Stevo's Sting: Essendon can win the flag

My colleagues on the RSN breakfast show chuckled when I declared it a couple of weeks ago, and a lame performance against Richmond rattled the confidence levels, but you can't rule out an Essendon premiership.

The Bombers have two things in their favour: the cosiest fixture in the competition, a reward for finishing last in 2016, and that it is that kind of season.

A well-known Essendon fan in the media, still in awe 30 minutes after the win against Port Adelaide on Saturday night, declared the Bombers hadn't played that well for 15 years.

It was an exhilarating throwback to the glory years.

The Bombers' midfield is more than adequate, with a real injection of pace when Orazio Fantasia pushes up the ground.

Could Dyson Heppell lift the premiership cup this year? Pic: Getty
Could Dyson Heppell lift the premiership cup this year? Pic: Getty

They have pillars in defence in Michael Hurley and Michael Hartley. Conor McKenna has become a rebounding revelation at half-back. You didn't need subtitles to work that out.

They also have the enviable luxury of mobile twin talls at the other end in Cale Hooker and Joe Daniher. The smalls near goal aren't bad either.

They have been fortunate enough to escape a damaging run of injuries. In reality, their best players have had a good run at it. If that continues, there aren't too many holes in their makeup.

Now we get to the run home, and it's very kind.

Lock in a finals appearance now – if the Bombers can manage to play at 90 per cent of the level that was good enough to obliterate the Power.

Essendon have 10 matches left. Eight of those are against teams currently outside the top eight.

One of those eight is a game against Sydney, and that match-up at the SCG after the bye looms as pivotal.

Manage to win that and a world of opportunity opens up.

The four games following that are Brisbane (Etihad), Collingwood (MCG), St Kilda (Etihad) and North Melbourne (Etihad). Pencil in four wins on the trot.

The Dogs at Etihad is suddenly a 50-50, but even if that goes down as a loss the Bombers are beautifully placed with dream run home to the finals.

They are capable of going 8-2 from here. I'm happy to call it at 7-3. They can beat the Crows in Melbourne.

That's a final result of 13 wins, 9 losses, and a potential fifth or sixth finish and a home elimination final in Melbourne. From there, anything is possible.

If they go 8-2, don't rule out top four in such an even season.

It is going to be tough, but you would be stupid to discount the Bombers from premiership contention.

PREDICTING THE RUN HOME
With GWS coach Leon Cameron's win-chance ratio theory


Sydney...

Etihad...

Loss...

45-55...

Brisbane...

MCG...

Win...

90-10...

Collingwood...

Etihad...

Win...

60-40...

St Kilda...

Etihad...

Win...

60-40...

North Melbourne...

Etihad...

Win...

60-40...

Bulldogs...

Etihad...

Loss...

45-55...

Carlton...

MCG...

Win...

70-30...

Adelaide...

Etihad...

Win...

55-45...

Gold Coast...

Metricon...

Win...

60-40...

Fremantle...

Etihad...

Win...

90-10...


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