Mumford wary of strong Essendon ruck - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mumford wary of strong Essendon ruck

Adrian Warren 02/04/2011 03:00:21 PM Comments (0)

Shane Mumford faces a potential three-headed ruck monster on Sunday, when a giant Essendon AFL lineup confronts Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

The two teams went in different directions at the selection table, with Essendon supplementing their already formidable ruck duo of David Hille and Pat Ryder with Tom Bellchambers.

Sydney opted for less height and more run, promoting midfielders Craig Bird and Brett Meredith and leaving out Mark Seaby and Mike Pyke, though the latter was listed among the emergencies.

While Ryder in particular is likely to spend plenty of time up forward, Mumford and his backup, regular forward Jesse White, face a tough task in the aerial battle.

Mumford, rates the Hille-Ryder combination as one of the best ruck tandems in the AFL, because of the separate qualities they possess.

"They come as a good combination, because they are different kinds of ruckmen it does make it harder to combat," Mumford told AAP.

"You've got Ryder that's going to jump and just jump amazing and then you've got Hille, who uses his body well, so it will be a good test for me.

"With Ryder you've just got to try and stop him from being able to jump so well, try and nullify that and keep him away from the ball and Hille, it's just a wrestle, basically, try and get front spot and keep him away from it.".

Sydney coach John Longmire used Seaby as his substitute last week because of concerns about knee soreness for Mumford.

The former Geelong ruckman said the knee had pulled up really well and hadn't worried him at all after he played most of Sydney's opening game against Melbourne.

"My match fitness isn't up to where I would like it to be just yet, but with playing big minutes, it's going to get better and better each week," Mumford said.

Both coaches emphasised the importance of winning the battle for contested footy, with Sydney way down in that department last week.

Essendon coach James Hird was still wary of Sydney's ability in that area and the need for his notoriously poor travelling side to backup last week's huge win over the Bulldogs.

"We'll need to be at our best to compete with a Sydney side that's very tough to beat," Hird said. "What we know about the Swans is they're a great contested football team, they defend really well and they've added a bit of pace on the outside so they transfer the ball well and move it quite well out of the half-back line.

"We know their contested style of game can really stop you scoring if you don't win the footy."

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