Dogs ready to snap at Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs ready to snap at Bombers

By Roger Vaughan 23/05/2010 03:11:17 PM Comments (0)

The Western Bulldogs will give Essendon a true measure of how much they have improved in Friday night's AFL clash at Etihad Stadium.

The Bombers are 4-5 and just outside the top eight after beating winless Richmond on Saturday night by 35 points in the Dreamtime At The 'G indigenous tribute match.

It was Essendon's third win in four games and the first time this season they have won two weeks in a row.

While the Bombers have definitely picked up since the round-five Anzac Day disaster, their form needs to be viewed in context.

Hawthorn were in a horrible slump when they played in round six, Essendon blew their chances against Port Adelaide in round seven and St Kilda last week were still adjusting to life without Nick Riewoldt.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are making a habit of smashing any challengers, blowing away North Melbourne by 70 points on Saturday a week after dealing with Sydney.

"They played very, very well (Saturday) from all reports, we're going to have to bring our best game to get over the top of them," said Essendon ruckman David Hille.

"It's a great chance to see where we're at, if we can back up again, bring the pressure that we need, then it will be interesting to see.

"We weren't playing well against Collingwood and they were, it was just compounded in that (Anzac Day) result.

"The last four weeks, it could have gone either way against Port Adelaide, and we've played much more ferocious, consistent football - that's the basis of where we want to be at."

Hille was best afield against the Tigers and kicked three goals - one of them an outstanding set shot from an acute angle.

"It was probably a bit fortunate, I will claim it now," Hille said.

"There wasn't much on, so I had a crack."

Hille and coach Matthew Knights were disappointed with how Essendon ran out the match.

They led by as many as 54 points in the third term, but Richmond finished better.

Essendon set up the win with a devastating seven-goal burst in only 15 minutes during the first term, killing off what they admitted was a danger game.

Defender Dustin Fletcher was brought off in the final term as a precaution with a back spasm, but the in-form veteran is expected to be fit to face the Bulldogs.

Young midfielder Jake Melksham might struggle to be fit, even though he returned to the field after injuring his ankle early in the match.

"Jake Melksham was obviously really courageous with what he did, to go back on after injuring his ankle early," Knights said.

"He held up a role in the midfield for us.

"We'll know more in the next 48 hours, I would have thought he's possibly in some doubt."

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