Australian Football NAB Cup Live Essendon Bombers vs St Kilda Saints Stream AFL NAB Cup match will be kick off at Morwell Recreational Reserve, VIC, Australia, Saturday 07 March 2015 online, 16.40pm (AEDT) and its broadcast on Foxtell.
Essendon Bombers has named a squad featuring just six players with more than 20 games of AFL experience for its opening NAB Challenge match against St Kilda.
The Bombers’ line-up includes 13 top-up players as well as Irish rookie Conor McKenna and teenager Jake Long, son of club legend Michael.
Essendon Bombers March 7 NAB Challenge game against St Kilda will go ahead as planned.
Recent media reports have cast doubt on the match, with a suggestion that the entire Bombers’ list could boycott the match unless an agreement can be reached ensuring that players provisionally suspended since November’s issuing of infraction notices by the AFL would not place their hopes of a backdated suspension in danger by playing against the Saints.
Despite the speculation, neither AFL Gippsland, nor La Trobe City Council have been told that the twilight match at Morwell recreation reserve was in jeopardy.
“We’ve had no contact with [the AFL] of any change to that match that’s currently scheduled,” a council spokeswoman said.
It would be a major disappointment for the region if Essendon were to pull out of the game, with a junior football clinic and other activities being organised for the day. It is five years since the last AFL pre-season match at the venue, when the Bombers beat Richmond. A crowd of more than 5000 is anticipated for what would also be James Hird’s first game back in the coach’s box since his suspension by the AFL in August 2013.
It is the second time in just three years that a regional pre-season fixture between Essendon and St Kilda has been placed in peril. In 2012, the Bombers had to withdraw from a NAB Cup match against the Saints in Wangaratta after their chartered planes were unable to land due to poor weather. St Kilda ended up playing an intra-club game at the drenched Wangaratta showgrounds, and were eventually handed the match points after it was initially declared a draw.
Meanwhile, betting agencies are again showing caution as the plight of the 34 current and former Essendon players hangs in the balance.
Unlike the other 17 clubs, bookmakers are not taking bets on how many games the Bombers will win in 2015 or whether they will miss the finals until there is clarity around player availability. While some odds are available for the Bombers’ round-one clash against Sydney on April 4, the AFL’s official wagering partner BetEasy has decided against framing a market.
“We will wait to see how everything plays out and then we will upload a market for the match,” a BetEasy spokesman said.
Markets for NAB Challenge matches typically do not open until squads are announced, meaning the Morwell game is not dramatically affected regardless of the Essendon team’s composition. The Bombers are also scheduled to play pre-season matches against GWS at Spotless Stadium on March 13, and Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on March 20.
Approximately 18 of the 34 players issued with infraction notices remain on the Essendon list, meaning their ability to field a team would be severely impacted by a ban. The AFL anti-doping tribunal hearing that began last December, l has been adjourned until February 16 as closing submissions are being filed.
Essendon Bombers: Paul Chapman, Nick O’Brien, Jason Ashby, Shaun Edwards, Jackson Merrett, Jonathon Giles, Elliott Kavanagh, Kyle Landford, Jake Long, Marty Gleeson, Lauchlan Dalgleish, Shaun McKernan, Conor McKenna, Marcus Marigliani, James Polkinghorne, Aaron Heppell, Josh Freezer, Anthony Tipungwuti, Jordan Schroder, Sam Tagliabue, Clint Jones, Mitch Brown, Mitch Clisby, Jared Petrenko, James Magner, Sam Michael
St Kilda Saints: Tom Hickey, Jack Steven, Eli Templeton, Seb Ross, Luke Dunstan, Blake Acres, Tommy Lee, Leigh Montagna, Jarryn Geary, Jack Newnes, Billy Longer, David Armitage, Luke Delaney, Sean Dempster, Sam Fisher, Tom Curren, Josh Bruce, Tim Membrey, Paddy McCartin, Hugh Goddard, Nathan Wright, Josh Saunders, Jack Lonie, Ahmed Saad, Cameron Shenton, Jack Sinclair, Darren Minchington, Maverick Weller,Jason Holmes