Finals-focused Bombers wary of a Metricon trap
ESSENDON is well aware its AFL match today against cellar-dweller Gold Coast will be a test of patience.
The Bombers head to Metricon Stadium having surged into the top eight on the back of four straight wins.
Their opponents are rock bottom and on a 13-game losing streak where they’ve been conceding an average of 104 points a game.
It is a mismatch on form and performance, but after Carlton were made to battle to a 24-point win over the Suns last weekend, the Bombers are expecting a similar fight from the hosts today.
“We want to put some pressure on them early and hopefully hit the scoreboard,” Bombers assistant coach Ben Rutten said.
“I think it was Carlton’s last quarter where they started to push away and that’s kind of happened a little bit with them, so we’re not expecting to be blowing them out in the first quarter, that’s for sure.
“If it takes ’til the last quarter to crack them, then that’s what we’ll do. We’ve just got to stick to our task.”
The Bombers are without Conor McKenna while he attends his brother’s wedding in Ireland and Dyson Heppell is injured.
Rutten said one inclusion, Zac Clarke, would have a big role limiting the influence of Suns ruckman Jarrod Witts.
“The ruck battle is the one that’s obviously important for the game and they’ve sort of built their game around that,” Rutten said.
“Witts is a huge man and we’ve brought Zac Clarke back into the team. We’re not necessarily expecting him to get up and over the top of it, but if he can ... make the hitout less of an advantage for them (that) is what we’re after.”