Challenged this season by lower-ranked teams, Essendon won’t be taking Greater Western Sydney lightly in their AFL clash on Saturday night.
Essendon say complacency won’t be an issue when they take on lowly Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night.
The Bombers have this season made a habit of struggling when they are heavy favourites, with lower-ranked AFL teams St Kilda, Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs either upsetting or pushing the side.
Assistant coach Simon Goodwin says the Bombers won’t take their opponents lightly.
“That’s a challenge for everyone in the footy club to make sure that we come out and we consistently play the style of footy that we’d like to play,” he said.
“It starts around the contest and I thought we were fantastic in that area last week so that will be the real aspect that we’re focusing on.”
The Bombers were impressive in their 50-point win over Richmond last round which improved their record to 5-5, just one win outside the eight.
Following consecutive 100-point defeats, the 17th-placed Giants won back some respect with a seven-point loss to defending champions Hawthorn.
However they will be without suspended star forward Jeremy Cameron, who kicked 13 goals in the three previous games against Essendon.
“They were fantastic last week,” Goodwin said of the Giants.
“What we have seen when they do win games of footy is that they’re very high in contested ball and in tackles and we have to be right up in that area.”
Goodwin, who stepped in for ill head coach Mark Thompson at training, said that this was the first time this season the Bombers had been able to name an unchanged side.
Thompson woke with a cold and was kept away from training but Goodwin said he was a certainty to travel to Sydney and oversee the game.
One player still missing is key defender Michael Hurley, with Goodwin saying he hasn’t done enough training since recovering from a back injury.
That means Jake Carlisle will remain in the backline, where he dominated against the Tigers.
“He was fantastic last week and the way he’s trained he’ll play well anywhere,” Goodwin said.
“We’d like to develop both Jake and Michael as key forwards and key defenders and have that opportunity to play them at both ends of the ground.”
Meanwhile, the AFL has told Essendon that it had granted its request that any legal expenses the club pays on behalf of current and former players as part of the ASADA investigation be excluded from the club’s Total Player Payments.