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Bombers can win AFL premiership: Shaw

By Sam Lienert 14/08/2011 01:30:02 PM Comments (0)

Former Collingwood AFL premiership captain Tony Shaw says Essendon can win this year's flag.

The Bombers came 14th last season and are yet to guarantee a finals berth this year but Shaw said they had the ingredients needed for the ultimate success.

Shaw cited Essendon's speed of ball movement and a strong defence, although he said they would need big performances from captain Jobe Watson in the midfield and young key position player Michael Hurley.

He said the key question was whether they could maintain their defensive intensity, which he said had mostly been good but had lapsed badly at times against top-class opposition.

The Bombers suffered big losses to top-four sides Carlton and Collingwood within the past month, leaking huge scores in the second half on both occasions.

"If they can keep that intensity they can win premierships, they can win (the premiership) this year," Shaw said on Melbourne's 3AW radio on Sunday.

"Essendon can win the premiership this year if they keep a level.

"I'll tell you why, because this game has been built on one thing and (there are) three or four really good sides who do it well, that defensive pressure.

"You do that for a length of time and you can beat anybody in the competition and I'm serious about that."

The Bombers would need to become the first team to come from outside the top four to win the flag since Adelaide in 1998.

The Crows that year benefited from a different finals system, which meant they stayed alive despite losing their opening final.

Essendon will face sudden death matches each weekend of the finals, if they make it this year.

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