Essendon suffered their third loss by under a goal this season last week, but have an opportunity to get back on the winners list when they host the Dockers at Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon. We’ve got you covered with tips and preview for the opening game on Sunday afternoon.
AFL Essendon vs Fremantle Betting Tips
Marvel Stadium, Sunday 16th May, 1:10pm AEST
A late charge from the Bombers fell short last week against the Giants, but once again their young core showed plenty of promise that would have Ben Rutten impressed by their ability to compete against quality teams. Whilst Fremantle once again struggled to compete against the better teams in the comp, in their loss to Brisbane last week.
It’s great news on the selection front for the Dockers with Luke Ryan and Adam Cerra set to return from injury. Whilst Essendon will be without Jake Stringer who suffered a hamstring injury last week, with Matt Guelfi set to be his replacement after an impressive performance as the sub against the Giants.
This game looms as an interesting prospect, the Dockers have been a much better side than the Bombers across the last eighteen months and feature more established talent, but their inability to win at Marvel Stadium raises some big questions. The Dockers have lost seven of their last eight games at Marvel Stadium, have won just one out of thirteen games against Essendon the venue.
Fremantle’s key factor in this clash is their big bodied midfielders. At 35 years of age, David Mundy is having arguably a career best season averaging 26 disposals a game. Whilst Nat Fyfe continues to be one of the best players in the comp despite spending less time in the middle, averaging 26 disposals per game. Whilst the likes of Zac Merrett and Darcy Parish are having excellent seasons, with Jake Stringer out of the side, the Bombers don’t have the size through the midfield to contain Fyfe and Mundy.
The Dockers height up forward will give Essendon plenty of headaches up forward with Rory Lobb having a nine centimetre height advantage on his likely opponent James Stewart, whilst Aaron Francis is giving away six centimetres in his matchup against Matt Taberner. Essendon’s inexperienced backline has struggled against key forwards in the last two weeks, so if Fremantle can give their forwards one on one opportunities, they’ll be able to kick a winning score.
The concerns about the Dockers inability to win in Victoria is warranted, however if the Dockers are serious about playing finals, this is a must win. They’ve got the Bombers covered for experience and talent, they shouldn’t have any issues winning this game. Fremantle are at remarkably good value in this clash.
Fremantle H2H (1.5 Units)
After a slow start to the season Kyle Langford has hit some solid form across the last month, averaging 21 disposals per game. With Jake Stringer out for the next month, Langford will be given more of an opportunity at centre bounces, particularly given how tall Fremantle’s midfield is. Langford has produced disposal returns of 27, 21, 19 and 20 over the past four weeks, and with more time in the middle, those numbers will likely go up further.
Langford showed last season he can be a crucial player for the Bombers through the midfield, and after being stuck at half forward for the majority of the season so far, he gets his chance. His big body allows him to win the ball on both the inside and the outside, and should be set for a big game on Sunday.
Despite the loss last week, Rory Lobb was a shining light for the Dockers with 17 disposals, 8 marks and 1 goal. Lobb has been slowly building since his return from injury, and against a young Essendon defence, he has a great opportunity to put together a big performance. Lobb was influential when these two sides faced off last year, with 15 disposals, 7 marks and 2 goals.
Lobb’s height and athleticism troubled the Bombers last year and it looks likely to happen again with Lobb holding a nine centimetre advantage over likely opponent James Stewart, who is only in his second game as a permanent defender. Essendon have conceded scores of 107, 123 and 102 in the last month and this game looks primed for Rory Lobb.