Sport

Essendon puts scandal aside to play in NAB Cup triple header

Dyson Heppell marks the ball during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at Windy Hill on February 14, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.
Dyson Heppell marks the ball during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at Windy Hill on February 14, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Michael Dodge / Getty Images

THE NAB Cup gets under way tonight with the competition's most in-the-spotlight team hoping to put all the off-field dramas of the past week behind it.

Essendon takes on Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs in a triple header at Etihad Stadium and coach James Hird will be glad to be able to concentrate on tactics and interchange rather than ask questions about performance enhancing drugs and Stephen Dank.

The Bombers will go into tonight's games with a number of new men with star recruit Brendon Goddard hoping for a top performance following his move as a free agent from St Kilda last October.

Goddard will be joined by four of the Bombers' six 2012 draftees - Jason Ashby (No. 34), Dylan van Unen (No. 51), Martin Gleeson (No. 53) and Nick Kommer (No. 73).

Joe Daniher, the son of champion Essendon full-back Anthony, will have to wait to make his Bombers' debut, while captain and Brownlow Medallist Jobe Watson will also miss as he recovers from a minor knee injury.

The Bombers will come up against a Collingwood team showing a number of changes from last season but most will be familiar faces to Hird and Co.

The Magpies are set to unveil seasoned recruits Quinten Lynch, Clinton Young, Jordan Russell and Ben Hudson.

Ruckman Hudson has his 34th birthday at the end of this month and will play for his fourth AFL club will don his fourth set of AFL club, after stints at Adelaide, the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions.

Lynch and Young crossed to the Pies from West Coast and Hawthorn respectively as free agents, while Russell was traded by Carlton.

Rookie Sam Dwyer, who has been playing under coach Gary Ayres at Port Melbourne in the VFL, is also in line for a debut.

Dale Thomas (ankle) and Luke Ball (knee) will not play as they continue their rehabilitations from injury.

Defender Dale Morris, who missed all last season with a leg injury, will be joined by five debutants as the Bulldogs begin their NAB Cup campaign.

The new boys include former Port Adelaide and Fremantle defender Nick Lower, ex-Magpie Tom Young, and state-league veteran Brett Goodes, the brother of Sydney Swans co-captain Adam.

Midfielder Jackson Macrae, the No.6 pick in last year's national draft, will also play his first game, along with rookie-listed key forward Jack Redpath, 22.

Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney has reportedly had his best pre-season in four years after seemingly putting his knee problems behind him.

Tom Liberatore returns for his first game after a club-imposed four-match ban for off-field issues.
 

Topics:  afl, aussie rules, collingwood magpies, essendon bombers, nab cup, western bulldogs



Snapper grom aiming high

TALENTED: Snapper surfrider Pacha Light is representing Australia at next month's World ISA junior titles at the Azore Islands in Portugal.

Surf Scene: Pacha Light on her way to the worlds

Students sleeping rough for homeless

SCU Gold Coast chaplain Kate Morris, Masters of Social Work student Angie Walker and YHAF CEO John Lee.

Students sleeping rough for a cause

Latest deals and offers

Kim Kardashian West steals hotel bath robes

Even Kim Kardashian steals bath robes from hotels, don't feel bad

Johnny Depp 'deeply respects' Amber Heard

Celebrity

Amber Heard gives away $7 million settlement to charity

The true cost of 60 Minutes debacle revealed

It's a bill that would make even a silk tied barrister blush

This year 4 schoolboy outscores Aussies at Pokémon champs

He's now a celebrity in the schoolyard.

Kirk Douglas is defiant, fierce and still standing

VETERAN ACTOR: Kirk Douglas has had a long and varied career.

Kirk Douglas has out-lived almost all his contemporaries

The Hard Word reviews Kyzer Soze

Kyzer Soze are playing Brisbane tomorrow at the Crowbar in Fortitude Valley. Photo Contributed

Kyzer Soze summon the evil for this mighty slab of death metal

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs