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Season Preview – Essendon Bombers
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Ins: Paul Chapman from Geelong, Shaun Edwards from GWS, Kurt Aylett from GWS.

Outs: Scott Gumbleton to Fremantle, Stuart Crameri to Western Bulldogs. David Hille (retired), Nathan Lovett-Murray (retired).

 2013 Record – 7th on ladder – 56 points – 14 wins, 8 losses.

Stat Rankings –

Positive: 1st in kicks, 1st in marks, 2nd in disposals.

Negative: 12th in tackles, 15th in opponent kicks, 14th in opponent marks, 12th in opponent disposals.

Summary:

The Bombers waved good riddance to 2013 to be welcomed into 2014 with the news that number one ruckman and occasional goal scoring forward, Tom Bellchambers, will require surgery on an injured ankle and is set to miss the opening month of the season, at the very least. This news will heap extra pressure on Patrick Ryder and, the still very green but potentially top notch, Joe Daniher, until Bellchambers is fit again anyway.

With James Hird on a gap year but his gobby wife still rattling as many cages as she can it is expected that interim coach Bomber Thompson will play Michael Hurley predominantly in the backline with Jake Carlisle moving forward.

Paul Chapman should prove to be an excellent addition to the squad, if only for a year or two while Dyson Heppell should be pushing Jobe Watson to be the Bombers’ best midfielder in 2014 if he continues to improve at the same rate as he has been.

The top goal scorer for the Bombers in the past three seasons was Stewart Crameri, who has gone to the Bulldogs. Before that it was Angus Monfries, who unfortunately for the Bombers decided to return home to Adelaide to play, superbly, for Port last season.

Where are the goals going to come from? The continued fitness of Jason Winderlich and a considerable goal contribution from new boy Paul Chapman could be vital.

The Bombers have started each of the past 3 seasons in great form before falling away badly over the final part of the season. It’s hard to see this trend continuing in 2014 as their first 4 matches are against North Melbourne and Hawthorn at Etihad, Carlton at the MCG and Fremantle in Perth.

How might the Bombers and Mark Thompson react to being 0 and 4?

This is not the year to be backing the troubled Bombers. Who knows which way their season will go?

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