Bombers' Bellchambers to fill big shoes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers' Bellchambers to fill big shoes

By Roger Vaughan 11/06/2010 07:18:27 PM Comments (0)

Essendon ruckman Tom Bellchambers will have a responsibility far above his experience level when the Bombers play AFL pacesetters Geelong this Saturday night.

The 20-year-old will play his 10th senior game at Etihad Stadium and his first of the season, one of five additions to the Bombers side.

Bellchambers has taken the place of in-form ruckman David Hille, who has a hamstring injury.

Hille and Paddy Ryder have been a formidable ruck/forward duo for the Bombers and a key to their form surge over the last month, where they have won three out of four matches.

Assistant coach Scott Camporeale said Bellchambers had earnt his promotion and is confident he will perform well.

"He's been in our best players for the last few weeks, so he really earned his spot," Camporeale said.

"With him and Paddy, it's going to be really important that those guys take off from where Hilley and Paddy (were) as a combination.

"In terms of his tap work, he's really come a long way and understands the game.

"His fitness has improved since we got him here - ruckmen generally take a little bit longer and Tom's only 20, he's going to take time to develop.

"But he gets a real opportunity against good-quality opposition and I guess that's the best teaching tool we can give a player - we're happy with his progress."

The Bombers will need Ryder and Bellchambers to win the ruck duels as they go up against the league's top midfield.

Apart from losing Hille and Angus Monfries to hamstring injuries, the Bombers also recalled Brent Stanton, Henry Slattery and Ricky Dyson to beef up their midfield.

The other addition is veteran defender Dustin Fletcher, who returns from suspension.

"We don't want to make too many changes, but that's the way it fell this week," Camporeale said.

"We have a little bit more experience through there (midfield) - they're obviously a top-notch, A-grade, elite midfield, so hopefully we can match them in there."

Fletcher's return is a major boost for Essendon, while the Cats will be without key forward Cameron Mooney because of an ankle injury.

"He really settles our backline down and the whole team just with his presence on the ground," Camporeale said of Fletcher.

"We missed him a bit last week, so he'll be really important for us.

"He's unbelievable ... I don't think he's really dropped away his form at all.

"He's really consistent, you can rely on him, you know what you're going to get week to week."

Essendon have five wins from their 11 games and Camporeale said they feel they are on the right track.

"We're probably at where we deserve - obviously our last six weeks have been competitive, the first four weeks weren't great," he said.

"But we're slowly getting better, we've had a bit more continuity in terms of selection of players available and that's helped us."

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