Bombers aim to up the tempo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers aim to up the tempo

Justin Chadwick 11/06/2011 09:59:06 AM Comments (0)

Essendon will attempt to up their intensity when they take on fellow top-eight hopefuls Fremantle in Sunday's crunch AFL clash at Patersons Stadium.

The Bombers made a barnstorming start to the year under new coach James Hird but have since slipped to seventh on the table following shock losses to Richmond and Melbourne.

Midfielder Ben Howlett conceded Essendon's intensity had waned in recent weeks, but said the Bombers had addressed the issue and were primed to turn around their recent drop in form.

"Our intensity around the ball and tackling has really dropped, and we pride ourselves as a contested, tackling team," Howlett said.

"If we win this week it certainly puts us back in contention, it pushes up further up the ladder and creates a gap between us and Freo.

"You look at our list and guys like myself - I've only played 25-odd games.

"We're still learning and we're still improving.

"It might not be this year (that we become a major force), but maybe next year.

"As long as we improve and show we can be a great side, it will be a good year."

Fremantle (5-5) have lost four of their past five games to drop to eighth on the table.

But Howlett said the Dockers remained a formidable force.

"You watch the footy they're playing and they're playing really good football," he said.

"They've just been unlucky to lose a couple of those.

"I'm sure we'll see them in September some time."

The Bombers will be boosted by the return of skipper Jobe Watson, key position player Michael Hurley and Andrew Welsh, but ruckman Tom Bellchambers was dropped as Essendon opted to go in with just two tap specialists.

Young gun Michael Hibberd was also left out, while Sam Lonergan (illness) couldn't be considered.

Fremantle opted against rushing star onballer Michael Barlow back from a broken leg, but out-of-favour midfielder Rhys Palmer was dropped for Clayton Hinkley.

Howlett, who was snared by the Bombers with pick No.30 in the 2010 rookie draft after starring with WAFL side Peel Thunder, has played every game this year after making 15 appearances last season.

The 22-year-old West Australian said he was enjoying his time at the Bombers, despite growing up as a mad West Coast supporter.

"I was just rapt to be picked up. I've been very happy since I've been here. I'm loving the experience.

"I'm playing with a bunch of great blokes so I'm very happy with where I'm at at the moment.

"We're good mates on and off the field. We bond really well as a group and hopefully we'll be playing a lot of footy together in the coming years."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news