Bombers can bounce back: Hird - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers can bounce back: Hird

Sam Lienert 24/07/2011 03:36:42 PM Comments (0)

Facing a daunting meeting with Collingwood after a big defeat, Essendon coach James Hird takes heart that his side has faced a similar scenario already this AFL season and triumphed.

The Bombers stunned then-top-placed Geelong in round 15, a week after their previous biggest loss of the season by 65 points to Hawthorn at the MCG.

After an even bigger defeat, 24.9 (153) to 12.7 (79), against Carlton at the MCG on Saturday night, Hird was confident the Bombers had the resilience to respond in similar fashion against the top-placed Magpies.

"We had a daunting challenge after we lost to Hawthorn and we came up against Geelong," Hird said.

"The one thing about this group is we haven't played that many bad quarters throughout the year.

"I think there was a quarter-and-a-half against Hawthorn and a quarter-and-a-half against Fremantle and another quarter (against Carlton).

"But the good thing is they've responded every time they've been down.

"They'll come out, we'll work hard this week and get them ready for a game against the best team in the competition."

Hird said the positive from the loss to the Blues, for which they were missing key midfield pair Jobe Watson and Heath Hocking, was the midfield experience gained by youngsters such as David Zaharakis, Jake Melksham, Dyson Heppell and Angus Monfries.

Watson is likely to return from a hamstring injury against the Magpies, with Hird hopeful experienced defender Dustin Fletcher will also play after missing the Carlton clash with an ankle injury.

But there are fears fellow tall backman Tayte Pears sustained a lower leg fracture on Saturday night, which would end his season, with the defender to have scans on Sunday.

Hocking will also be unavailable for the Collingwood game, with Hird tipping a return against Sydney the following round.

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