Bombers Pre-Season DT Preview

The juices are beginning to flow and the body is beginning to tingle…that can only mean one thing! (well one of two things) the family friendly option being…it’s nearly DT time again!

Whilst regular folk are out enjoying the sunshine or frolicking on the beach this summer a small percentage of us are sitting in darkened rooms like twisted freaks…… err geniuses, pouring over stats and figures for next year’s DT. While we plough through the jungles that are the AFL player lists, macheting away the dead wood it’s usually handy to see some form of insider knowledge about another club from one of their fanatical fans. After reading the excellent efforts on Freo and the Giants late last year I thought I’d run the tape over Essendon. It’s only my own humble opinions but I see enough of Essendon play to have formed some kind of semi educated opinion, anyhow;

Here are the groups that could warrant attention;

Premium DT’ers.

Jobe Watson

Jobe had a cracking start to last year leading the Brownlow until injury halted his season. We all know how good he can be as a DTer and as a player it’s just the durability that is in question. Previously the other worry was he would be the only player tagged in the bomber midfield but I think there are more options developing there that will lessen the load on him. Averaged 99.5 Last year after 95 the year before. If he keeps fit I think he can bump it into the 110s

Brent Stanton

A whipping boy for some moron bomber fans Stanton has also frustrated many a Dt’er in his time. He plays the ultimate DT game! He runs all day even when others are stuffed, he hooks around the back of every contest to get the cheap kicks and is always the link man. If this season transpires like every other he will start the year with some massive scores and look almost must have…. Until he cops a few tags and goes into his shell. He will have a poorish middle season then come home with a rush after being moved to half back. He averaged 105.8 last year after 99.5 the year before. I’d imagine he would stay around the 100-110 mark. He has the tools but will you be on for the ride?

Fool’s gold.

Patrick Ryder

Don’t be fooled, Paddys laconic nature doesn’t mean he doesn’t care, it just means he’s not a DT’er. OK let me clarify, he can be a DT’er, but only if David Hille and Tom Bellchambers go down forcing him to ruck all year ala a few years back. But with the ruck situation so competitive at bomberland we can’t be sure where Paddy will play hence the roller coaster scores. If Hille and T-bell get injured…get on without hesitation otherwise no thanks. Averaged a tick under 80 last year, not good enough for a player of his skill and potential.

Michael Hurley

For all the hype about this guy ….and I’m the leader of his bandwagon, I just don’t think he will ever make a decent Dt’er. His great attributes to our team are aggression, body work, bringing the ball down for crumbers and good defensive punches when required. These all add exactly zero to your DT score. Don’t get me wrong, he will have games where he scores 100+ and rips itapart but I don’t think they will be frequent enough…I’ll be happily proven wrong though. All three seasons thus far have been in the high 60’s average.

Leroy Jetta

We have been told year after year that Jetta has got himself fit, and he is ready for the midfield, every year he screams breakout but every year the same thing happens, he ends up just drifting in and out of games with the odd flash of brilliance. He doesn’t stick enough tackles and honestly doesn’t work hard enough to be in the midfield. If you are picking him on the hope he turns into a consistent midfielder I’d think again. Averaged 68 last year down on 73 the year before. That’s crossroads material.


David Zaharakis

Ok he probably already broke out a bit last year but there’s definitely more to come from this boy. In his three seasons so far his average has gone from 64 to 71 to 88, that’s a classic progression. Particularly in the second half of last year he thrived in the midfield yet continued to kick multiple goals. I can see a lot of Marc Murphy in the way he plays and one year he will break out like Murphy did last year.. Will it be this year? All its going to take is for the slight inconsistencies to go away, that comes with time…if it’s not this year it will be next.

Jake Melksham

Melky is another whose averages have been stepping up gradually. He has gone from 59 to 69 and is entering the all-important third year. He started to get a real foothold in the midfield late last year and the last 10 rounds had him consistently scoring in the 90s. I reckon he will have the mini breakout like Zaka had the year before and will end on about a 90 ave, enough bang for buck? Possibly…. I’ll keep an eye on the NAB cup for improvements.

Dyson Heppell

Last year’s wonder kid… can he keep it up? Can he step it up? He got a lot of cheap ball last year but when he did enter traffic he seemed to have all the time in the world ala Pendlebury. The kids definitely got something special but at his price and average of 84 last year you would want a full blown breakout into the 100s. Can he do that? I’d guess he will have another year in the 80s but who’s to know, that’s what makes DT so fun.

Ben Howlett

Howlett is an unheralded type; he just burrows away all game doing the hard things and the right things. He averaged 82 last year but ended the season in really consistent fashion barley dipping under 90. It looks to me that after he has had another big pre-season (his 3rd) he will be about ready to explode as a DTer, he is my smokey to start pumping out 100s

Heath Hocking

Another in the Howlett mould who just gets about doing the right things. He averaged 87 last year but ended the season really well once let off the leash scoring 6 hundreds in the last 10 games. I think this year with yet more freedom he can bump it up again. In my mind it’s out of Howlett and Hocking as to who will be our biggest DT improver.

Come from the clouds.

Jake Carslile

The lanky kid with the sticky hands may be a bit from left field but he can seriously play. He’s got some of the best hands I’ve seen for ages, he just doesn’t drop them! He is coming into his third year, averaging 44 in year one and 66 last year albeit from a handful of games. He is definitely in Hirds plans and with another pre-season of weights on the spindly frame I can see him playing some good footy this year. Marks mean DT points and I see him taking loads! A cheapie to consider.

Travis Colyer

Another little smokey who had a tough year last year copping a red vest on many occasions. He was seen as an impact player from the bench but really added some spark when given a chance. He buzzes around like a little pest getting possies. He averaged 71 in his first year but last year averaged 44 after a lot of vest affected scores. Could be a bargain if he gets given a sustained run.

Injury comeback.

Jason Winderlich

Winders is coming back from a knee reco. He was a crucial element to our forward line early last year providing pressure and kicking goals in each game he played prior to injury. He was coming off averages of 94 and 87 the previous 2 seasons but ended last year on 55. If cheap enough he could be a value pick.

Courtenay Dempsey

Injured in the same game as Winders with the same injury Dempsey was looking at a breakout year last year. He has always shown flashes of brilliance off half back and his average had been steadily rising from 45 to 60 to 72. He ended last year on 49 but the big query is whether the injury will affect his zigging and zagging which is crucial to his game. He is a favourite of mine so I hope he kicks on this year. Would be a brave pick however.

Brent Prismall

Prismall the third of the knee victims is a ball magnet when right. He can cop a bit from bomber fans for useless U-turns and chip kicks but in a DT sense he is still gold. He has 2 years averaging 95 prior to last year’s injury which left him on a 62 average. Is hugely underpriced for the quality of points he provides is just a matter of when and how he comes back.

Scott Gumbledon

Scott averaged 55 from a base price 2 years ago proving to be a useful cash cow. He is back down to a base price again and could do the same job for you if his body works from him. If he plays the entire NAB cup consider for your bench.

No thanks.

Kyle Reimers

Average dropped from 70s to 58 last year, for a guy with all the talent in the world it just seems he can’t get it all together, can’t get his head right. Avoid.

Alwyn Davey

Is a dead man walking, He fumbles, he has brain fades and is even losing pace. If on the odd chance he was under consideration…forget.

Angus Monfries

There’s always the rumour that he will go into the middle and bump his average up but I can’t see it happening, he is slow as a wet week and does too good a job at being the smaller lead up forward to remove. He has averaged in the 70’s for 5 years, and that’s where it will stay.


Elliot Kavanagh

Big watch on Kav in the preseason to see if he can be the next Heppell. 2 years ago he showed tremendous form to have pundits predicting a top 5 draft position but his 2nd year was ruined by hamstring injuries which scared off more than few! He seems to play an outside game which could mean he would play a similar role to Heppell in his first year to work himself into the AFL system. If so could be a handy pick up. He has no TAC cup stats so a bit of a mystery man really, Pre-season watch.

Jackson Merrett

Don’t know much about the kid other than that he’s quick and he’s an outside player meaning he could snag a spot on the wing. He has been known to drift in and out of games which is a little worrying. He averaged 62 in the TAC cup with a high score of 78.


I think there could be a bit of gold waiting down here…..

Mark Baguley

Has been plucked from Frankston in the VFL like Hibberd a year before him. At 24 he is ready to play and ironically could well be fighting with Hibberd for the same spot, they both play a similar rebounding defender job however he may have a slightly better disposal than Hibberd leading him to becoming the ‘go to’ man out of  defence. They are both tough as nails and real competitors. One to keep an eye on.

Cory Dell’olio

Another mature ager at 21 he was nabbed from South Fremantle. He kicked 57 goals last year as a small forward who reportedly has freakish skills. With the slow demise of butter fingers Davey all this kid needs to do is show some form of defensive ability and tackling pressure and I reckon he may be in line for an early promotion and call up. The small forward is an area where the bombers lack big time. Watch this space.

Brendan Lee

Another 24 year old with claims for a quick promotion into the AFL this year. He amassed over 500 possessions last year for East Perth winning their best and fairest and coming forth in the Sandover medal in the process. He is apparently an inside midfielder in the mould of Jobe Watson who just knocks up getting the ball although can be a little handball happy. Inside Players with strong cores who run all day can become handy DT’ers, especially at 85k! I smell a Barlow.

So that’s about all I can muster for the dons this year, I’ll have a try at picking our best 22 but with a list so even it’s kind of tough.

B: Hibberd – Pears – Fletcher
: Dempsey – Hooker – Hardingham
: Heppell – Watson – Zaharakis
: Monfries – Hurley – Jetta
: Colyer – Carslile – Crameri
: Ryder – Hocking – Stanton
: T-Bell – Howlett – Melksham – Winderlich

Myers, Hille, Reimers, Gumby, Lonergan all knocking on the door!

With all this being said…… at the moment I’ve only got Zaharakis in my side! But there’s plenty of time for my biases to kick in,




  • Awesome Adzman!, hope it gets done for all teams…wink wink

    Heppell is locked, Howlett is a unique one im considering…had more tackles the Andrew Swallow last year..hmmmm :)

  • As an Essendon fan I loved this write up, really well written. I have avoided Essendon players like I avoid suit salesmen in Thailand for the last few years. I am considering Melksham and Colyer this year as well as cheap defender Alex Browne as I think he can cement a place in the side.

    We are all speculating this early which is cool as it gives us some sensible conversation away from WAG’s.

    Only issue is both Melksham and Colyer are Mids only, I feel I might be Essendon player free again in 2012.

    At least it is easier watching my team play without counting kicks etc.

  • I am certainly considering Gumbleton as my 7th forward.

    • Mate, I had Gumby on my radar but looking back, it appears the common consensus is that he’s a DT spud that will continue to frustrate us with injury and uncertainty. He’s on my preseason watch list and has to have a full bill of health before being considered for McRath this year.

  • Cheeers Adzman.
    Atm, I’ve only got Heppell from the Dons, but a couple others on the radar.

    So, what’s the story with Hepp’s?
    Looks like he might have added 4 or 5 kgs!!!

    • Nice!, he’s bulked up massively. I have a good feeling about Hepp D this season :)

  • Apparently when our new fitness dude entered the club the first thing he said was they need bulk!

    Since then they have pigged out on the weights.

    He is the guy Geelong used under bomber Thompson so again they are following the cats blueprint…

    I’d reckon most of the dons will have added bulk this year so they don’t get knocked off the ball so easily and can run out games in this contested era. It all kinda bodes well for our younger midfielders i think. Heppell included!

    • The fitness guys nickname is ‘the weapon’. He said in an article you probably read that he had ‘broken’ the players. He wanted them to have good ‘power to weight ration’. As a Collingwood supporter, I am very scared of the weapon and want Eddie to give him a house on the sly and poach him for big $$$’s!

      • I may as well make my comments now adzman, f#@$ing great article!

        The best pre-season rundown on the Bombers I have read by a city kilometer.

        I don’t read anything like this on other sites. Not that I log onto bigfooty much as it looks like it runs on a commodore 64 and hurts my twenty first century aesthetics.

        I’m locked into Zaha and Heppell (I think Heppell’s freak powers mean he might kick on into the 90’s, although Puopolo is also anther option). And Brandon Lee looks like my kind of rookie. One who’ll slot in.


      • ‘power to weight ratio’ hahahah

  • Lol Essendon only have 2 premiums so mediocre

    • My team only has 1 lol….Thommo. Hang on Jacobs maybe?

      • Jacobs is borderline I reckon. Van Berlo is a good chance to become one if he keeps up his ‘Bickley average’, eg. he plays midfield not back flank. Sloane another to possibly cement himself DT-wise.

  • Well done and thanks for putting that together Adzy, the rookie info is especially helpful! there a more hated little twerp in the whole of the AFL than Kyle Reimers?

    • Ballantyne maybe??

      • Milne and Masten come to mind.

        • at least Milne has talent

          • One thing for sure, Milne’s talent is not talking.

            He hosted a mini TV segment last year. Giving a tour of St Kilda’s new facilities. He talked like an over the top actor trying to portray a football player who was so ‘ssthtupid dat he kindaah tawlked wike an f#$%ing idiot.’

            But he makes way more cash than me and lives better life and has played in soooo many grand finals that he must have won one.

            In fact, maybe his very presence in the St Kilda team is what tipped the karmic scales and prevented them from winning?

            ((My housemate who is from Japan and is mad St Kilda, he just said that he thinks Ross Lyon should have told the St Kilda players to, ‘forgive yourselves and blame your mothers for everything.’ He thinks this would have helped them win a Premiership.))

    • didak

  • Nice write up mate! Hepps and Zaha for me, Thanks for coming. I will have a close eye on Kavanagh in NAB cup also

  • I’d have thought Winderlich would be on the ground rather then starting on the pine. Also I’d reckon Kavagnah would be first 22 or pushing for it.

    • winders coming back from the knee..i thought id be cautious….. and kav id love to see play all year, ill just wait and see the NAB

  • Nice write up Adzman, I’ve got Heppell and Zaharkis locked.

  • Heaps of folk seem to be locking in Heppell from a long way out. Do you mind explaining why he is such a dead cert?

    As Adz says, he is priced pretty high and averaged 84 last season (which he ripped apart, no dispute there). Plus he is DEF only and is about to enter the dreaded second year.

    • He is so popular because he is one of the rare high scoring defenders who doesn’t have a bye in Round 13.

      Picking my team this year will involve writing down the top 10 players from every position, then writing down their bye week before picking three premiums from 3 different bye weeks.

      • Of the top 10 scoring backs from 2011 (a list that doesn’t include Heppell BTW), none of Enright, Shaw, Adcock or Butler have the Rnd 13 bye. Broughton (11th highest DEF) also plays during Rnd 13. There are three to

        Why not have a look at how Heppell performs before the Rnd 13 bye and then trade him in if he is still ripping it up?

  • I have knocked up a Lions one so I hope to see it up. But Im not sure where to send it i just posted it in the contact us section

  • A few people are gonna contract Heppell-ditus D this season. Watch out for this kid

  • Yep Had Heppell already then saw the photo on FF a week ago and now he is glued in my side, he is more experienced and bigger and more a part of the team structure he is defender so if he lifts that 85 to 95 he is a GUN at $100K less than the other (FEW) guns there arent many.

    Locked in ZAKA too, better be his breakout year and again anything around 95 is good enough for a FWD at his price, it’s not like we are picking these guys to sit in the mids alondside GAJ and SWAN expecting 120’s from them.

  • ALways nice to read a team preview Adzman, thanks for this one.

    Tough to get the rookies right early though as someone always comes from the clouds in the NAB cup (I missed Puopolo in my Hawks write up last year as he didn’t rate a mention until late in the preseason).

  • hey adzman…mark mcveigh not good enuf to make ur squad….is he injured? great write up cheers Mal….

    • hmmm i’d expect he’d be phased out over the year as the kids come on..but if nobody steps up he could play alot of the year out.

      borderline best 22 for mine but ideally he’d be making way this year.

      • Probably should be on his way out but you have to remember that he is best mates with Hirdy and he is an accurate kick. My money would be on him being best 22 most of the year.

        • Interesting chat boys. He seems to have an aura that says, ‘I think I’m top five, even though I am bottom five.’, so that makes him a prick hahahahah

  • Like many others, Zaha and Heppell locked

    am hoping for a brandon lee downgrade during the year.

    • Any relation to Brendan?

      Good call though.

      • hey tbetta, your from W.A.. any inside word on dell’olio or lee?

        afl material? dt material?

        • Brendan Lee is definitely DT material – he averaged 97.9 in the wafl in 2011. He is a huge accumulator of the ball, somehow just knows how to find it in traffic. He rarely has an off game, meaning he was in the best players week in, week out. I fully expect him to make some real noise for Bendigo and if things go right for him, put his name forward for selection mid-year. As you said, he’s 24, so he’s ready to go.

          Dell’Olio i don’t know as much about, but I do know that as a true forward he doesn’t offer as much for fantasy. He has the X factor which makes some players successful at AFL level, but he only averaged 74.1 in the wafl in 2011, so steer away from him in DT.

          • Thanks Tbetta! I had Hibbard as well as Heppell but I should have just picked up Hibbard later on, just like Lee! But, hibbard was lucky there was those two ACL’s, that really paved the way for him.

  • zaharakijs only 1 in my team 2 but im thinking of heath scotland or heppell?

  • Great article Adzman,
    Zaharakis locked in to my forward line, and am considering melkshem had a brilliant end to the season last year imo.

  • great article, considering heppa, zaka and big kav will watch over nab cup!

  • Yeh there’s some def interesting options with the bombers! Great write up.

    Zar is locked as he done me so well last year. Heppell done so too but i had been worried about him getting more attention and backing it up but with the added bulk i think i’ll be taking out Enright or Broughton to make way for him…..hmmmmmmm.

    B.Lee on the watchlist for sure!….i wonder if ‘Chuck Norris’ will hav interest ion Lee!? :)