Dogs coach tips shootout against Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs coach tips shootout against Bombers

By Sam Lienert 14/07/2009 05:23:02 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade believes Friday night's clash with Essendon could produce one of the most free-scoring matches in AFL history.

Renowned as the competition's two quickest sides, Eade expects both clubs to burn up the Etihad Stadium surface, with a goal-fest the likely result.

"It will be a high-scoring game, I think both sides will take the game on," Eade said.

"Both teams have got some very talented players, both teams rely on quick ball movement, so there will be a lot of that.

"Both teams will play to their strengths and we probably could end up with maybe a 25 goal-a-side game."

Only twice in AFL/VFL history have both sides in a match reached 25 goals.

Essendon downed North Melbourne 27.9 (171) to 25.9 (159) at the MCG in 2001, a game notable for the Bombers producing the competition's biggest ever comeback after falling 69 points down.

The other was Hawthorn's 26.15 (171) to 25.13 (163) win over Geelong at Princes Park in 1989, a game also famous for a huge comeback.

Essendon coach Matthew Knights said the fact that Friday night's game was being played at Etihad Stadium, where the sheltered nature of the playing arena aids quick ball movement, would contribute to the speed.

"I think the Etihad Stadium combined with the nature of the two teams and the personnel both teams have got lends itself to a fairly quick up-tempo game," Knights said.

But he said the `Dogs' defensive strength this season should not be overlooked.

"We're under no illusions they'll come out and try and work pretty hard and so will we - we've got to try to improve the defensive side of our game," he said.

"So I don't think it's going to be all-out attack, I think there will be a mindset of both teams to try and tackle hard and pressure hard."

Eade said while they Dogs would set out to shut down some key Bombers, the focus would be on their own game.

"You can't go and tag every player, you've got to be able to back your own strengths at the same time," he said.

"I think it will be a combination of both but mainly we'll back our own ability and our own gameplan."

The Bulldogs have topped the 100-point mark in their past nine games, with their only losses in that stretch by two points to Geelong in round nine and last weekend's one-point loss to Collingwood.

Last time the two sides met, at the same venue in round 21 last year, the Bulldogs beat an undermanned Bombers 23.13 (151) to 15.15 (105).

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