Essendon Bombers Season Preview, Pre-Season, Analysis, Predicted Round 1 Team, Ranking Position, Strength, Weakness, Breaking News

New manager, new captain, new chief executive, new president – new fortunes at Essendon?

That’s what impatient Bombers fans will be hoping for this year after a tumultuous 2022 campaign that saw mass changes on and off the pitch.

David Barham succeeded Paul Brasher as club president in August last year, declaring that day a “line in the sand” for the club.

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Since Barham’s appointment and subsequent launch of a football rating, manager Ben Rutten has been sacked and Brad Scott appointed, while Xavier Campbell resigned and was replaced by Andrew Thorburn, who was replaced by Craig Vozzo. There were also several board changes.

Earlier this month, veteran Dyson Heppell stepped down as captain for 2023 after six seasons, with three-time club champion, two-time All-Australian and longtime vice-captain Zach Merrett replacing him.

Merrett outlines Bombers plans for 2023 | 02:02

For a big Victorian club still chasing their first finals win since 2004, that means a lot of changes in all the big key positions in a short space of time.

“They are a great club, they will always be a great club – but they haven’t been a great club for a long time,” said three-time Premier League forward Cameron Mooney

“They have a new and veteran coach, but it has to be said that their culture of willingness to work for each other is questionable.”

For Mooney, his biggest Bombers question revolves around the appeal to make Merrett captain.

“When you hear reports that a player has come back unchallenged, little things like that lead to bad cultures,” he said.

“They have a new captain and he grew up as a sidekick with these guys. But Essendon needs a captain willing not to be your mate. Joel Selwood was your buddy, but he was also willing to rip your head off if he felt things weren’t being done right.”

“So, if the reports are correct, is Zach Merrett able to tell Jake Stringer how disappointed he is?”

The Bombers lost Michael Hurley and Devon Smith to retirement in the offseason while Aaron Francis was traded to the Swans. But they gave on-baller Will Setterfield and key forward Sam Weideman lifelines before charging at the draft and picking Elijah Tsatas (pick 5), Lewis Hayes (pick 25), Alwyn Davey Jnr (pick 45) and Jayden Davey (pick 54) .

Heppell resigns as captain of Essendon | 01:01

That means Essendon enter the 2023 season with the third youngest and fourth oldest roster in the competition. But it’s rankings that don’t faze Merrett.

“Although it’s just a number, age, experience and games played usually determine where you end up on the ladder,” Merrett said David Zita earlier this month.

“We’re quite young, we’ve got a young group, we need a lot of coaching at the moment, but we’re also not going to put any limits on what could happen or how quickly it could happen.

“All I know is that we finished 14th last year and the other 17 teams don’t want to fall behind. The expectation is we just have to be a lot more consistent with our defense…it has to get better, it has to get better for us to compete.


ball movement. While the Bombers dropped a lot of points last year, when they came out their ability in the transition was stunning. Between rounds 14 and 20 last year, they were the team with the most points in the league, finishing first for defensive 50 to inside 50 percent and points from stoppages. That ball movement no doubt helped star key striker Peter Wright who had a successful year, winning the club’s best and fairest after scoring a career-high 53 goals in 22 games. Whether the Bombers are ready to move the ball at the same pace this year under a new coach in Scott remains to be seen. But the stylistic and personal bases to pull it off again are there.

Mason Redman of the Bombers. Image: Matt RobertsSource: Getty Images


team defence. Well, it was certainly last year. Under Rutten, they ranked 16th for points conceded and opponent’s score per inside 50, and 17th for opposing defensive 50 to 50 percent and opposition points from the defensive half. The Bombers’ lack of defensive standards and accountability around the ball has been consistently criticized by pundits over the past year. said Mooney He had concerns about whether the Bombers’ midfield brigade would be “ready to defend and run either way”, while also questioning whether the defensive line could gel. But last week there were promising signs against Gold Coast, with the Bombers appearing more organized in midfield.


17 o’clock: An unlikely rise to the final for Essendon in 2021 was followed by a dramatic descent down the ladder in 2022, making it difficult for Bombers fans and pundits to get an accurate picture of where the club ranks. Barham last year claimed the Bombers roster was in good shape – some would agree, some would not. But if Scott can implement the right system for this group, the Bombers are poised to return to the top 8 for the next few seasons.




B: Jordan Ridley, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Jayden Laverde

HB: Andy McGrath, Jake Kelly, Mason Redman

C: Nic Martin, Zach Merrett, Will Setterfield

HF: Archie Perkins, Sam Weideman, Matt Guelfi

Q: Jake Stringer, Peter Wright, Kyle Langford

EPISODE: Sam Draper, Dylan Shiel, Darcy Parish

I/C: Jye Caldwell, Harrison Jones, Sam Durham, Jye Menzie Essendon Bombers Season Preview, Pre-Season, Analysis, Predicted Round 1 Team, Ranking Position, Strength, Weakness, Breaking News

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