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



Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Police Minister inspects new Tweed police station site

Sergeant Mal Kentwell, Police Minister and Deputy Premier Troy Grant, Tweed MP Geoff Provest and Tweed/Byron LAC Superintendent Wayne Starling on the construction site of the new Tweed Heads Police Station on Wharf St.

Police minister visits site of new Tweed station

Student Zone: Vietnam veteran remembers

Lindisfarne Anglican College student Mylee O'Kane.

Student Zone: Lindisfarne student uncovers Vietnam veteran memories

Latest deals and offers

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Road rage caught on Dashcam

Attack with a baseball bat caught on Dashcam

Video of a violent road rage incident in Orange last December.

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce tour Rockhampton sweet potato farm

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visit a...

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest