AFL 1 year ago

Future is bright at Tullamarine

  • Future is bright at Tullamarine

    MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - APRIL 16: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti of the Bombers runs with the ball away Rhys Stanley of the Cats during the round four AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 16, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The Essendon Football Club has already been on the end of some heavy defeats this season, and we're sure that there will be a few more to come as the year continues to unfold.

But if there's one thing we've learned from the first eight rounds of the season, is that the Bombers have a very bright future while some of their biggest names sit out the season.

According to AFL Player Ratings, speedy defender Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and number five draft pick Darcy Parish are ranked #1 and #2 for first year players throughout the competition, while Zach Merrett is ranked the number one player in the competition under the age of 21, this season.

Merrett has been outstanding in such a trying period for the Bombers, averaging 22 disposals over his career, including averaging 28 disposals this season.

McDonald-Tipungwuti's, better known as "Walla" around his team-mates has quickly become a cult hero at the Bombers with his lightning pace and exquisite ball use, that sees him go at 81% disposal efficiency for the year thus far.

The 23 year old has worked harder than anyone at the club in the off-season, to prove his fitness and show that he can play at the elite level.

Parish on the other hand has come into the AFL system, like he has been playing for the last ten years, with the 18 year old averaging 23 disposals in his first year of football, gathering another 24 against the Kangaroos on Saturday afternoon.

But it's the lesser known players that are also playing their part.

Kyle Langford played a major part in the Bombers resurgence against the Kangaroos on the weekend, as did second gamer Mason Redman who created a number of chances around goal. 

While having an up and down season, Joe Daniher still remains just 22 years of age and has shown with a bit more maturity that he will a force in years to come.

Defender Michael Hartley has taken to AFL life like water off a ducks back, with having conceded just 12 goals in his first six games, six of those coming against Lance Franklin, who is arguably the competition's most in-form forward. 

South-Australian Orazio Fantasia has also shown his skill, both in front of goal and from defence in his 15 career games and brings a certain x-factor to the team.

Don't forget number six draft pick Aaron Francis either who the Bombers hold high hopes for and should return to the VFL this weekend after recovering from injury.

Throw in Dyson Heppell and Travis Colyer, who are also under the age of 25, then the Bombers list is starting to really take shape. 

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