Moore says tall Bombers attack will be a challenge

Roger Vaughan |

Peter Wright’s inclusion in Essendon’s team will give the Bombers plenty of height against the Pies.
Peter Wright’s inclusion in Essendon’s team will give the Bombers plenty of height against the Pies.

Essendon have gone tall and Collingwood have gone small with their selections for the Anzac Day AFL blockbuster at the MCG.

Peter Wright’s return from suspension is the only change for the Bombers, while the Magpies sprung a selection surprise by naming Magpies youngster Harvey Harrison for his first game this season.

The inclusion of “Two-Metre Peter” means Essendon will have plenty of height in their forward line, with Harrison Jones also playing and rucks Sam Draper and Todd Goldstein rotating through attack.

After Collingwood coach Craig McRae had doubted on Tuesday there would be any changes to the team that belted Port Adelaide last weekend, they named Harrison for only the fifth game of his career and left out Reef McInnes.

But also on Tuesday, Magpies captain Darcy Moore hinted at the opportunity that might present smaller players such as Harrison if the Magpies defence can negate the Essendon tall timber.

“It is a tall forward line and lots of aerial ability,” the Magpies defensive general said.

“So for our defence, first and foremost, (it’s) sharpening our aerial game, for sure.

“That obviously starts with me and Billy Frampton, but we have lots of hybrid-medium guys who have a massive impact in the air for us … Isaac Quaynor, Brayden Maynard and Jeremy Howe.

“(They) do a lot of the heavy lifting in that department. It’s definitely a focus, but that will present some opportunities for us as well, potentially, at ground level.”

The weather might also be a factor with Essendon’s tall forward line, with rain forecast for Thursday morning.

Collingwood regained their mojo with the win over the Power and the reigning premiers will start favourites against the developing Bombers.

A big sub-plot will be Magpies veteran Scott Pendlebury, who is on the verge of becoming the first player to have 10,000 career AFL disposals.

The Magpies have won seven out of the last 10 Anzacy Day clashes against Essendon.

Zach Merrett, who missed last year’s clash through suspension, will captain Essendon on Anzac Day for the first time.

He said Thursday will give them a reference point to how well they are improving, given Collingwood mauled them by 70 points in the Bombers’ final game of last season.