In the category of finding a silver lining in a cloud, the Essendon Bombers could justifiably take some solace in the outcome of their recent encounter with the Greater Western Sydney Giants in Spotless Stadium.
Even though the Bombers came up on the short end, losing by the score of 117 – 101, they have to be encouraged by the fact that at least for the early part of the game, they proved that they belong on the ground with one of the elite sides in the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership competition.
Making a good show of it, even though on GWS’s home ground, the Bombers demonstrated just how close they are to returning to the top half of the ladder after their dismal 2016 campaign.
A far cry from last year, when they earned the wooden dining implement that is also effective for dissolving sugar in one’s tea, they find themselves in the much improved ladder positon of 12th, a mere four premiership points out of the finals.
The very top of the ladder was rearranged as the Giants moved to the top for the first time in their existence, thanks to the Geelong Cats silencing of the boots of the Adelaide Crows in a 96 – 74 victory at Simonds Stadium. This is exactly the sort of match the Crows need to demonstrate their true legitimacy as flag contenders.
The Crows will get an opportunity to play host in the rematch in round 18, which is now taking on the appearance of a must-win scenario, although the Cats still have to play GWS twice in the in the remainder of the 2017 season, including the finale in Sydney.
The Crows’ look to have an easier path, with six of their final 11 games on their home ground, but they have to deal with a confident Essendon Bombers side in round 21.