Photo: Eleanor Jeanne Photography

Jedd Busslinger
21 disposals, seven marks

“It was probably Jedd’s best game that I’ve seen him play since I’ve been here this year, and speaking to the other coaches probably the best game he's played for the club which is really pleasing. We've been working on a lot of the contested stuff, and just being free when he jumps and goes at the ball and his opponent a bit. I don't think he got out-marked - he was able to halve or win most contests and then have a bit of the ball on the offensive side too. He seemed pretty happy with this game so I’m rapt.


Rory Lobb
Eight disposals, six marks, 10 hit-outs, one goal

Lobby started really well. He ended up tweaking his ankle so finished the game a little bit early in the third but seems to have come through fine. He had some real presence down forward – it’s always nice having a big target like that to kick to, and then for the smaller forwards to be able to work off his positioning. He’s been playing some pretty good footy at the moment.

Charlie Clarke
12 disposals, six marks, five tackles, one goal

Charlie was good. He was probably a similar case to Arty Jones and Lachie McNeil who had their chances – I think Arty kicked a couple in the end – but Charlie probably should’ve kicked three in the end. There were just some opportunities that we probably wasted a little bit, but his pressure around the ball was good and his pattern stuff he's getting more confident with as a small forward. He just brings a lot of energy – it’s always good to have a player like that in the team. 

Jordan Croft
12 disposals, four marks, four clearances

Crofty was good in his second game for the club. He’s still on restricted minutes, obviously with a limited pre-season and a bit of an interrupted last month or two, but he was good. He played as a defender for the first half and then we swung him forward and in the ruck, and he competed really well. He ended up having three shots at goal which we'll do some work on because it’s not something that he's focused on over the pre-season. Getting that confidence and realising that he can compete at the level I think is the biggest thing for Jordan, and putting games together is great.

James Harmes
34 disposals, six marks, six clearances, one goal

James was really impressive. Him and Riley Garcia led the midfield stuff and the contested ball. He's a great offensive runner, really gets out of the stoppage quickly – he probably gave away a couple of goals as well to his teammates which is nice to see, but it was just a huge game from Harmesy that puts himself right into the selection frame. 

Caleb Poulter
22 disposals, 10 marks, two tackles

Caleb played on the wing for majority of the day. He probably hasn't had some continuity in his footy - he played against Gold Coast, played as a sub and then got dropped so he probably has only played a solid game in a month. He used the ball really well by foot, probably squandered some opportunities in front of goal but he was pleasing. His field kicking was elite on the day. and he really set us up with his offensive use of the ball.


Dom Bedendo
14 disposals, three marks, one goal

Similar to the other forwards, I suppose there were some opportunities there which Dommy could have probably capitalised on a little bit more but he looks lively when he flies into the contest. It’s just about getting that consistency, getting to as many contests as he can, winning or halving them and then being lively when the ball hits the ground. He’s showing some good signs. 

Joel Freijah
20 disposals, five marks, three tackles

Defensively he’s playing that more mid-pillar defender, so getting exposed to a few more aerial contests and those types of things and he's getting better. There's improvement every week with him – he’s really receptive to what we're trying to do during the week. The offensive side of the game comes really naturally to him as a winger and half-forward growing up. He’s a great user and we're just continuing to work on the defensive side and getting that balance right.

Anthony Scott
Five disposals, one mark

Scotty did his ankle early in the in the first and it blew up pretty quickly, so he was he was pretty much out of the game by quarter-time which was disappointing for him. Hopefully he doesn't miss this week, but if he does it should only be one week before he’s back. 

Lachie McNeil
17 disposals, four marks, three tackles, one goal

Lachie was good. He probably got into the game in the second-half a little bit more, but again similar story to Arty and Charlie - there were probably three opportunities he’d like back in front of goal, just with live play and whether he could have used different options instead or just finished his work which would’ve been more pleasing. But he’s definitely continuing to get back to the sort of form that we saw in pre-season. Confidence is a big thing for him so he’ll just continue to build on those things and string games together with consistency.

Arthur Jones
Eight disposals, two marks, three goals

It was great to see Arty get on the scoreboard to kick three. He was probably in and out of the game a little bit in terms of momentum swings for him, so that's probably his biggest challenge - just staying in the game for longer periods of time. The source pressure side of things is what’s creating his opportunities - staying involved in the contest when the ball hits the ground. To finish with three goals is really pleasing so if he can build on that and get the defensive side right, he’ll see rewards on the scoreboard.

Caleb Daniel
26 disposals, four marks, three tackles

It’s great to have Caleb and it was a pleasure for me to coach him down in the back-half. He wouldn't have played there (at VFL) for a long time, but to come back, he had a great attitude. The way he went about it – he was really invested in the younger guys and wanted to help them, build their games. His direction out there was awesome. It probably took him a little bit of time to adjust to the VFL – it’s quite a different speed to AFL and isn’t as predictable – but his second-half was really good. He got on the receiving end of a lot of ball as well and was really important to our ball movement, in terms of changing the angles and unlocking us in his defence really.


Luke Cleary
18 disposals, eight marks

Clizz is continually getting back to the form he's had previously, in terms of being really hard defensively to play on, and then getting involved with possession game stuff and using his legs. He's a really good ball user when he does the simple things really well – when he takes the first option. It’s pleasing to see Clizz just put some consistent games together.

Riley Garcia
35 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, five clearances, one goal

Riley was impressive. As I said before with James Harmes, they really set the tone in there and the two of them together dominated that midfield. Essendon have a pretty good ruckman and we were probably limited in that space with a couple of guys rolling through who probably haven't played that much of that position but Riley was impressive to get on the scoreboard as well. The offensive side of his game was good and again similar to Harmes really puts himself in that frame for selection, which is great to see.

Alex Keath
18 disposals, nine marks

Chief was good down back. He's always pretty solid and wins or halves most of the contests that he goes into. It’s just continuing to get involved in terms of the offensive side of the game as well. I’m big on all the defenders back there having a say in what our ball movement is doing and getting on the end of it, but it's pleasing that he commands the guys back there. He's obviously really experienced in what he does, but that's the way he plays. Other guys feed off that which is awesome to see.

Ryan Gardner
11 disposals, two marks, four tackles, 16 hit-outs

It was probably a different one for Gardy playing ruck, with Lobby obviously doing his ankle reasonably early and Lachie Smith not being available this week as well. For Gardy it was a great opportunity to get him back in his first game for a little while after his layoff with his foot, and he embraced (the new role). He loved the opportunity and the challenge to play ruck and a little bit forward as well. His attitude was unbelievable - he embraced the challenge really well and I thought the guys fed off that a lot. It’s good to see he got through unscathed and felt really good about it.”