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AFL Team Profile: Essendon

Essendon missed out on finals last season and the aim in 2024 will be to force their way into the top eight and take their campaign into September.

The Bombers made some good progress under new coach Brad Scott last season but suffered a disappointing end to the season.

There is more work for Scott and Essendon to do, but the top eight is an achievable target if they make some improvements.

Essendon are 3.00 to finish in the top eight and 1.38 to miss out.

Let’s take a closer look at the Bombers heading into the 2024 AFL season.

Bombers fade fast in 2023

New coach Brad Scott looked set to take Essendon into finals in his first season in charge following an electric start to the season.

However they struggled in the final couple of months, which put an end to their top-eight hopes.

They finished in 11th place on the ladder, six points away from the eight, after winning 11 of their 23 games.

It all started so well with four wins from their first five games, including a victory over premiership hopefuls Melbourne. They also ran Collingwood close the game after.

Four defeats on the spin stopped them in their tracks, and although they went on to pick up some good results, they lost more than they won.

Indeed they won just one game, against struggling West Coast Eagles, in the last seven matches of the season, and finals hopes disappeared.

However there were positives to take and there have been some good additions in the off-season, so the Bombers will begin the season with optimism.

Essendon have not won a flag since 2000, but first things first, they need to get back in finals, and that will be the aim for 2024.

Key players

The Bombers look to have made a very shrewd addition to their list when snapping up defender Ben McKay from North Melbourne.

Defence has been an issue and the Bombers have taken steps to fix it by getting McKay on board, who will now lead the defensive line.

Andrew McGrath and Dyson Heppell will also be in a backline that now looks stronger than last season.

Into midfield and influential captain Zach Merrett, along with Darcy Parish, will be the key players for the Bombers.

Will Setterfield, hot prospect Ben Hobbs and Jye Caldwell will also be players to keep an eye on in 2024.

Moving to the forwards, Kyle Langford had an outstanding 2023 campaign and the Bombers will want more of the same this season.

Harry Jones would also have a key role to play, but injuries have been an issue for him. If he can stay fit and on the park, he could be huge for the Bombers.

Bombers take on Hawks

Essendon begin the new season with a home clash against Hawthorn on Saturday 16th March.

The game has to be viewed as ‘must-win’ if the Bombers are to make the eight this season, and they need to get off to a strong start.

They are priced at 1.75 to do just that, while Hawthorn are 2.10.

The week after Essendon travel to take on Sydney, before a massive home clash with St Kilda.

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