Bombers veterans in scrap for spots

Bombers veterans in scrap for spots

Dyson Heppell and Todd Goldstein are “fully available” but Essendon coach Brad Scott is yet to decide whether there’s room for the veteran duo against Melbourne this week.

Both players were rested from Friday night’s emphatic victory over Collingwood, with replacements Jake Kelly and Nate Caddy performing strongly in their absence.

Scott maintained he was still open to selecting two specialist rucks on Saturday night despite the cohesive performance of his smaller side.

But the coach warned that thinking the Bombers could exploit Melbourne in the ruck without captain Max Gawn was “a huge mistake in elite sport”.

“I suspect if Gawn was playing, we’d look a lot (more strongly) at playing the two rucks, just because of the dominance Max has had across the competition,” Scott said.

“All players are capable, whether it’s (Tom) Fullarton, whether it’s someone else who comes in to ruck for Melbourne – they’ll be capable players.

“We’d be taking some liberties if we thought we were just going to be given an opportunity in the ruck to exploit Melbourne’s perceived weakness there.”

Heppell, who celebrated his 250th game in round 16, has been a strong contributor with an average of 21 disposals and six marks across his 15 games but is no guarantee to return to the starting 22 against the Demons.

“They’re fine – they’ll train fully today and they’re available,” Scott said of Heppell and Goldstein.

“We’ve got some good challenges – our VFL had a good win, and we had a lot of good performances at that level. We’ll just continue to monitor our list and take a horses for courses approach to selection.

“We’re in a fortunate position where we’ve got Goldy and Hep both back and available – that creates a bit of a squeeze for us, but that’s a good problem.”

Scott said Caddy and fellow inclusion Dylan Shiel would play again on Saturday night as he praised the latter’s unwavering belief he could overcome a debilitating long-term foot injury.

Shiel worked his way into the Magpies clash to rack up 19 disposals in the second half, providing important midfield support for Zach Merrett, Jye Caldwell and Sam Durham.

“He performed like we thought he would. It might seem like we had lofty expectations, given he had such a long period out,” Scott said.

“Watching these guys, not just Dylan but a lot of these All-Australian level, top-line players, they all have similar characteristics in terms of ultimate belief in their own ability.

“They also have a belief that if they prepare well enough over a long period of time, that they’ll prevail.

“But I’m also aware that we’re dealing with humans here, and self-doubt is a natural part of everyone’s make-up. I’m sure that crept in at some stage, but he certainly didn’t show that outwardly, and that’s a credit to him.”

  • https://www.msn.com/en-au/sport/other/bombers-veterans-in-scrap-for-spots/ar-BB1pItis?ocid=00000000

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