July 13, 2024

Considered a bargain pick in the 2023 national draft, Archie Roberts has been demonstrating promising skills since joining the Essendon Football Club.

Selected with pick No. 54, Roberts has been honing his abilities through the VFL, participating in three practice matches and notably performing well in the season opener against Brisbane.

Despite the VFL Bombers’ loss by 37 points in their first game, Roberts flourished in an advanced role on the wing, amassing 25 possessions and even contributing with a goal late in the match.

Having been recognized in the 2023 Under 18 All Australian team as a half back, Roberts acknowledges that transitioning to the wing has required some adaptation. However, he credits the guidance of the more experienced players at Essendon for helping him navigate this change.

Archie Roberts Draft Profile - Aussie Rules Rookie Me Central (formerly AFL  Draft Central)

“I feel like the wing is a great fit for me. While it’s somewhat unfamiliar territory, I did play a bit in my final year, and I’ve really taken to it,” Roberts expressed.

“We’ve got a fantastic group on the wing with ‘Duurs’ (Xavier Duursma), ‘Bull’ (Jake Kelly), and Elijah Tsatas, and I’ve been closely working with them.

“They’re seasoned players who have been incredibly supportive, and I’ve found my groove there. I feel confident in my role on the wing, and I’ve grasped the team’s structure well, so I believe it’s the ideal position for me.”

The Bombers displayed a spirited start to the game against a Brisbane team featuring 16 AFL-listed players, trailing by only seven points at halftime and adapting effectively to the challenging conditions at the NEC Hangar.

Despite the Lions’ dominant third-quarter performance extending the margin, Roberts and the Bombers are focused on extracting valuable lessons from their shortcomings and aiming for a stronger showing in their upcoming match.

“Our performance in the first half was commendable. We were competitive throughout the first quarter but faced some challenges after halftime,” Roberts reflected.

“They managed to score five or six goals, particularly taking advantage of the heavy breeze. While we defended well against it, we struggled in the third quarter. It was a physical and demanding game, and while there are positives to take from it, the loss is disappointing.”

Roberts emphasized the importance of building strong relationships with both the VFL and AFL players at Essendon, recognizing the value of on-field chemistry that can enhance his performance across all levels.

While he’s satisfied with his initial performances in the VFL, Roberts remains focused on continuous improvement throughout the season and aims to earn a spot in the senior team.

“We’re working on building strong connections with the VFL players, and I find that when I’m connected with them, I perform better,” Roberts explained.

“Individual success is important, but ultimately, I’m driven by the desire to win and contribute to the team’s success. I aspire to play finals with the team and hopefully make my senior debut as well,” he added.

“While it’s satisfying to play well individually, the priority is always the team’s success. I would have preferred to secure the win.”

Looking ahead, the VFL Bombers are gearing up to face Roberts’ former local club, Sandringham, in round two this Sunday.

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