Essendon facing good problem amid tall reshuffle ahead of clash

Todd Goldstein was a late withdrawal and replaced by young forward Nate Caddy, who made a strong impression. However, the veteran ruckman is now fit and ready to play, presenting Essendon coach Brad Scott with a selection dilemma.

Scott faces a challenging decision at the selection committee as Essendon prepares to face Geelong in the annual Country Game on Saturday night. Goldstein missed the last match against West Coast but is now available, while Caddy’s performance adds to the team’s forward options alongside other tall players like Peter Wright, Kyle Langford, Harrison Jones, and Jake Stringer.

Scott views the task of determining the best team structure, particularly with a surplus of tall forwards, as a positive challenge for the Bombers heading into Round 16.

Scott confirmed that it’s unlikely the veteran with 327 games under his belt would feature at the VFL level, while Nate Caddy remains a strong contender to retain his spot.

“He’s an exciting talent,” Scott remarked on Wednesday.

“We have several tall forwards, and how we structure that remains undecided. However, I’d prefer to have this kind of problem rather than searching for additional forwards.”

“Caddy did everything he could… We’d like to keep playing him. If he doesn’t play, it won’t be due to his performance or effort. It’ll depend on our week-to-week structure.”

“He’ll certainly play a significant role in the second half of the year and in our future plans.”

Despite uncertainty over Geelong’s ruck situation, which saw defender Sam De Koning trial in place of Rhys Stanley, Mark Blicavs, and Toby Conway against Carlton, the Bombers coach expressed confidence in their preparation for Saturday.

“I’m not sure if it’s a threat or an opportunity,” Scott remarked as he prepares to face his brother Chris.

“While Geelong’s lineup isn’t completely settled, it does pose some planning challenges for us.”

“We’ll put in the work to prepare accordingly and decide on the best approach based on the potential lineup they field against us.”

Essendon also needs to ready themselves to confront Cats captain Patrick Dangerfield, who had his one-game suspension overturned at the Tribunal on Tuesday.

Dangerfield had been penalized for a dangerous tackle on Sam Walsh, where the Blues midfielder’s head hit the ground with his arms pinned.

Geelong argued that Patrick Dangerfield, the 2016 Brownlow medallist, did everything possible to fulfill his duty of care toward Sam Walsh, a sentiment Brad Scott shared at the time of the incident.

“I watched it live and didn’t think he had a case to answer for in the first place,” Scott stated.

“I tried to stay level-headed… I just assumed he would be playing, and that’s been confirmed.”

“The AFL’s expectation that you must release an arm, I think, is reasonable.”

“When a player with his arm pinned doesn’t get slammed into the ground, or if that happens and leads to a suspension, that part is quite clear.”

“There’s some nuance for players in those situations, but I believe ‘Danger’ demonstrated his duty of care and attempted to support Walsh.”


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