Where and When: Saturday, May 8 at 1:45pm, GIANTS Stadium
Last time they met: It was a thriller the last time these two sides met in Friday night footy in the midst of the festival of football that was the back half of the 2020 season. It was round 10 and Xavier O’Halloran made his long-awaited debut but after a dour first quarter where neither team scored a goal, it was a Bomber blitz in the second and by early in the third term Essendon were out to a 29-point lead. But thanks to an incredible defensive performance from Nick Haynes and Tim Taranto leading the way in the middle, the GIANTS kicked six straight goals to run out four-point winners.
TV and Online: Saturday’s match will be shown live on Channel 7 in NSW and the ACT and on Fox Footy nationally from 1:30pm.
What it means for the GIANTS: After three wins in four weeks, the GIANTS will be keen to keep their good form rolling. Back at home for the first time since round one, the GIANTS will be looking to use the home crowd to their advantage. It was a clinical midfield performance by the GIANTS against the Crows in round seven and one of the best of the season. Lachie Whitfield and Jesse Hogan made an instant impact in their first games of the season and will be relishing the opportunity to run out in front of the Orange Army for the first time in 2021.
Where’s the opposition at: The Bombers come into round eight with two wins for the season - a comprehensive victory against St Kilda and a nice win over the Magpies. They’ve also had narrow losses to the Hawks and Swans. They’re going off a 16-point loss to the Blues last round which was a shootout with Carlton kicking 19 goals and the Bombers 16. This week they celebrate Zach Merrett’s 150th game.
The number: 172. Saturday’s match will see inaugural co-captain, courageous midfielder and all-round good guy Callan Ward take over the GIANTS’ games record from Jeremy Cameron (171 games). Ward has played 231 games across his career, beginning at the Western Bulldogs before moving to the GIANTS.
In the mix: The GIANTS will have to make at least two forced changes with Sam Reid (hamstring) and Brent Daniels (hamstring) already ruled out for this week while medical sub Matt Buntine is also unavailable after suffering a concussion. Daniel Lloyd is available for selection after a quad injury suffered ahead of round one while youngsters Tanner Bruhn and Conor Stone impressed at VFL level last week. Jake Riccardi was best on ground in that game in a new role at half-back, picking up 40 touches and 19 marks.