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Eagles or Bombers? It’s a lottery

Yet again, Essendon enter a match with the drugs scandal that has bubbled along all season threatening to boil over, thanks to captain Jobe Watson admitting this week he took a banned substance last year with the backing of Bombers officials.

But it’s hard to suggest the resultant furore will put Essendon off their game, given the way it seems to have galvanised them previously this season.

A bigger worry might be that the only Essendon player old enough to have been around when the Bombers last beat West Coast in Perth – in 2001 – is Dustin Fletcher, with the Eagles having handed Essendon eight Subiaco beatings since.

Essendon might also be wary about coming off the bye, given the shock defeats sustained by Geelong and Sydney when they were in that situation last round.

The  10th-placed Eagles looked to be finding some form despite losing to Hawthorn last Friday night, with ruckman Nic Naitanui superb and their midfield finding touch.

Essendon have brought in ruckman Tom Bellchambers for newcomer Joe Daniher and lost Heath Hocking to a calf injury, while the injury-plagued Eagles have lost Shannon Hurn (ankle) and Scott Selwood (thumb) among four changes.

The Eagles had only one forward – Josh Kennedy – have a notable impact against the Hawks and their defence leaked goals with alarming ease, which might again be a concern against an Essendon attack containing dangerous trio Stewart Crameri, Joe Daniher and Michael Hurley.




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