Bombers hope to confirm AFL finals berth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers hope to confirm AFL finals berth

Roger Vaughan 27/08/2011 01:48:21 PM Comments (0)

Essendon should make the AFL finals, but it's the slight element of doubt that might add interest to Sunday's home game against Port Adelaide.

The Bombers are eighth and will start overwhelming favourites at Etihad Stadium against a club who will welcome the end of a disastrous season.

Port have won only two games this season and are on a 10-game losing streak.

Essendon will be guaranteed a finals berth in James Hird's first year as coach if St Kilda beat North Melbourne on Saturday night.

But if North win, the Bombers must follow suit because they have the bye in round 24 and are determined not to keep the door open.

As of Saturday afternoon, Essendon led North on the ladder by a game and a half.

"Preparation's normal and the consequences for us of winning the game are good, because we're in the finals," Hird said.

"From that point of view, we're preparing to play our best football.

"We need to play the brand of football we've been playing, we need to do the things within the game that we've been doing over the last 22 weeks.

"We haven't planned past Sunday, because we need to make sure we play the right way - if we play the right way, I think we should be okay."

The Bombers have also beefed up their side for the match, welcoming back key position players Cale Hooker, Tayte Pears and Michael Hurley.

Port have recalled Brett Ebert, Matthew Broadbent and Cameron O'Shea.

One small point in Port's favour is they have a great record against the Bombers, having won 12 of their past 13 matches.

The Power also beat Essendon the last time they played at Etihad Stadium, in round seven last year.

"Both teams are in different areas of where they have been previously but I think we have had a fair bit of Essendon over here, we have played them a bit here and their record hasn't been great here," Port coach Matthew Primus said.

"We had a good win against them last time at Etihad so hopefully we will prepare well.

"And we know what's on the end of it for them. By the time we play, they are probably going to know whether they're safe or not, but they will want to finish off with a good game because they have got the bye the next week."

But Primus also admits his team will need a lot more than history going for them.

"That seems like a long time ago at the moment," Primus said of last year's win over the Bombers.

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