ESSENDON V HAWTHORN
MCG – SATURDAY 7:25 PMAEDT
PAST 3 GAMES
R12, 2016, Hawthorn 23.13 (151) d Essendon 6.7 (43) at Etihad Stadium
R13, 2015, Hawthorn 16.14 (114) d Essendon 11.10 (76) at the MCG
R2, 2015, Essendon 12.6 (78) d Hawthorn 11.10 (76) at the MCG
LAST TIME THEY MET
The Bombers are likely to welcome back six suspended Essendon Players Saturday night, with former skipper Jobe Watson to make his long awaited return. He is expected to be joined by newly appointed captain Dyson Heppell, Brent Stanton, Michael Hurley, Travis Colyer and Cale Hooker.
In a blow to the Bombers big man stocks ruckman Matthew Leuenberger injured his hamstring in the final game of the JLT series against the Cats and will not be available until at least round 4.
Fellow ruckman Tom Bellchambers is close to be available after having final test on his knee, but is unlikely to be named for round 1. Leaving Shaun McKernan to carry the load for Bombers in the ruck.
The Bombers prized No.1 draft pick Andrew McGrath is expected to debut for the club, with John Worsfold all but confirming his debut, saying he was “close” to playing.
New recruit and former Brisbane Lions forward Josh Green is a chance of being included in Worsfold 22, but is likely to spend another week in the VFL.
Tom Bellchambers – Knee (Rounds 2-3)
Jayden Laverde – Ankle (Rounds 12-14)
Matthew Leuenberger – Hamstring (Rounds 4-6)
David Myers – Finger (Rounds 5-7)
Jordan Ridley – Back (Rounds 12-14)
PREDICTED TEAM FOR ROUND 1
B: Mark Baguley, Michael Hartley, Patrick Ambrose
HB: Andrew McGrath, Michael Hurley, Brendon Goddard
C: David Zaharakis, Dyson Heppell, Brent Stanton
HF: Darcy Parish, Cale Hooker, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
F: Orazio Fantasia, Joe Daniher, Travis Colyer
FOLL: Shaun McKernan, Jobe Watson, Zach Merrett
I/C: Kyle Langford, Martin Gleeson, Heath Hocking, James Kelly
EMG: Jayden Laverde, Mitch Brown, Josh Green