June 25, 2024

Essendon is contemplating adding more height to their lineup for the upcoming Anzac Day clash, but coach Brad Scott clarified that they won’t necessarily drop a key position player to accommodate the returning Peter Wright.

Scott emphasized that ruckman Sam Draper and key forward Harry Jones both have roles to play in the Bombers’ lineup against Collingwood. Considering the possibility of going taller, Scott mentioned that the weather forecast for Melbourne would influence their decision-making process.

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Despite Wright’s lack of match practice due to suspension, Scott expressed confidence in his readiness to make a significant impact upon his return to the field.

“The coaching aspect this week involves both art and science, as we contemplate the various options and structures available to us,” Scott remarked. He expressed satisfaction with the flexibility provided by the team’s options.

Experienced midfielder Dylan Shiel’s availability for selection was also discussed, following his consecutive VFL appearances. Scott mentioned the importance of carefully evaluating Shiel’s readiness, considering the rigorous competition.

Scott highlighted the competitiveness of the league, referencing recent results where unexpected outcomes occurred. He emphasized the need to assess Shiel’s preparedness thoroughly, given the fine margins in the competition.

Scott, whose father served in Vietnam, expressed his intention to deeply engage with Anzac themes with his players ahead of his second coaching stint on this significant occasion.

He became emotional as he stressed the importance of the game in honoring the sacrifices made by Australian servicemen and women.

“We must remember that our freedoms are a result of the sacrifices made by our service men and women… it may sound repetitive, but it cannot be emphasized enough,” he said.

Scott emphasized how the Anzac Day game serves as a powerful reminder to young people, preventing them from taking these liberties for granted.

Regarding the controversial Sam Draper incident that aided the Bombers in their victory over the Crows, Scott admitted it didn’t keep him up at night. However, he noted his preference for Draper to have maintained his footing to avoid the risk of being penalized for holding the ball.

“Whether he was pushed under or not… I didn’t even bother watching the replay. But the key is to stay on your feet in the contest and recognize that diving on the ball without immediately disposing of it may result in a holding the ball decision,” he said.

Scott acknowledged the challenge of adjudicating holding the ball incidents, noting the difficulty faced by umpires in interpreting and enforcing this rule consistently throughout the game.

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