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Essendon Bombers v St Kilda Predictions and Match Preview - Bombers to keep alive faint finals hopes

Adam Cusworth 8 Aug 2018
  • Essendon take on St Kilda in the opening game of AFL Round 21. Here is our preview of the Friday night clash

 Friday night AFL action sees the Essendon Bombers take on St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. 

The Round 21 clash pits 11th up against 15th and it is the Dons that head in as favourites. First bounce is at 7.50PM and Channel 7 and Fox Footy will broadcast the game. 

Match Preview


Essendon were dealt a massive blow in their quest for a finals position last weekend after going down to their old rivals, Hawthorn, by four points. That loss meant they finished the round in 11th position and two games out of the eight with just three rounds to play. 

The Bombers can keep their faint finals hopes alive with a win over St Kilda, who were disappointing in their 35 point loss to the Western Bulldogs in Round 20. 

The Saints faded out badly in that contest sit in spot on the ladder and have lost their past three games. They have won just four games this season, while Essendon have won 10, including six of their past eight. 

Both sides play a similar style of football and like to share the ball around with uncontested possession before launching into their forward line with pacy players. They rank in the top three for uncontested possessions. Essendon are the superior clearance and tacking side, while the Dons have averaged 22 points more that the Saints in 2018. 

Devon Smith, Anthony McDonald Tipungwuti and Jake Stringer were among some of the Bombers players that troubled Hawthorn with their run and skill last weekend, while Zac Merrett and Dyson Heppell loom as other keys for the red and black. Merrett picked up 41 possessions against the Hawks. 

St Kilda will need big contributions from Sebastian Ross and Jack Steven. That duo rank in the top 25 in the competition for total disposals, while it will be interesting to see how Jake Carlisle goes against his former side. 

The former Bomber has been in solid form in the backline for the Saints and left his former side in controversial fashion in the midst of the ongoing supplements saga. 

Team News


Essendon are unlikely to make too many changes to their lineup. Jake Stringer should be ok to go despite hurting his ankle in the Hawks loss. Matt Guelfi and Matt Dea were late withdrawals last weekend and face fitness tests. St Kilda is likely to be without Tom Hickey (hamstring) and Josh Battle (concussion). 

Stats


The two sides have not faced each other since Round 17 in 2017 and on that occasion it was Essendon by 61 points. Zach Merrett and David Zaharakis starred for the winners, while Jack Steven was St Kilda's best. 

St Kilda won the three games prior to that between the two sides but have generally struggled at Etihad Stadium in 2018, winning just two of nine. Essendon have won five of seven at the venue this year. 

Prediction and Tips


Essendon will be too strong and can keep their very faint finals hopes alive. 


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Essendon Bombers v St Kilda Predictions and Match Preview - Bombers to keep alive faint finals hopes

Essendon take on St Kilda in the opening game of AFL Round 21. Here is our preview of the Friday night clash

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