2019 AFL Round 17 Preview – ESSENDON v NORTH MELBOURNE

Racing and Sports will provide analysis of many games in the 2019 AFL Season.

We'll endeavour to run through the form, incorporate appropriate stats and also supply a betting prediction which won't always just be who will win.


ESSENDON v NORTH MELBOURNE

Saturday 13 July @ Marvel Stadium

A game which six weeks ago looked more like an audition for prospective coaches and angling for draft picks is now almost an elimination final decider.

Essendon and North Melbourne are just out of the eight and certainly going better than some within it.

These two have played some all-time great games – the 2001 match which was 27 goals to 25 saw the Bombers make the biggest comeback in AFL history (69 points).

Essendon has good run and carry
Essendon has good run and carry Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

There is also the marshmallow taunts from Sheeds. Ah the good ole days.

Essendon has made a nice return to form the last few weeks. Two close wins over the Sydney teams have been hard fought with four quarter efforts needed.

While straight kicking by the Swans might have seen a different result, it was still a good game of fluctuating fortunes.

The Bombers were also impacted by the loss of Dyson Heppell pre match which does throw planning asunder.

They still got the bounce off halfback which is their game. Saad, McKenna, Shiel and Parish gave them run that ultimately Sydney couldn't withstand.

Their little forwards in McDonald-Tipungwuti, Zaharakis and Fantasia are kicking goals which has to take the pressure of Stringer and McKernan in the absence of Daniher.

This however will be a much pressured game as North have begun to get that reputation under Rhyce Shaw.

His tenure may be only temporary but it is telling at present. Will North be seduced into keeping him on as the permanent Head Coach or will they keep up the chase for John Longmire?

The next few weeks will tell and who knows – you could see a coach swap like the old days.

Whatever his time left with them, Shaw has made them show a hunger for the contest that wasn't there six weeks back for some reason.

Rhyce Shaw has North Melbourne flying
Rhyce Shaw has North Melbourne flying Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

It's the same players but there is much more vigour and attitude in their tackling and attack on the ball.

You can bet oppositions players are wearing more bruises post game than they were back in May.

Some of their younger players seem to be taking bigger steps now too which is also the Shaw way being more a development coach at this time.

Zurhaar and Larkey kicked ten between them in Hobart and while St Kilda aren't the measuring stick, that is a great sign. A lesser reliance on Ben Brown is a positive.

These co-tenants will make this a rollicking affair. It could be another of those thrillers. Then again these days 15 goals each is a mind-blowing score fest.

Surprised at the price differential here. North has sustained this form for a while.

Some of their wins are against some in form/good opponents.  Since they lost to Sydney they've beaten the Dogs, Tigers, Suns, Pies and Saints and only lost to GWS.

Happy to take the odds about them again.

Match Selection: North Melbourne by 12 points

Suggested Bets: North Melbourne @ $2.05


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