After a bitter 2016 season that found the Essendon Bombers scrambling to find players in accordance with the league’s granting them the right to top-up, the Bombers are right on the cusp looking, for a spot in the top eight at the end of the home-and-away season of the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership competition.
Beating the Geelong Cats in Round 8, and another finals contender, the West Coast Eagles in Round 9 proved that their recovery was on solid ground. The stumbled in the following two rounds, but only slightly, as the combined margin in losses to the Richmond Tigers and the Greater Western Sydney Giants was only 31 points, and both those sides remain in contention moving into the last three games of the 2017 AFL season.
They literally shredded the Port Adelaide Power in Round 11 ahead of their bye with a 70-point win. The loss to the Sydney Swans was not fatal, although the loss in Round 15 to the Brisbane Lions was inexplicable.
Three straight wins against the Collingwood Magpies, the St. Kilda Saints and the North Melbourne Kangaroos showed that they were capable of generating and maintaining momentum, but a loss to the Western Bulldogs in Round 19 and a scare against the Carlton Blues created some concern.
It is unlikely that they can beat the Adelaide Crows at the Adelaide Oval in Round 21, but in this season of parity, it was hard to imagine the Magpies playing the Crows to a draw.
Finishing up with a visit to the Gold Coast Suns and a home game with the Fremantle Dockers, the Bombers could finish up at 12 – 10, which could sneak them into the finals, especially if they get a favourable bounce or two against any of the teams immediately above or behind them.
The four-way tie at 40 premiership points between the Dons, Eagles, Demons and Saints holds a lot of interest, but the Dons have the edge on percentage.