THIS is just business for Essendon.
The Bombers’ AFL team played amid the added hype and emotion of Anzac Day at the MCG on Thursday.
Their Victorian Football League match in Ballarat today is like the finishing note before they sign out and move on for another week.
They will field a string of players pushing for AFL selection – like Tayte Pears, Jake Melksham, and Joe Daniher, the athletic tall who was almost granted an AFL debut this week.
North Ballarat Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said the VFL was no longer just about developing lists when it came to AFL clubs.
Geelong set the tone last year by winning the VFL premiership, Collingwood made clear it is also after glory at both levels and now Essendon, in its first year returning as a stand-alone club, wants to follow suit.
“Their recruiting of Matthew Bate (Melbourne) and Josh Toy (Gold Coast), both from AFL lists solely for their VFL team tells me Essendon does not want to just rely on its own boys – they want to develop their own boys alongside players with a few seasons’ experience,” FitzGerald said.
“This is a normal day at work for the Essendon Football Club ... if people want to see an AFL club in operation close-up, they should get down to Eureka Stadium.”
FitzGerald said his Selkirk Roosters must grit their teeth.
To help preparations, FitzGerald went armed with a notebook and pen to the MCG on Thursday, analysing exactly how the Bombers played their extra man behind the ball, and how they dealt with Collingwood’s loose man in the same role.
The Roosters finished strong against Bendigo Gold last week but FitzGerald said there was still fine-tuning in efficiency forward of centre, preparing players to kick longer for deeper entry and potential marks.
They must be ready to tackle Essendon.
The VFL will commemorate Anzac Day with The Last Post and national anthem before the senior match.