Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin is preparing to bring back Steven May, Tom McDonald and Jack Viney for the final round of the season.
With the Demons looking to secure the minor premiership, May was rested from Sunday’s win over Adelaide due to battling soreness but he will be fine to return.
Goodwin said the decision to rest May was not to do with uncertainty around whether there will be a pre-finals bye or not but based in May being sore.
“He [May] will be playing next week,” Goodwin said.
“We’re really confident Tom McDonald will be playing next week, and obviously Jack Viney can come back into the team so we’ve got three guys there that obviously didn’t played today that’ll be available next week.”
Goodwin said he was expecting the Demons clash with Geelong would be either on Saturday or Saturday night while he hopes the AFL could give teams some clarity on whether there would be a pre-finals bye or not.
But he said his side would go where they needed to go, play when they needed to play and only rest players who have injury concerns.
“We’ve made it pretty clear, the way that we’ll manage our group and that’s pretty much what we did today,” Goodwin said.
“If anyone is sore or hasn’t recovered, then they won’t play but you won’t see mass changes from us, we will be pretty consistent how we line up.”
Essendon’s charge toward finals has continued, after the Bombers demolished the Gold Coast Suns at GMHBA Stadium by 68 points to install themselves in eighth spot, pending the West Coast Eagles’ clash with Fremantle.
Frankly, they deserve to stay there. The Bombers have been playing with far more daring and desire than the Eagles of late, and while they may be a way off the pace on points, they shape as a finals wildcard. Essendon face Collingwood next week. The Eagles play the reinvigorated Lions.
The obvious rejoinder is the Bombers are not ready for a genuine tilt. But there’s a genuine excitement about the way they attack the game, exemplified by the reborn Jake Stringer, who was again the most electrifying player on the ground.
While the Tokyo Olympics succeeded in captivating global eyeballs without meaningful crowds in the stands, that eerie scenario is not realistic for the AFL grand final.
The players want crowds in the finals. The clubs want crowds and, while there are contractual obligations they must grapple with, the AFL hierarchy clearly wants substantial crowds for finals, as AFL chairman Richard Goyder indicated on Saturday.
“The clubs and players want to play in front of crowds,” Goyder, who is based in Perth, told ABC radio, on the subject of the forthcoming finals.
“I had a conversation with Patrick Dangerfield earlier in the week on racism and other things and he said to me: ‘Richard, we want to play in front of crowds’.”
A top-two spot doesn’t quite have the same gloss in these pandemic times. Teams may “host” a qualifying final in name only. But while they cannot yet know what the finals will look like, Melbourne fans can at least know this: their team is one win away from a first minor premiership in 57 years.
A win in Geelong next weekend would secure the Dees top spot at the end of the home-and-away season, a feat the club last achieved in 1964. And the faithful barely need reminding how that season ended.
On a heartbreakingly beautiful mid-August Sunday afternoon at the MCG – the type of day that in normal times would serve as a portent of bustling finals days and nights – the Dees ensured that lightning (this time of the metaphorical kind) would not strike twice for them this season, shrugging off a valiant and rebuilding Adelaide outfit, the same side that had inflicted upon Simon Goodwin’s men their first loss of the season back in round 10.
Essendon has done all they can to keep their top-eight hopes alive heading into the final round with a 68-point win over the Gold Coast Suns at Geelong today.
The Bombers already had a healthy percentage and that only grew in this contest that was tied at quarter-time but then became one-sided fast.
Now the Bombers will hope other results will go their way.
Bombers forward Jake Stringer kicked five goals and made it clear his young side wanted a chance at playing in the finals.
“There is a lot to play out over the next couple of weeks but the way this young group just turned up and got the job done – I’m real proud of the boys,” Stringer told Channel Seven.
“We have a few players coming back in the next couple of weeks too but all we can do is keep rocking up and hopefully we can sneak in there at the last [minute].”
Brayden Fiorini and Touk Miller both had 30 possessions for the Suns.
I do like the look of Joel Jeffrey, the second-gamer for the Suns who has pulled in some big marks today.
He just took a mark over the top of the Essendon defence, sadly he couldn’t kick the goal but he looks like someone they can find a place for.
Bombers lead 98-30 with a minute to go.
Jacob Townsend has come up with a goal for the Suns to end a prolonged period, over 45 minutes, without a major.
There are still 10 minutes left for the Suns to try and find a few more goals or for Essendon to further boost their percentage.
Bombers lead 97-30 with 10 mins to go.
The Suns have lost Sean Lemmens who took a knock to his legs while former Adelaide Crows midfielder Rory Atkins has come on after starting as the medical substitute.
The Suns haven’t kicked a goal for over 40 minutes.
Bombers lead 96-24 with 13 minutes to go.