Squad Breakdown: Essendon Bombers SC roster analysis

We take an in-depth look at the Essendon Bombers SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2022 AFL season.

AFL Pre Season Squad Breakdown

It’s been some 6,350 odd days since Essendon won a final, but I think this is the year it happens which is disappointing for that Facebook page. 

The Bombers showed some great improvement last season to finish 8th, before being eliminated by the runners-up in the Bulldogs come September. 

A new coach in Ben Rutten brought a new game plan and brought out the best in some players, particularly Darcy Parish which helped them push up the ladder. 

The big concern was their record against sides above them last season. However, with a relatively young list and a good free agency trade addition, I can’t see why they won’t improve again, unless injury strikes key players.

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Roster changes

The Bombers seemed to back in their current crop of players at the trade table with only the one signing in free agent Jake Kelly from Adelaide to bolster their defence. 

All Supercoach fans will be watching the pre-season games closely to see if that addition frees up Jordan Ridley to play his intercept role in which he scores so well with. Watch this space! 

The Bombers were busy in the National Draft by adding Ben Hobbs, Alastair Lord, Garrett McDonagh, as well as Patrick Voss from the rookie draft. 

The only notable omission is Cale Hooker retiring. In what would feel like a new signing, Michael Hurley is back in training, but he still has a long road ahead of him to overcome that hip infection which has almost ruined his career. 

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B: Mason Redman, Jayden Laverde, James Stewart
HB: Dyson Heppell, Jordan Ridley, Nick Hind
C: Nik Cox, Zach Merrett, Kyle Langford
HF: Jake Stringer, Harrison Jones, Archie Perkins 
F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Peter Wright, Devon Smith
Foll: Sam Draper, Darcy Parish, Andrew McGrath
I/C: Dylan Shiel, Jake Kelly, Jye Caldwell, Will Snelling

Emerg: Matt Guelfi, Sam Durham, Zach Reid, Aaron Francis

Injury concerns: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Zach Reid, Archie Perkins, Jake Stringer, Harry Jones

Draftees: Benjamin Hobbs (Pick 13), Alastair Lord (Pick 46), Garrett McDonagh (Pick 50)

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Zach Merrett // $625,700 // Midfielder

The always consistent Merrett was in 9 of the final top 10 Supercoach teams last season, and with good reason. 

He only had four scores below 100 and a 168 to his name against the Swans at the MCG. 

He has shown he can now break a tag and continue scoring well even with attention. The only query is that he is probably priced at his peak, but you know what you are getting, and more sides are likely to focus their attention on Parish.

Jordan Ridley // $537,100 // Defender

Will Jake Kelly free Ridley from playing a lockdown role? That’s the big question.

If he does and Ridley is also taking kick outs lock him in with complete confidence. 

He’s a proven reliable high scorer playing that role and it won him the Bombers B&F in 2020. 

We just need to see how they set up their defence in some pre-season matches.

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Bargain Bin Buys

Jye Caldwell // $266,700 // Midfielder

They really seem to rate this guy down at the Hanger.

He was given an opportunity in the middle the first two games before injury wiped out his season. 

I think they’ll start him there again, it comes down to whether you trust his body to put 6+ games together to make serious cash from him. 

Repeat hamstring injuries last year are a major deterrent, but the right role could be there.

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Ben Hobbs // $153,300 // Midfielder

A new recruit who from all reports has impressed in pre-season training. 

A ball winner who tackles and can kick a goal is Supercoach gold, and that’s what this guy can bring. 

The obvious question marks are if he gets enough opportunity and midfield time. 

Plus, can you afford another high price rookie when we have Horne-Francis, Daicos, Ward, etc. to try and fit in? 

Probably not unless he completely blitzes it in the practice matches. Add him to your watchlist.

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Darcy Parish // $621,300 // Midfielder

I could be way off here, but he needs to prove he can break a tag before he gets in my side. 

Priced at his peak, he could easily get a low score at some point of the season, and you get him much cheaper. 

I do believe more teams will focus on him over Merrett which makes starting him a risk.

What a breakout season though last year winning three individual medals and finishing second in the club B&F. 

He will be on my upgrade target list; I just don’t endorse starting him especially when we have much more reliable players at that top end price point such as Steele, Macrae, Miller, Oliver etc.

Dylan Shiel // $361,100 // Midfielder

From all reports he is having a very good pre-season, but don’t get sucked in. 

He is injury prone, and his price point makes him hard to trade out to someone else when injury strikes. 

Plus, I question if he’s absolutely nailed on for best 22 these days. There should be some healthy competition for spots in the Bombers camp which will only help them improve.

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