Dire consequences for the loser
This is a blockbuster in name only, as it is the first time the bottom two teams have met on a Friday night since Richmond played Melbourne in round 12, 2007. Both were touted as finalists, but only the Sydney Swans have recovered from a 0-3 start to make finals since 2010 (if you discount Carlton’s elevation to finals in 2013 at Essendon’s expense as a result of the supplements scandal). To make matters worse for under-pressure coach John Worsfold, the Bombers have not started a season with three losses since 1967, although they have started years with two losses and a draw on three occasions in that time, including their famous 1993 season.
Low on scoring, low on confidence
Supposed to be the most exciting clubs of 2019, they are the two lowest-scoring teams in the competition after two rounds. The key forwards of both clubs (Essendon’s Mitch Brown and Shaun McKernan and Melbourne’s Tom McDonald and Sam Weideman) have struggled to impose themselves on the contest, with Melbourne’s effort to only score 40 points from 72 inside 50s against Geelong deplorable. Brown has been dropped but the Bombers’ small forwards are struggling too, with Orazia Fantasia kicking seven behinds without scoring a goal so far, while Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has lost his spark.
How do Essendon kick-start their season?