Match day guide for the AFL Round 8 game between the Giants and the Bombers.
Who, when and where?
GWS Giants vs Essendon Bombers
Saturday 8 May 2021 at 2.10pm (AEST).
Giants Stadium, NSW.
All time head-to-head record: Played 11. Giants 5 wins. Bombers 6 wins.
Ladder position and recent form
GWS Giants 11th – 97.6% | 534 points for |547 points against | 3 wins & 4 losses | WLWWL
The Giants put together their most complete performance of the season in a commanding 67-point victory over the Crows in Adelaide last round.
It was the Giants third win in four matches and are now just one win outside the top 8.
The Giants dominated the Crows in the contest, winning clearances (41-17), contested possessions (135-114) and tackles (60-43).
Many people were writing the Giants off after losing their first three matches but they are starting to find form and are now firmly in the mix for finals.
Essendon Bombers 15th – 95.2% | 640 points for | 672 points against | 2 wins & 5 losses | LWLLW
The Bombers have plenty of young players in their side which has made for a rather inconsistent start to the season.
Their best pressure footy this year has been exciting to watch but when they’re not switched on, they leak plenty of goals.
They sit equal fourth for points scored this season but have conceded the third most points in the AFL which is why they find themselves with just two wins on the board.
Their young core should have fans excited for the future and they could cause a few upsets this year. However, it looks like 2021 will be another year without a finals win.
Players to watch
Giants – Jesse Hogan
Playing his first AFL game since Round 18 last year, Hogan was the hero in his Giants debut against the Crows.
He booted four goals to go along with 15 disposals and five marks as he formed a dangerous forward mix with Harry Himmelberg and Toby Greene.
The 26-year-old burst onto the scene in 2015, kicking 44 goals for the Demons as he went on to win the NAB AFL Rising Star that year.
He has had both injury issues and mental health struggles since then which saw his performance drop right off at the Demons and then the Dockers.
Now at his third club and out of a footy fishbowl, Hogan could be a real value pick up for the Giants and help them play finals in 2021.
Bombers – Darcy Parish
Parish was pick 5 in the 2015 AFL Draft for the Bombers and after a solid first five seasons, he has taken his game to a new level in 2021.
Playing exclusively in the midfield, Parish is now averaging career highs in disposals (26.7), inside 50s (5.1), clearances (6.6), contested (11.7) and uncontested possessions (15.3).
The 23-year-old has turned himself into one of the Bombers most important players with his best on ground display against the Magpies on Anzac Day the highlight of his season.
Parish had 42 disposals, 9 clearances and 2 goals on his way to picking up the Anzac Medal.
Parish along with Andy McGrath and Zac Merrett form the nucleus of the Bombers midfield that drops away after those three.
Expect Parish to play a key role in the battle against a Giants midfield that is in good form.
Last 5 meetings and Giants Stadium history
- 2020 Round 10 – Bombers 8.7 (55) defeated by Giants 8.11 (59) at Metricon Stadium
- 2019 Round 15 – Bombers 12.5 (77) defeat Giants 10.11 (71) at Marvel Stadium
- 2019 Round 1 – Giants 16.16 (112) defeat Bombers 5.10 (40) at Giants Stadium
- 2018 Round 10 – Giants 8.12 (60) defeated by Bombers 14.11 (95) at Giants Stadium
- 2017 Round 11 – Giants 18.9 (117) defeat Bombers 15.11 (101) at Giants Stadium
The last five meetings have been evenly balanced with the Giants winning three and the Bombers taking two.
The last two games have been thrillers with both games decided by a goal or less suggesting they match up evenly.
The 2020 game on the Gold Coast was full of drama as the Giants came from 29 points down to secure the four-point win after a controversial free kick to Callan Ward late in the match.
They have played each other seven times at Giants Stadium with the Bombers winning four and the Giants three.
Three of the Bombers wins at the venue came in the Giants first three seasons in the AFL with their other victory in 2018.
Their record would suggest they hold no fears heading to Giants Stadium where the Giants have lost their only game there so far in 2021, back in Round 1 against the Saints.
Ins and outs
After such a strong team win, the Giants would love to go into this match unchanged but unfortunately there will be a couple of forced outs.
Brent Daniels left the field in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and will miss a month, while the man who replaced him, Matt Buntine, suffered concussion and will now have to sit out 12 days. Sam Reid also injured his hamstring and is expected to miss two weeks.
Daniel Lloyd is in line to return from a quad injury to replace Daniels in the forward line while Conor Stone or Tanner Bruhn could come in after being named emergencies last week.
Shane Mumford was good again in the ruck but struggled the last time he played back-to-back matches so Matt Flynn could come in if Mummy doesn’t pull up well. Jake Riccardi had an incredible 40 disposals and 19 marks playing in the backline for their VFL side so could be in line for a recall.
The Bombers are coming off a loss to the Blues where they conceded a massive 19 goals from 57 inside 50s.
Aaron Francis is a chance to return to bolster the backline with James Stewart the most to drop out.
Andrew Phillips could return to the ruck but their other injured players in Dylan Shiel, Jye Caldwell, Sam Draper and Michael Hurley are still some time away.
Teams will be announced on Friday at 6.20. Click here to view.
Pre match predictions
Lachie ‘Litfield’: Lachie Whitfield to light up the Bombers for over 30 disposals and two goals in a best on ground display.
Hollywood Hogan: Jesse Hogan to repeat his efforts last week with at least four goals. – Denholm Samaras
Other match details
Saturday afternoon’s match will be shown live on 7mate in the ACT and NSW and on Channel 7, Fox Footy and Kayo nationally from 2pm.
The match was originally scheduled for 1.45pm but was changed to 2.10pm to allow Essendon time to fly in and out of Sydney on the same day after the recent NSW COVID cases.
For more sport: