Early New Years Eve...

New Years Eve is always tough for us. By nature (preference) we are not raging night owls, who are willing / wanting to kick on to the wee small hours. That sentiment helps us look after the animals on our property who don't like noise, explosions, flares etc. And I think we righty feel a responsibility to tend to them.

However do we like a life away from domestic responsibilities, so an arrangement was made to meet up with our friends Chris and Julie Mason in Mt Martha for some pre-dinner drinks and snacks to celebrate our friendship and to toast the year ahead.

A loose timetable of 3.30PM to 6PM was assigned to the transaction. As an ominous sign, we were 5 minutes early…. Just to be sociable, I bought along two bottles of wine, and as a decent card player, Chris saw me my two and raised me another! We also bought smallgoods, cheese and biscuits and in turn they were trumped by Julie with gourmet pies, sautéed chorizo and crudite.

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The host and hostess - 2014

After many tall tales, some almost believable stories and laughs it was about 8.30PM. Robin keenly sensed that perhaps afternoon tea was almost over (!) and decided we should leave, much to the chagrin of our hosts. I suspect they had BBQ duck and lobster ready if we had stayed…

Although I put up a modest fight, it probably was time to go home while I could still find the driveway… But what a great afternoon snack! Many, many thanks to the Masons for being such gracious hosts and wonderful friends.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Devil Bend Reservoir Visit

Good evening,

Late in the year we saw a Mornington Peninsula promotion about the Devil Bend Reservoir Park. As it was only 15 minutes from home and we hadn't seen it, we figured we should go check it out.

There are several short-ish (less than 3 kms) walks around the banks with some interesting vistas and flora. The local Park Ranger was in attendance and was chatty and engaging, willing answer any question visitors may have.

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A cliff jumper and a fly fisherman, gotta love diversity! - 2014

While predominantly flat, some nice angles and pictures can be had if you can be imaginative and creative. I can't (!) and these pictures were all taken around lunch time. I am sure the locations would look much better early AM or late PM.

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A secluded bay - 2014

I would whole heartedly recommend a visit to the Devil Bend Reservoir Park for an easy, photogenic walk with excellent facilities. Enjoy, we did!

Bye for now, BomberBoy

The latest toy

Our poor old ride-on mower was getting a bit tired… Dodgy steering, missing headlights, no handbrake, and a cutting deck / spindle on it's last legs…

So a new weapon was required. Despite the above issues, the old workhorse had done a great job on our property for 12 years so we decided on the latest tech from the same supplier, the Australian Greenfields brand.

Now with a V-twin 20HP Briggs & Stratton engine and lots of sensible engineering it will last us anther dozen or so years. Today's first outing was extremely pleasant with the additional power, comfortable seat / steering wheel combo and cutting deck clutch engagement all working a treat!

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Promotional photo only, DO NOT mow in slip ons! - 2014

Robin's Birthday Celebrations

Robin's birthday celebrations kicked off with a delightful dinner at The Rocks in Mornington with Chris & Julie Mason. Great food and wonderful company. Saturday was quiet but we headed off to Trofeo Estate Winery for a 'champagne' breakfast on Sunday morning.

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Robin celebrating at Trofeo Estate Winery, at breakfast! - 2014

On Thursday we enjoyed lunch with Margaret Cleland and Libby Cleland at Veraison Restaurant at Bluestone Lane Winery. The view from the table across the vines was superb as was the food.

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Family birthday lunch at Veraison - 2014
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Happy birthday Sweetie - 2014

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Mt Eliza CFA Open Day

Robin and I attended the Mt Eliza CFA Open Day today, especially to hear a community briefing ahead of the upcoming fire season. The information was very informative and well delivered. I stayed for most of the 60 minute update, only slipping out for 10 minutes to sample the wares at their sausage sizzle!

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CFA community briefing - 2014

In addition, the fire trucks were available for inspection, with the adults asking technical questions about the pretty impressive onboard technology while the children were happy to wear their plastic fire hats and crawl all over the trucks. As luck would have it, in the middle of the update, an emergency call came through and the fire station scrambled their two units which was an exciting sight for all those in attendance.

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The team on the move - 2014

Thanks to the CFA for putting on the day and helping the community to help themselves.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

My 60th birthday celebrations

I guess it had to happen. I got old. Really old. Friday November 21 2014 saw me turn 60. Yep I am now officially a senior…

The big day dawned overcast with the prospect of clearing later in the morning. Robin had organised lunch at my favourite seafood restaurant, Rubiras in South Melbourne, where some crisp white wine and a tasty King Island Crayfish Mornay greeted me. And I reciprocated enthusiastically!

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Yummy, my favourite - 2014

And the evening turned out to be just glorious so we ate on the back patio, more seafood with BBQ snapper fillet and yes some more crisp white wine!

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Snapper & riesling, perfect - 2014

But more was still to come. On Saturday Robin organised a 'surprise' party at The National Golf Club with ten of our best friends in attendance. What a great day. A window table with a gorgeous view over the links, delightful food and wine and superb company. If that wasn't enough, the highlight was my birthday cake, a handmade replica of my Porsche GT3 racing car. Just awesome! Well done Robin for the superbly secretive organisation and to my friends for their wonderful support and fellowship over the years.

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The luncheon guests on the balcony of The National Golf Club - 2014
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Birthday boy and the Flying #48 birthday cake - Photo by Julie Mason 2014

Bye for now, BomberBoy

My new iPhone 6

Good evening,

This story starts a couple of months ago. My trusty iPhone 5 developed a 'stain' on the camera lens that wouldn't go away and my battery performance meant using the after market extender battery almost mandatory. Then came the recall of certain iPhone 5 models for a battery replacement. I checked the serial number range and found mine was indeed faulty. I took it to an Apple Store, who physically tested it and indeed it needed a new one. I wandered the mall for 30 minutes while they swapped batteries and returned to a very glum looking 'genius' who advised that in removing the battery, they inadvertently ripped a couple of cables out so I would actually get a new iPhone 5 rather than just a new battery. Woo hoo!

So I wasn't really in a rush for the '6' as I was flush with enthusiasm for my new '5' that was suitably upgraded to IOS 8 and did indeed feel fresh and new. Robin's old 3GS was started to show it's age so I started to study the specs and availability of the new model more closely.

I finally decided to chase one seriously last week and studiously tracking Apple's iPhone availability tool, and I found a 128GB model in white / silver at the Apple Doncaster store. I staked my claim in the morning and duly arrived to execute the transaction and left the store a hamper camper. That happiness turned to something darker when I got home and tried to swap SIM cards and set the phone up. The screen was DOA. Not happy Jan!

A terse phone call later that day allocated me a replacement but it was a three hour round trip to pick up the device. It had to be done, I did it, stayed in store to see if this one actually worked! Suitably satisfied I returned home and completed the set-up process with minimal aggravation.

Was it worth it, well read on!

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The Panorama function is still effective - 2014

Now that I have it, I love it! Bet you are all shocked by that…

It took a couple of days to get over the increased size (length / width) versus the iPhone 5 as well as get comfortable with the smaller depth, even with the Apple leather cover. I would be nervous about the phone slipping out of my hands without some sort of grippy cover.

The screen appears better but not staggeringly so in day-to-day app usage. I tend not to consume videos on my phone where perhaps the better screen would be really noticeable. A big plus is the Touch Id feature. It took just a few minutes to setup my thumb and forefinger and it has worked flawlessly since. Bye-bye passcode!

Performance is fantastic, very snappy in most apps and a noticeable step up from the 5. It responds more like my MacBook Pro than a 'laggy' phone.

I always believe in getting the biggest, fastest electronic device you can afford as one can't have too much grunt or too much space. So, the128GB option was ticked and I can continue my undisciplined practice of adding apps and any music I like and still have some free space to play with.

The Photo app and enhanced camera are both real highlights. My poor old point & shoot camera is languishing in the bag now. If and when the iPhone gets a semi-decent optical zoom then that will be the death of P&S cameras IMHO.

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Pretty crisp for a phone & the car is uber-cool as well - 2014

With Telstra (my Australian telco provider) I am on a two year plan which puts me on Apple's 'whole number' iPhone release cycle and that seems to suit me just fine. I get a mid-cycle bump with an IOS upgrade and then a two-model bump for the phone hardware which keeps my tech-geek side happy and I don't feel that I am wasting too much money on what is still, just, a mobile phone. Albeit in the case of the iPhone 6 and IOS 8, a very, very good one indeed!.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Vale: John Maxwell Humphries 1926 - 2014

It is with great sadness that I share the passing of my Dad, who died peacefully on Sunday 21 September 2014. He will always be remembered and forever missed.

Dad (JPG)

The following is the text of my Eulogy at Dad's funeral service held at Tobin Brothers Mt Martha on Thursday September 25, 2014.

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John Maxwell HUMPHRIES

My Eulogy for Dad - 25 September, 2014


Good morning everyone and thank you all so much for your attendance and support today.

Earlier this week, I was thinking about what to say this morning and researching the music choices for the service when I noticed that ‘My Way’ was a popular bereavement song. I couldn’t really understood why until I studied the lyrics a little closer.

‘What is a man
What has he got
If not himself
Then he has nought’

Hmmmm, OK, the words ‘If not himself’ led me to thinking about what was the essence of Dad? What were the attributes, the principles in his life that I saw, and felt, and lived with over the last nearly sixty years?

So the following few words are about my Dad. Not Father, not Pop, not the Old Man, certainly not Max, but Dad. He was always, simply, ‘Dad’.

I have distilled everything down to what I have called ‘The Four Pillars’


- The first pillar is ‘Loyalty & Respect’

- Firstly in his working life. Almost everyone in this room would know of Dad’s love affair with the Ansett Airlines company in general and Sir Reginald Ansett in particular over more than 30 years. He gave everything he had to the company and it was a period in history in which those sorts of efforts and contributions were responded to in kind. Apart from the debilitating effects of his migraine headaches during much of this period he loved the job, loved the notoriety that came from his close working relationship with ‘the boss’ and he had a real passion for driving, for the transport industry and for flying. This is certainly where my passion for driving and cars came from.

- He demonstrated loyalty and respect in his social life. As we have heard Dad was an eager participant in social activities especially mid-life onwards. He was an excellent listener with an engaging smile that added depth and breadth to social situations, and to those conversations in which he was involved. In short, people wanted him around their social circle. Dad was non-judgmental, saw the positives in people and never had a bad word to say about anyone. Ever. If he didn’t agree or get on with someone he would just shrug it off with an ‘Oh well, that’s OK’ or ‘That’s just their way’, with no remonstrations or recriminations.

- His personable and respectful style allowed him to mix and move easily through age groups. He related well to small children, teenagers, their parents, people his own age and those more senior. Many of our friends are not only here today to support Robin and I, but for themselves to farewell Dad who they have got to know so well over the years;

- He had respect for people AND creatures. Somebody once said ‘Don’t trust anyone that doesn’t like animals’. Dad was a bit of a pied-piper where animals were concerned. Soothing of voice, engaging in action, he enjoyed the simplicity and naturalness of their responses and behaviours.

- Finally (and critically) he had respect for himself. It is hard to impress, attract or engage others, if you don’t respect yourself. Dad never wavered from his standards of upstanding behaviour, personal grooming and appropriate sobriety. He looked after himself and treated HIMSELF like he would treat others and would like them to treat him in turn.


- The Second Pillar is that of Family

- What I remember of life growing up was really just a ‘bubble’ - safety, serenity, love, food was plentiful, my clothes always fresh and I can honestly never remember it raining as a kid! I didn’t have a care in the world, I knew, with absolute certainty, that if anything ‘bad’ was to happen, Dad would fix it, organise it, deal with it or just generally make it go away. Now I would come to understand later that there must have been plenty happening behind the curtain that I didn’t see to make this idyllic scene function but it was Dad’s (and Mum’s) familial role to make that happen. To my eternal gratitude.

- Dad wanted his family to be happy and regularly made sacrifices so that Mum or I would get what we wanted if there was a ‘conflict’. He was often the peacemaker!

- He was also a teacher, and sadly perhaps there were some lessons I didn’t learn as well as I should have from him. He shared his knowledge with a quiet patience and he would install confidence in me after I had made a mistake or be positive when I was trying new things. Two examples stand out.

One was when I was in my mid-teens in Strathmore. We had a steep driveway down to some parking spots in the rear. Mums old Beetle was at the top of the drive way and I asked if could drive (or roll it) down the hill and park it. That would be OK, so off I went but mis-judged the distance from the passenger’s side door to the retaining brick wall and ‘scraped’ the side of the VW pretty badly. Hearing the noise Mum and Dad rushed out, Mum berating me for probably speeding and being irresponsible, while Dad leapt to my defence, arguing that it was important that I got some driving practice to improve my skills and that I would learn from this mistake while assuring me that the car would be ‘easily’ fixed. Even then I knew that wasn’t entirely true…

Then, later in life I discussed aspects of my working life with Dad from time to time. But as he had a no real clue what I actually did for a living he couldn’t really offer any ‘professional’ assistance. But when it came to me needing help with a decision, he would patiently listen, check that I had had done my research on the subject, made sure that I had considered the wider implications of any decision on Robin, and always concluded with a variation of ‘You seem to have thought it through son, I know you will make the best decision when the time comes. Good luck with it’. I always left those conversations with a clear head and a warm inner glow of confidence to move forward.


- The Third Pillar is Work Ethic

- No one who ever met Dad would be surprised at references to his work ethic, which I am sure he inherited from his father.

- Dad worked hard, he worked long hours and he worked multiple jobs to support his family. He worked with purpose, with skill, with determination and with perseverance;

- He worked diligently to be successful at each task, in each job, for each ‘career’ which subsequently led to the overall success of his working life

It may or may not be true now, but throughout Dad’s life, opportunities existed and the harder you worked, the luckier you got and he deserved all that came his way resulting from his mental and emotional focus and physical exertions.


- The Fourth Pillar is Self Worth


- Dad had a clear perception and understanding of his position in life and was most comfortable with his ‘lot’. He was not a dreamer, perhaps not even an optimist but he was always happy & positive

- He did have modest but definite aspirations for himself and his family. He knew want he wanted to achieve, understood what he was good at and used that knowledge to set, plan and reach his objectives and life goals

- He was predictable in a positive way (not to be confused with boring), and dependable in the sense that people could rely on him for actions or support knowing that he would always follow through on his commitments.


At the end, until his final illness, Dad grew old gracefully - he stayed the same, just got older, a little greyer, a little slower but with the Four Pillars of Respect, Family, Work and Self still guiding his life and clearly on show.

The final musical selection today will be a song by George Harrison titled ‘All Things Must Pass’. It is a moving piece of loss and renewal and of transitioning from the darkness to the light. There is a line that reads:

‘Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
It's not always going to be this grey’

Perhaps today will carry our ‘daylight’. While our hearts have been full of sadness and grief over recent times, maybe those feelings can be replaced, and our spirits refreshed and renewed, with happy memories of the joy of Dad’s life. A life that was well lived, and lived well.

I will miss you Dad. Love you. Rest in Peace.

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Many thanks to all those who attended the simple and respectful ceremony beautifully led by the celebrant Nola Coulthurst, and for the wishes and thought of those who could not join in the day. All of your support was of great comfort. And a very special thank you to Bruce Riley, a life long friend of our family and Dad's Godson. Thank you Bruce for the contribution of your very personal and moving tribute and remembrances of Dad. And while we did not want to dwell on Dad's recent illness, Robin and I would like to thank Dr John MacKenzie for his personal and professional and attendance to Dad and to at the management and staff at Somercare in Somerville for making the final years of Dad's life as comfortable as possible.

Attendees

  • Greg & Robin Humphries
  • Bruce & Marie Riley
  • Pam & Greg Hobbs
  • Elaine Sheppard
  • John & Carol Sheppard
  • Russell & Trudy Sheppard
  • Pam Webb
  • Julie Coleman
  • Chris Humphries
  • David Humphries + 2
  • Matthew
  • Pam MacKenzie
  • Denise Banks
  • Monica Clifford
  • Darryl Luttrell
  • Reuben Nicholson
  • Peter & Peta Garriga
  • Rod, Louise & Catherine Prior
  • Julie Mason
  • Linley & Helen Baxter
  • Joyce & Rob Taylor
  • Elva Parker
  • Sue (SomerCare) + 1 (36)

Apologies
  • Margaret Cleland
  • Chris Mason (Flowers w/Julie)
  • Libby Cleland (Flowers)
  • Geoff O’Neill
  • John MacKenzie
  • Beverly & Gerard Goris
  • Margaret Norrish

Dad and Mum will be interred at the Mornington Cemetery in Mt Martha later this year and may they both Rest In Peace together. Forever.

Bye for now, Greg

Bad luck Bombers...

Good afternoon,

Unfortunately the Essendon Football Club's 2014 campaign came to an end on Saturday night with a 12 point loss to North Melbourne. Sadly we were well up (33 points in fact) during the third quarter but unfortunately couldn't go on and close it out. P7 for the season is a pretty fair result. My year end summary and player and coaching ratings will be released piece by piece.

Who was Impressive:

Dyson Heppell was a running, possession grabbing machine all year. Seems 'slow-ish' but is always around the ball with time to use it. His disposal was a big improvement on 2013. A standout performer for the year and should run a place in the Brownlow and will win his first Crichton Medal.

Paddy Ryder's ruck work / palming skills was under-rated by non-Bomber watchers this year. His leap and accurate taps were exciting to watch at centre clearances. Paddy also kicked valuable goals when he went forward.

Michael Hibberd and Cale Hooker were absolute rocks in defence. It is one thing to be negative in defence, but it is a rare skill that combines that with intercept marking and run off half back. These guys were brilliant.

Who wasn't...:

We have a middling (pardon the pun) range of mid-fielders who I don't believe have come on enough. Melksham, Howlett being two who just need to step up and take more games by the scruff. Too invisible for too long in games.

I probably hoped that Paul Chapman would make a bigger impact on the scoreboard than he did. Maybe my expectations were just too high. 'Chappy' did provide leadership and competitiveness however.

Harsh call but Patrick Ambrose didn't seem to be a top four centre half forward to me. Tries hard and is mobile but doesn't demand enough of the ball in the right spots at the right moments.

Another harsh call, but Brent Stanton did not have an impact this year commensurate with his experience and skills. His outright speed seemed down and running distance / patterns appeared to be lessened. Injuries maybe, I don't know but disappointing nevertheless...

Jackson Merrett started the season OK, but was overtaken by his younger brother and will need to increase his work rate and slot more goals from his limited opportunities to be a regular in 2015.

Leroy Jetta sadly sunk without a trace. Disappointing.

Tom Bellchambers year was cruelled by serious ankle issues early, and I hope that this was the only reason that he failed to have an impact in the games that he played.

Who surprised:

Zach Merrett had a sensational debut year. Looked better as the year went on will be even better with another pre-season under his belt.

Mark Baguley continues to be indispensable in defence. He plays his heart out in every contest and leaves absolutely nothing in the tank after every game.

Pass Marks

Skipper Jobe Watson, Joe Daniher (just snuck into this category with his last few games of the season), Michael Hurley, David Zaharakis (almost made the 'Impressive List'), David Myers (was almost surprisingly effective and the only to player to have an appendage with it's own hashtag #leftleg) , Heath Hocking, Dustin Fletcher (his first half of the year was excellent), Jake Carlisle, Brendon Goddard (needs to kick straighter), Jason Winderlich (thanks for your career), Courtenay Dempsey and Travis Colyer (he needs to be given running patterns and a license to RUN as he is just about our only genuine fast runner over distance and line breakers with foot speed).

Would keep

The likes of Ariel Steinberg (showed he wasn't afraid of the big stage after 2+ years in the 'magoos'), Elliott Kavanagh, Orazel Fantasia, Nick O'Brien, Jason Ashby, Martin Gleeson all did enough at senior level to keep them on going into 2015.

Injuries

Best wishes to Alex Browne, Nick Kommer and others who are recovering from serious injuries.

Coaches

Thanks to Mark 'Bomber' Thompson for stepping into the breach at a difficult time and doing an outstanding job of giving the club a rudder and having the ability to steer the ship in a sensible direction in a turbulent year. I really enjoyed the coaches member communications after every game.

However I didn't enjoy our games as much as last year. The defensive structures, limiting our speed going forward was to less interesting to watch than last year. Did it win more games, yes, but ultimately didn't seem to materially move us forward. Especially as the coaching team weren't able to teach / structure our players / game plan to maintain six goal plus leads in games. Something was seriously amiss in our thinking and responsive in-game.

More to come soon...

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Good afternoon,

Happy Fathers Day Dad! Although up and dressed, he was a bit sleepy and dopey this morning. And he would probably say the same about me if he could! I heard that Roast Lamb and chocolate pudding was on the lunch menu today. Yummo!

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Sleepy on Fathers Day @ SomerCare - 2014

Bye for now, BomberBoy

Sunshine Coast Holiday

Good afternoon,

Our annual winter escape to Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast was again enjoyable.

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Looks like fun - 2014

More details to come shortly.

Bye for now, BomberBoy

A visit to Bomber HQ

Good evening,

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Yesterday Robin and I took a trip out to the True Value Solar Centre in Tullamarine, the new administrative and training home of The Essendon Football Club.

I knew that this new facility was out near the airport and thought it was probably in some wind-blown plain and a bit desolate. Well, to be honest, it did seem a little breezy but there is a lot of development in the area and in a few years it will be surrounded by light industrial factories, business accommodations and various commercial ventures.

The facility itself is attractive in a red and black industrial sort of way, and is especially spacious particularly the indoor training area. I dropped a few dollars in the 'Bomber Shop' and we enjoyed a coffee in the cafe overlooking the two ovals, one the size of the MCG and the other mirroring the dimensions of Etihad Stadium. Interestingly the cafe also is where players get meals and refreshments and the choices are particularly healthy, not a pie to be seen. Sadly...







Bye for now, BomberBoy

JMH - SomerCare Visit

Good evening,

"Visited dad today
Not so great, he’d had a fall
Held his hand
Best of all"

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Bye for now, BomberBoy

2014 AFL Predictions

Good evening,

It is that time of the year again for my AFL and Essendon predictions.

Ladder

Hawthorn
Fremantle
West Coast
Port Adelaide
Geelong
Sydney Swans
Essendon
Collingwood

Richmond
North Melbourne
Carlton
Adelaide
Gold Coast Suns
Greater Western Sydney
Brisbane
Western Bulldogs
St Kilda
Melbourne

Coleman Medal - Mark LeCras
Brownlow Medal - Scott Pendlebury

As for the Bombers season ahead, ASADA findings notwithstanding, it should be reasonably positive.

A new look forward line can't hurt as it has been a bit dysfunctional in recent times. The inclusion of Chapman should be exciting if he stays fit. The ruck stocks look a bit thin with David Hille's retirement but Fraser Thurlow looked promising in the NAB Challenge. The back line looks to be a strength with a solid six plus a couple of backups in case of injury. With Goddard and Watson as A-graders through the middle, Melksham, Zaharakis, Howlett and company need to step up and take the load off and provide some goal kicking threat as well.

As predicted above, my tip for Essendon is around the bottom of the eight. Can't really see them threatening the Top Four.

Go Bombers!

Bye for now, BomberBoy