Bombers Build Team for NAB Challenege
February 19, 2015
Essendon’s ASADA ordeal has left the club scrambling for players ahead of the 2015 NAB Challenge. 17 members from the 2012 playing list are barred from the competition after being provisionally suspended and charged with taking the banned drug, thymosin beta-4. However in order to help protect the anonymity of those men, 25 players from the Essendon’s 2012 season won’t take part in AFL’s pre-season comp. It’s left the Bombers with a big hole to fill but it appears they have put together a playing group of 20 or so players.
In the rag tag bunch of blokes includes some ex-delisted AFL players. Ex-Geelong forward Mitch Brown, Melbourne’s James Magner and former Saint Clint Jones are all but certain to start for the Bombers when the NAB Challenge kicks off, having attended medicals and meetings at the club’s headquarters. The unexpected lifeline is a chance for the trio to prove they can still play at the top level. Can any of them revive their AFL careers?
Clint Keen despite his Age
Clint Jones turned 31 at the start of the month but with his age comes a fair chunk of AFL experience. He managed 149 appearances for St Kilda. The former Saints tagger also played in back to back grand finals in 2009 and 2010. He was delisted at the end of the 2014 season with St Kilda making space for younger players. Jones was given the green light by State League club Sandringham to answer Essendon’s SOS.
Jones wasn’t the only Sandringham star Essendon were after. Zebra Mitch brown also went with the blessing of the state league side as he aims to get his career back on track. The former AFL first round draftee made little impact in 6 years with Geelong. Brown who was pick No.15 in the 2008 national draft, managed just 15 games for the Cats after struggling with injury early in his career. The key-position player booted 98 goals in 63 VFL games and was a part of the Cats 2012 VFL premiership team. At 24 Brown still has plenty to give and the forward could be a key figure up front for the Bombers.
James Jumping at the Chance
Former Demons defender James Magner is another aiming to prove he can battle the big names. Magner played just 19 games AFL matches for Melbourne before being delisted after the club’s terrible 2013 campaign. The 27 year old is now with Port Melbourne in the State League and his club were rather reluctant to let him make the move to Essendon.
The Bombers have little over a fortnight to fill their squad and then prepare for their NAB Challenge opener. They’ll face St Kilda in their first match in Morwell on March 7. It will be Essendon’s first official pre-season game of 2015. So will the club’s slapped together side have any hope?