Bombers primed for Dreamtime revenge

·2-min read

The Dreamtime matches have turned into a nightmare losing streak for Essendon in recent years, but the Bombers have been gifted a golden chance to finally get one back over Richmond.

Saturday night's annual Dreamtime match has been moved from the MCG to Perth's Optus Stadium due to Victoria's COVID-19 outbreak.

The Bombers will enter the sold-out match brimming with confidence on the back of a three-match winning run.

But even more important is the fact they played at Optus Stadium last Saturday, with the team coming from 29 points down to post a gutsy 16-point win over West Coast.

The Bombers have been enjoying the Perth sunshine since then.

In contrast, the Tigers have been holed up in Sydney and only flew to Perth on Friday.

Richmond have won their past 10 matches against Essendon, with six of those being Dreamtime clashes.

The average winning margin for the Tigers during that 10-match stretch has been 24.4 points.

Only one of the matches has been a blowout - Richmond's 71-point win in round 11, 2018 - and Essendon fans now sense a chance to hit back.

The Tigers juggernaut has shown signs of weakness this year, the defending premiers struggling with a 6-5 win-loss record.

Essendon have been in hot form over the past three weeks in posting wins over Fremantle, North Melbourne and West Coast.

Their 5-6 record could easily have been much better if it wasn't for tight losses to Hawthorn (one point), Sydney (three points) and GWS (two points).

Essendon coach Ben Rutten said Richmond remained a benchmark club that his team are trying to emulate.

"They've been doing what they do for a long time now so we're aspiring to get to that level," Rutten said.

Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin is expected to play despite one of his daughters being taken to hospital in Victoria this week.

Richmond will be without premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis (knee), but Marlion Pickett and Shane Edwards return to bolster the side.

Essendon lost Will Snelling to a thumb injury.

Rutten and his assistant Blake Caracella know Richmond's system inside out after serving under Tigers coach Damien Hardwick in recent years.

"There's no doubt (they might know a few of our tricks) but we'll know a few of theirs as well," a jovial Hardwick said.

"It's unfortunate we're both on the same plane coming home, I think, so it's going to be a little bit awkward for one of us.

"Hopefully we're at the front of the plane and they're at the back."