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Tougher draw OK: Bombers

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Jake Niall

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Can Carlton take down Collingwood?

Rohan Connolly takes a look at the buzz around Carlton and lays down his tips for this weekend's games.

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ESSENDON might face a more difficult road to September than some competitors this year due to the lopsided draw, but it says it has no complaints about the schedule and will make no excuses.

Unlike Adelaide and North Melbourne, which have been drawn to play Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast twice each and have been handed a significant advantage, Essendon plays the struggling expansion teams only once each and, as such, arguably faces a harder task to maintain or better its eighth placing last year. Even Sydney, which finished sixth, gets to play GWS twice and is virtually assured of an ''extra'' win and a likely boost in percentage.

But Essendon chairman David Evans said the club had ''no excuses'' and had a culture of not complaining about the fixture, which the Dons were happy with.

David Evans.

David Evans. Photo: Paul Rovere

''The draw's the draw. You get served up who you're going to play,'' said Evans. ''You start planning for the fixture and, no excuses, you turn up to play who you're drawn to play against and you hopefully get to a position where you're going deep in September.

''Honestly, this is very much part of our culture at the place, we really don't discuss the draw. Obviously, [we] have things we put to the AFL right at the start like every other club, like where we'd like to play and when and all that sort of stuff. As you know, you get some input into that but we were pretty happy with our draw.''

Evans agreed with the notion that a financially helpful schedule was not necessarily an easier ''football'' draw. Essendon is assured of playing Collingwood and Carlton twice each year - and it gate shares with both clubs - in what has turned out to be a more challenging fixture due to the strong on-field position of its major rivals.

The Dons also play North, Richmond and Port Adelaide twice this year, but don't have the huge boost of two games against the expansion teams or Melbourne.

The club's major off-field initiative - its move to a new administrative and training base at Melbourne Airport - is on track in terms of planning and funding, the Dons having already raised about $18.5 million of the $25 million that their new base will cost.

Evans said they were on track to be training at the airport by November. ''We've got to raise about $25 million and we're about 18 and a half at the moment.''

The club received about $6 million from the federal government for its new airport facility and raised an impressive $5 million or so from high net-worth benefactors and a further $1 million from members and coteries, with the AFL also contributing. ''We've got a fair way to go and we want to deliver it without debt,'' said Evans. The Dons are still sweating on whether they will receive state government funding for the facility, which is based around their pitch for multicultural and indigenous programs, as well as work with the Sudanese community. The club has started to look for a naming-rights sponsor as well. ''We're hoping to have something tied up by the time the boys start training in November,'' he said.

15 comments

  • Essendon is not the only team that only gets to play the two new teams once. Collingwood only gets to play them once and in fact has a harder draw than Essendon, so Im not sure what the purpose of this article was...

    Commenter
    dan
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    April 12, 2012, 9:21AM
    • Collingwoods draw is relatively easy as they are a better side than most of the competition.

      This article is written comparing Essendon to its current peers in terms of ability.(other sides that will struggle to make the 8)

      Commenter
      Tom
      Date and time
      April 12, 2012, 11:16AM
    • Dan, you're a muppet. Re-read the article.

      Commenter
      Hoss
      Date and time
      April 12, 2012, 1:28PM
    • The purpose of the article Dan is to upset the sensitivities of people like yourself mate, who seem to think that onoy other people and other clubs are complaining... The article is also there to enable folks with manic inferiority complexes to make themselves feel less insecure about their minimal worth by dumping on the EssendonFC. This is understandable, as these folks need a footy club to be arrogant, as they hardly warrant even being arrogant just by themselves... Enjoy mate.

      Commenter
      Raddles
      Location
      Australia
      Date and time
      April 12, 2012, 4:17PM
  • as an essendon member i'm concerned with who we play but more about when we play, all the night games mean i cant take my little one to the footy cause the game finishes too late.

    Commenter
    AD75
    Date and time
    April 12, 2012, 12:01PM
    • Gee for a moment there it looked as though Essendon had nothing to complain about other than its shabby list. Now the fixture. What next?

      Commenter
      Michael
      Location
      Fitzroy
      Date and time
      April 12, 2012, 12:54PM
      • Michael, here's a thought.... ever considered reading the article??

        Commenter
        Kevin S
        Location
        Blacktown
        Date and time
        April 12, 2012, 2:02PM
      • Michael, both you and Dan seem to have come from the same school. In no way does it say Essendon is complaining about the draw. To the contrary in fact where David Evans is practially embracing the draw. Perhaps before posting ridiculous comments, read the article properly so you can understand it.

        Commenter
        Luca
        Date and time
        April 12, 2012, 4:24PM
    • I'd rather earn our way to the finals than freeload off the back of the weakest teams. It's about being a genuine contender, not a pretender.

      Good response from Evans.

      Commenter
      Kevin S
      Location
      Blacktown
      Date and time
      April 12, 2012, 2:11PM
      • There's little point getting into the eight with 'free' wins if you aren't ready to win in September. I say bring on two games against Collingwood, Geelong, Hawthorn, Geelong and the Eagles. If Essendon make it they will deserve their spot.

        Commenter
        Bring it on
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        April 12, 2012, 2:45PM

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