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Blues Blow Away Bombers After Slow Start

Hooker Battles Cox (2019)

It was a warm sunny day at the MCG, with the late 3.20 PMM start meaning that most of the game would be played in the shadows of the stands. Coming into this match Essendon were 14th and Carlton were 15th on the AFL ladder.  A solid crowd of 57,447 witnessed the match. Anthony McDonald Tipungwuti kicked the opening goal of the match as Essendon looked slick early.

Mitch McGovern and Sam Walsh kicked the next two goals to show the Blues fans they were up for the fight and much of the quarter it was an even competition.  But Essendon got their running game happening and Cale Hooker evened things up on the scoreboard.  With Essendon on the rampage, it took a big mark by Eddie Betts in the goal square to keep the Blues in it. He landed heavily with the ball and limped back to kick the goal.

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12 Added Via SSP, Scully Retires

Scully Handballs Under Pressure

The AFL Supplementary Selection Period (SSP) ended on March 9 with eight clubs selecting 12 players. Several had been delisted by other clubs and were invited to train with other clubs in the hope of being selected. Below are the clubs and their selections.

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List Changes: Bombers, Eagles, Saints, Cats, North

Jetta Gets His Kick Away

In mid-November, the AFL announced that club lists will be the following: 36 to 38 senior players, 4-6 Category A rookies and two Category B rookies. Rookie listed players will be allowed to play senior football without having to be elevated to the senior list. So many clubs have had to make hard calls on players, with some clubs even demoting senior players to rookie lists. Although there have already been some trades and free agent signings, the free agency period ran November 25 through November 29 with the first list lodgment due November 25 ahead of the free agency period.

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Essendon MD Passes

Neale Daniher

In late October, Essendon announced that club doctor Bruce Reid passed away at the age of 75. He was the AFL's longest-serving physician. He began as a player in the VFL, with three games with Hawthorn in 1966 and 1967 before receiving his medical degree in 1968. At that time, he was playing for Preston in the VFA.

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Free Agents Request Trades

Cameron vs the Kangaroos

In October, GWS forward Jeremy Cameron told the club he wanted to explore his options as a restricted free agent. Cameron has played 171 games for the club since joining as a 17-year old in 2010. In 2020 he played 17 games and kicked 24 goals. Cameron has named Geelong as his preferred club.

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More List Changes

Hibberd Handballs

As the season nears to a close, more clubs not in contention have made cuts to their lists and a few more players have announced their retirements.

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Worsfold's Final Message To Bomber Faithful

Taking The Big Freeze Plunge

Round 18 was Essendon Coach John Worsfold's 105th and final game with the Bombers. He has urged all the "Essendon people" to get behind his successor, assistant coach Ben Rutten. He and the club have been under heavy scrutiny, especially after the resounding defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide in Round 17.

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Beginning Of The Ends

GIbbs Vs Essendon

As the season winds down, it is that time of year when players decide to retire. Heading into the last weeks before finals, four announced they were hanging up the boots - Sun Pearce Hanley, Bomber Conor McKenna, Adelaide's Bryce Gibbs and Carlton's Matthew Kreuzer.

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Former NFL Player A Footy Convert

Pat McAfee (Wikimedia Commons)

With so many sports competitions suspended, former AFL player Pat McAfee, who now has his own podcast, was looking for something to watch. He tripped across the opening round AFL match between Essendon and Fremantle and is now a diehard convert. Unfortunately, just after he discovered the game, the AFL announced the suspension of the season until the pandemic is over. While he couldn't quite figure out all the rules, he says he will keep watching when the game resumes and even has a dream of becoming an AFL player. Below are links to his stories and even a link to an "audition" video he posted.

3/21
https://www.espn.com.au/afl/story/_/id/28936855/americans-label-afl-incredible-vow-continue-watching

3/28
https://www.themercury.com.au/sport/afl/former-nfl-star-pat-mcafee-keeps-raving-about-onenight-stand-with-afl/news-story/d709108df44a1caa7e002e53ac7cb1cf

Former NFL player Pat McAfee's AFL audition video has received an endorsement from Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton. Brereton believes he has potential. Below is the link to the full story with a video of McAfee kicking a Sherrin and a link to a related article:

https://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/afl-2020-pat-mcafee-interest-in-afl-dermott-brereton-reviews-former-nfl-players-footy-audition-video/news-story/0723707e9a2b110c319d37f9ab8f039f

https://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/afl-2020-pat-mcafees-footy-audition-nfl-punter-loves-aussie-rules-video-americans-loving-afl/news-story/e52400d044b3425809e298962f038625

Sources: espn.com.au, themercury.com.au, foxsports.com.au

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Supplemental Signings

Mitch Brown's Strong Grab

The Supplemental Signing Period (SSP) ran from December 1 through March 13, allowing clubs to sign rookie players provided they had room on their lists and salary caps. A number of clubs took advantage of the period to round out their playing lists.

ESSENDON

Concerned with the poor depth in the ruck and up forward with Tom Bellchambers injured and the return of Joe Daniher (groin) still indefinite, the Bombers have signed former swimming champion Henry Crauford under the SSP rules. Crauford, 22 years old and 6'3", competed in swimming at state and national levels before returning to football in 2016. He played for Norwood in the SANFL in 2019 and played 19 games for Norwood's reserves side. Several clubs showed some interest in Crauford but he was overlooked in last year's draft. Athletic and with good endurance for his size, he can play both ruck and as a tall forward.

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