AFL Round Six Preview: Essendon vs Collingwood, ANZAC Day

Joel Bowes has the inside word on the Anzac Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon.

The footy season is really up and going now, with upsets and thrashings a plenty. The Bombers and Pies are both three wins from five matches and looking to continue to cement their places inside the top eight. Generally, teams that find themselves inside the eight after just nine rounds play finals, and so this game becomes crucial for both sides to get themselves to a record of four and two. Both sides are also coming off big wins, Collingwood beating the Lions by 62 and Essendon thumping North by 58.


Last Five Meetings:

2018 Round 16 – Essendon (9.8.62) lost to Collingwood (12.6.78)

2018 Round 5 – Collingwood (14.17.101) defeated Essendon (7.10.52)

2017 Round 16 – Collingwood (12.8.80) lost to Essendon (18.9.117)

2017 Round 5 – Essendon (15.10.100) defeated Collingwood (11.16.82)

2016 Round 5 – Collingwood (22.10.142) defeated Essendon (11.7.73)


Five Reasons to Watch:

ANZAC Day Clashes are Always a Spectacle

ANZAC Day games are always exciting to watch. They’re one of, if not the biggest matches outside of the Finals Series. This year it sees two teams sitting at three and two who are both coming off huge wins going head to head in an all important game for both sides. Essendon would desperately love to win this game, after a very poor start to the season that started with losses GWS and St. Kilda before recovering with a gritty win against the Demons, before dispatching Brisbane and North with ease. More than 80,000 people will pack the MCG to watch a bit of a David and Goliath battle, Essendon desperate to defeat a Collingwood side that looks elite early in the season.


Firing Forward Lines

Essendon are currently the number two team in the comp for scoring in 2019, Collingwood are very close behind in third, scoring 463 and 452 points so far respectively. Some quality forward line players will be on display too, with Joe Daniher, Jordan De Goey, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Jamie Elliot, Orazio Fantasia, Jaidyn Stephenson and Jake Stringer all likely to line up. With all this in mind we’ll expect a big bag of goals to be kicked, and hopefully we’ll have a high scoring, free flowing contest to enjoy.


Are the Pies midfielders just too good?

Treloar, Adams, Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Beams and Grundy to cap it all off. Collingwood has a very, very strong contender for the number one midfield in the competition. Essendon however, also have a strong contingent in Merrett, Heppell and Shiel. Although all quality competitors, Essendon will need a lift from many more of its mid-tier players if it is going to match the might of the Pies midfield. Collingwood look set to win the midfield battle and therefore the clearances, meaning the Essendon defenders will need to be at the top of the game.


Collingwood dominate the ANZAC Day stage.

Over the last nine ANZAC Day encounters the Bombers have won just two matches, the most recent of those being in 2017, so the drought isn’t long, but the consistency isn’t there when competing against the Pies in the long run. The big question will be if Essendon can pull off a win against the odds at the MCG, although it is a Bombers home game, there will be plenty of supporters dressed up in black and white.


Bomber’s ‘Mosquito Fleet’ may provide answers

Essendon has often been praised for its quality small players, particularly forwards. The Magpies have many versatile big men in play, Grundy and Cox are the first two to come to mind. But the extra speed that the Essendon smalls will offer on and around the ball may just prove an extra edge. Not only are they quick, but they’re also exciting to watch, the likes of Stringer, Fantasia, Saad and McDonald-Tipungwuti are all electric with ball in hand, and will provide plenty of run and carry for the Dons on Thursday afternoon. If the smalls can fire, the Bombers might just pull this off.


Prediction:

It’s one of the year’s most looked forward to games, and it’s a chance to watch a game of football on a very important day for us all. There’s always plenty of ANZAC spirit alive this time of year, and we hope to see another great tussle on the field Thursday afternoon. Having said that, Collingwood are a genuine Premiership threat and continue to look hungry, so I’ll go the Magpies to win back to back ANZAC Day’s.

Collingwood by 17 Points


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