In from the cold?

Time has come: The Bombers may be ready to unleash Joe Daniher (right). Photo: Wayne TaylorAs Matthew Lloyd called for Essendon to unveil Joe Daniher in Friday night’s blockbuster against Carlton, the Bombers have admitted they need to improve their efficiency inside the attacking 50 if they are to regain their early-season groove.
Nanjing Night Net

Midfielder David Zaharakis says it is important the Bombers, who continue to win the inside-50 counts despite dropping three of their past four matches, had greater reward for their midfield toil.

”I think it’s a combination of forward-50 entries, and also the forward-50 movement and the forwards as a group,” Zaharakis said on Tuesday.

”We just need to get more efficient. We’re winning the inside-50 entries, we’re winning time in forward half, and they’re the stats you want to win. But you also want to be efficient, kick goals and reward your team’s work up the field.”

As Zaharakis points out, the Bombers are doing well through the middle of the ground. They are ranked No. 1 for inside-50s but then score only 49 per cent of the time – ranked 11th in the competition. They are ranked fourth for goals, averaging 15.6, behind Hawthorn, Geelong and North Melbourne.

Another area the Bombers may need to focus on is marks inside 50. They are ranked ninth, averaging 12.1 per game, which indicates they are wasting their good work in the middle. Zaharakis denied claims the forward line was dysfunctional.

”We’ve just got to tweak a few things where the forwards probably have to move a bit more together and not all running to the one spot,” he said.

There are solutions to a dearth of marks inside 50. Key marksman Michael Hurley (ankle) is set to return, while Lloyd wants Daniher to be blooded in what remains one of the competition’s fiercest rivalries.

Lloyd said Scott Gumbleton, subbed off against the Swans with an ankle injury, could make way for the lean Daniher.

The father-son selection has been in strong form in the VFL, impressing with his marking and ability to convert. This includes a bag of five goals against Collingwood and three hauls of four. He kicked a pair against Geelong on Saturday.

The Bombers, however, have consistently said they will not rush Daniher’s development, and are mindful of the impact that being crunched by senior bodies could have on him. Lloyd said the time was right for Daniher, the son of Anthony, to be unleashed.

”I think the time is right for Joe Daniher, Friday night, to play. Put him in Friday night,” Lloyd said on Footy Classified.

Defender Courtenay Dempsey has a chance to face the Blues as he recovers from a heavy clash with Swan Nick Smith.

Dempsey threw up blood after he was hit. While he escaped serious injury, he had to return to Melbourne from Sydney by car.

Midfielder Ben Howlett (who had rested after suffering from a shoulder complaint) is expected to be fit for selection.

Leroy Jetta and Dyson Heppell are battling ankle injuries but are expected to play.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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