super impressive over the pre-season as a key defender.


Lock and Load

Zach Merrett ($617,500): Another fantastic season for Merrett who was probably the in form player of the league when the Bombers got on their winning run later in the year. Finds plenty of it and will again in 2023, but does he have that potential to go 120+? If the Bombers can string some wins together, and Zachary can be the protagonist, then he’s a safe starting pick that has solid POD (4% ownership) eligibility. Also, got named skipper for 2023 on Tuesday!

Darcy Parish ($610,800): Was the rave in 2021 and then last year wasn’t much worse when looking at the numbers, scoring 12 tons from 16 games with six of those being 120+. Forms a formidable ball winning duo with Merrett in the middle, and clearly has the ceiling to be a difference maker, but like his midfield buddy, is a POD (4% ownership as well) heading into the season and one to consider as M3-4.

Money Maker

Nik Cox ($198,200): Not the sophomore season that the Bombers were after as Cox only managed 5 games, but that means he comes into 2023 at under 200K, essentially making him a ceiling priced rookie with a few years experience. Should be best 22 and see his fair share of midfield minutes. Flying so far under the radar with while many coaches look at Ashcroft and Phillips, Cox could be the Sam Berry of 2023 and make some quick cash if he can get on a role.

Elijah Tsatas ($189,300): Unfortunately an injury will see him miss the start of the season but expect to have this kid in your team at some point. Wraps are big  and should see plenty of opportunity once the body heals. 


Feeling lucky 

Sam Draper ($398,700): Comes into the season in almost the exact same position as the previous two, with the number 1 ruck spot his for the taking. Does something highlight worthy in nine out of ten games, but fluctuates heavily in terms of Supercoach scoring. Only 24 leading into the season, and with the other ruckman on the list being Phillips and rookies Bryan/McBride, he should be the starting ruck, can he make it his year and provide some value for his price? Probably the cheapest clear number one ruck of all 18 teams. Currently at 11% ownership.


Money maker

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti ($209,600): After a year off, AMT is back at the hangar and looks like he’s ready to go in 2023. Only averaged between 63-75 in his previous 6 season, but if he gets on the park he’ll likely make a good 100-150K before regressing and evening out as the year roles on. Good for a bag of goals here and there but it all depends on opportunities in the Bombers forward line

Davey twins, both $117,300)

Alwyn and Jayden were both selected in last years draft, and the father son prospects should get a shot at the big time in 2023, the question will be when. Talk is that Alwyn is closer at this point, and thats reflected with his ownership (18%), while also having DPP eligibility, if he’s selected round 1 that will jump significantly. 


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13 thoughts on “2023 Team Preview – Essendon”

  1. Good article about the Dons! Will be tough to pick the best defender of the 3 to start the year, but I feel like one of them will end up being in a lot of side midseason.

    I’ve been reading that Nick Bryan the 200k RUC/FWD spent about half of their last intraclub match playing in the A team alongside Draper. The Essendon site stated that they formed a “formidable duo, rotating between ruck and forward duties.”
    In the first half when he was in the B team, they actually kicked the first 6 goals of the match as he was “influential around stoppages”, working with Perkins and Setterfield.
    I see this as Essendon are looking to play with 2 rucks with one resting forward. It will be something to watch on how much time Draper spends resting forward against the Suns tomorrow in their preseason clash.

    There is some interesting news about Harrison Jones too (269k FWD)
    He had a slightly injury effected preseason this year, but has managed to recover and play in a few full intraclub matches. In an interview it was stated by him that he looking to play a different role, as he looks to be a 2nd or 3rd tall forward. He states that he “can get up the ground and be that connector between the forwards and backs.”
    He doesn’t look to be SC relevant but with him potentially moving up the ground, will that cause some positive/negative effects for others? He played 10 consecutive games last season from round 12-21, showing he can get a spot in the team.

    Jye Menzies (154k FWD)
    From the intraclub match, it was stated that “youngster Jye Menzies proved a standout, moving up and down the ground while also converting on the scoreboard.”
    He also played 2 games last season in rd 20 and 23 as a sub both games. His debut against North he had 10 disposals with 3 CP at 100% efficiency from only 25% TOG. He scored only 31 points as the game was basically over.
    Against Richmond he had 9 disposals, 4 CP, 4 marks and a goal from 56% TOG, for 49 points.
    It shows he could make his way into the team and getting some potential midfield time as he can win a ball, which is good for money making.

    For the defence, “Jordan Ridley and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher were strong in the air, while former midfielder Andrew McGrath showed more promising signs off half-back.”
    It is only an intraclub match but it is unclear whether McGrath is pushing into the mid, with the signs he showed off half back.

    Remember Suns v Dons is 4pm tomorrow


    1. Thanks for the stellar insight NP! Plenty to consider, Bryan getting a gig would be a blessing if I’m honest, massive help structure wise.


  2. As a casual bombers fan, I like this write up. Merrett just came into my team as a result of both the Touk hammy and getting the c. Only other bomber on my radar is Menzie if he gets named r1.
    Dylan Shiel is my no 1 smokey…..huge finish to 2022.


    1. In the same boat Wighty! Touk straight to Merrett once the hammy/captaincy news came along, primed for another elite year.


      1. I was nearly sold on Merrett until I was reminded that he could cop a tag from Hawks, just can’t risk the C on him if that’s a chance.


    2. I have a mental block on Zerrett. After selecting him a couple of years ago, then he got knocked out in the first round for about 50pts.


  3. Write up leaves a bit to be desired.

    McGrath isn’t a mid he’s been tried there and been awful. Has only been competent as a halfback/lockdown small

    Nick Cox has been moved to the backline and is a CHB candidate but will probably spend big minutes in the VFL.

    If he works his way into the side should get a lot of points but it won’t be in the midfield.

    Archie Perkins (FWD ) is the 3rd year player set to get extra midfield minutes along with Will Settlerfield (Mid) their recruit from Carlton as Essendon search for a big body to pair with Merrett/Parish . Perkins is around 300k so interesting. Settlerfield at 350k is probably too much to use as a stepping stone but will get minutes.


    1. Priced 100k more expensive to start and mid only so unlikely.

      More of a George Hewett or Hopper without the history of scoring.

      The only way he makes sense is as a stepping stone Mid if you wanted to have him instead of a Hopper/Sheed. Or go 1 less mid Premo and take an extra 600k defender.


    1. The same time as everyone else !!! And of course, everything I say here is the truth…the whole truth………..


  4. Feel like Parish is set for a big year, out of contract and coming into free agency. Expect a 5-10 point increase? Thoughts



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