AFL: Western Bulldogs vs Essendon Preview
Updated: Oct 12, 2021
After an incredible AFL home and away season, another season with COVID-19 disruptions, disrupted fixtures, limited crowd numbers across most states and some games without crowds again, we are down to the final eight teams for 2021. After all the drama, the die has been cast for an incredible finals series
It comes down to eight teams, two will be gone at the end of this weekend. But excitement is starting to build. So sit back and enjoy what looks to be an intriguing first week of 2021 AFL finals action. Best of luck to all eight teams, let's preview the games.
Western Bulldogs vs Essendon
Week one of the finals will be wrapped up with Sunday’s elimination final between the Western Bulldogs and Essendon at UTAS stadium. The Bulldogs, after a slump of late-season form, in a season where they were in the top two for the vast majority of it, have dropped to fifth place. Essendon managed to claim the eighth spot, after an 11-11 record, in an impressive first season for Ben Rutten, where it's fair to say the Bombers have exceeded expectations.
The Bulldogs will be looking to bounce back from being eliminated in the first week of the finals last year, in the hands of St Kilda by three points. Whilst Essendon start as underdogs, aiming to finally win their first final since 2004.
The last time these teams met, it was the Bombers defeating the at the time, top of the table Bulldogs by 13-points in round 21. It was the game that most likely made the difference in Essendon making the eight. With Peter Wright having a field day kicking a match decisive seven goals.
Before then, the Bulldogs had won their previous six clashes with Essendon. They were sitting on top of the ladder, before losing their last three games to drop to fifth. But you would expect that the Dogs will be more aware of Essendon’s game, considering the round 21 defeat.
Western Bulldogs - Bailey Smith, Tim English, Adam Treloar, Lachie Hunter, and Josh Dunkley
Marcus Bontempelli, with 15 disposals, 11 kicks, three handbells, and a goal- he will want to have more of an impact in this week's final, however.
Essendon - Peter Wright, Alec Waterman, Devon Smith, Jake Stringer, Darcy Parish, and Zac Merrett.
You would expect that with the champion side the Dogs are, they will find form when it matters most. I expect they will be able to get back to their best footy facing Essendon on Sunday.
Prediction: Dogs by 25-points.