You’ll have to forgive Essendon fans if we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Not only do we have the longest streak without a finals win (our last one was in 2004 if you were wondering), but there was that whole…. thing… with the… It’s been a rough patch. We’re nearly as starved of success as St Kilda fans.
Last year’s false start was also deflating, but righting the ship (somewhat) in the last half of the season confirmed the best footy we can produce is as good as anyone else’s. A successful trade period only raises expectations for 2019 but also puts the club in the spotlight.
Our bumper draw is pretty exciting and confirms that the AFL think’s we’re a good bet to return to the competition’s top tier as much as we do.
The major talking point is our seven games on a Thursday or Friday night. The game’s biggest stage will feature Red and Black fairly often this year, and its a chance for the team’s stars like Joe Daniher, Zach Merrett and the newly acquired Dylan Shiel to show off our exciting brand of footy. That also extends to Anzac Day, Dreamtime and Good Friday, giving us more than our fair share of marquee games
It’s a tough draw; Champion Data has us ranked as the sixth hardest draw in the comp via the points differential of the teams we face twice; Collingwood, North, Sydney, GWS and Fremantle. We always play the Pies twice so that’s no surprise, and those will be tough games after their success this year, but we get to host Anzac Day this year. North and Freo should both be better after successful trade periods, and GWS and Sydney are always strong, so there aren’t any easy games in that lot.
There are six interstate trips, (all Victorian teams have either 5 or 6, not including Hawthorn and North’s home games to Tassie), meaning we have the slightly shorter end of the stick. As usual, we’ll take two trips to Perth, where we’ll inexplicably lose to Fremantle and destroy West Coast. Back to back interstate games in Round 18 (Adelaide) and 19 (Gold Coast) will also make for a challenging run-in to the finals.
All in all though, it’s a draw that sets the club up for success, on and off the field, something all our fans should be happy about. With an elite group of players and an exciting brand of footy, more Bombers in the league’s showcase games cant be a bad thing for the neutral either.