Ridley and Clarke Poised Ahead of AFL Debut Against Cats

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It would seem a distinct case of “What have we got to lose?” as the Essendon side are set to drop a couple of fresh bombers for their Round 9 game against the Geelong Cats on Saturday at the MCG.

Jordan Ridley and Dylan Clarke have been confirmed after they have shown good form playing VFL footy.

Clarke, in particular, has been a disposal machine, averaging 33 per game in five tries and many are comparing Clarke the younger to his brother Ryan of the Roos in terms of running hard and displaying confidence around the ball.

He may display confidence away from the ball and away from the oval as well, but that assessment requires more self-assuredness than we can claim to possess.

Ridley is characterised as a tall, attacking half-back with excellent foot skills; although we have not seen him walk and chew gum at the same time, something at which we are semi-adept, so long as no stairs are involved.

The two young players were taken in the 2016 draft class by the Bombers, with Clarke appearing to be the proverbial case of finding a diamond in the rough, if the 63rd pick can be described as the rough.

Ridley was the 22nd pick, so it seemed more a question of “when,” rather than “if” in his case. He had to deal with some injury issues that set his development back, as it could reasonably be assumed otherwise that a player selected at 22 for a side of Essendon’s dubious quality would see action with the seniors early and often.

Clarke told AFL.com.au, “I think we both went our own way a bit in terms of just putting our heads down and getting the work done, so I think we should both be pretty proud of how we’ve been playing. To get rewarded on me and Rids’ form in the VFL is really positive, so we both feel pretty good at the moment and we’re hoping to have a good impact on Saturday.”