No club has enjoyed more VFL/AFL success than Essendon. The Bombers have won 16 top-flight premierships, including the very first way back in 1897. Only Carlton, their oldest rivals, have as many pennants in their clubrooms.
Times have been tough at Windy Hill since the turn of the millennium. After a record-breaking premiership year in 2000, a series of poor recruiting decisions (both on and off the field) saw Essendon vanish into the mires of mid-table mediocrity. Just as things were starting to turn around, a drawn-out doping saga brought the club to its knees, and the Dons are yet to fully recover from it.
How high can these Bombers fly in 2022? Let’s see what the top AFL betting sites can tell us about Essendon’s prospects in the upcoming season.
About the Essendon Football Club
|Home ground:||Marvel Stadium|
|Premierships:||16 – 1897, 1901, 1911, 1912, 1923, 1924, 1942, 1949, 1950, 1962, 1965, 1984, 1985, 1993, 2000|
|2021 ladder finish:||8th (11-11)|
Best bookies for Bombers betting
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Updated Essendon futures betting
Latest Essendon AFL futures odds come courtesy of Sportsbet, where new customers can take advantage of some of the best AFL betting features and markets available. You can view the latest live odds at Sportsbet.com.au.
|2022 Premiership||Make Finals||Brownlow Odds||Rising Star Odds||Coleman Odds|
|Mar||$18||$2.25||D Parish $13||B Hobbs $18||J Stringer $51|
|Apr||$34||$3||D Parish $41||N Martin $13||P Wright $21|
|May||$101||$10||D Parish $26||N Martin $6.75||P Wright $15|
Best Bombers bets for the 2022 AFL season
There are dozens of AFL futures markets for Essendon, but where are they likely to return some real value?
Click on the tabs below to get more analysis on these markets:
- Having finished with 11 wins and 11 loses last year, the Dons were unable to capitalise in the finals series and were unable to beat the Dogs in an Elimination Final. They need to go to a whole new level this year if they are threaten for a flag, but this young Dons outfit are capable of just about anything on their day.
- Essendon were no easy-beats throughout last year and managed to finish the season in eight place on the AFL Ladder. Better than even money is available for them to repeat the effort in 2021. If Dylan Shiel and Jake Stringer can remain fit, they add the x-factor Essendon require to trouble some of the better sides in the comp.
- Darcy Parish had a career best season in 2021 and looks set to go even bigger in 2021. Parish finished for a tie of fifth place in the Brownlow Medal last year having polled 26 votes. He is clearly a favourite of the umpires now and the $13 on offer before a ball is bounced could present a bit of value.
- Ben Hobbs was picked up with picks 13 in the 2021 AFL Draft and brings along plenty of expectations with him. He has been compared to St Kilda skipper Jack Steele as a natural ball-winner and a tackling machine. With the ability to roll forward and kick a goal, he looks a great value play in Rising Star betting markets.
Essendon 2022 AFL fixture
|1||Geelong Cats||MCG||Saturday, March 19||2:10pm|
|2||Brisbane Lions||Marvel Stadium||Saturday, March 26||4:35pm|
|3||Melbourne Demons||MCG||Friday, April 2||7:50pm|
|4||Adelaide Crows||Marvel Stadium||Sunday, April 10||1:10pm|
|5||Fremantle Dockers||Marvel Stadium||Sunday, April 17||4:40pm|
|6||Collingwood Magpies||MCG||Monday, April 25||3:20pm|
|7||Western Bulldogs||Marvel Stadium||Sunday, May 1||3:20pm|
|8||Hawthorn Hawks||Marvel Stadium||Saturday, May 7||7:25pm|
|9||Sydney Swans||SCG||Saturday, May 14||7:25pm|
|11||Port Adelaide Power||Adelaide Oval||TBC||TBC|
|14||St Kilda Saints||Marvel Stadium||TBC||TBC|
|15||West Coast Eagles||Optus Stadium||TBC||TBC|
|18||Gold Coast Suns||Metricon Stadium||TBC||TBC|
|20||North Melbourne Kangaroos||Marvel Stadium||TBC||TBC|
|21||GWS Giants||GIANTS Stadium||TBC||TBC|
|22||Port Adelaide Power||Marvel Stadium||TBC||TBC|
Essendon players to watch in 2022
In his third year at Essendon, the former giant Dylan Shiel managed just eight games for the Dons having picked up a knee injury in Round 2. When Shiel is at his best, he is one of the most damaging midfielders in the competition with elite acceleration from centre bounces. He has the potential to be as damaging as Chris Judd once was and if he can get his body back on track, there is no reason why the 2017 All Australian cannot help lift Essendon into the top eight.
Darcy Parish “arrived” on the scene in 2021 when averaging 30 touches a game and finish fifth in the Brownlow Medal. He is now one of the elite midfielders in the competition and is a genuine big game player. Having picked up best on ground honours in the ANZAC Day match and again in the Dreamtime match, Parish is just what the Dons need and with a fully fit midfield brigade alongside him, Darcy Parish looks set to take his game to another level this year.
Devon Smith sits comfortably alongside the names of Toby Greene and Jordan De Goey in that he’s a player Essendon fans adore, yet opposition fans strongly dislike. The electric small forward had a poor season by his standards kicking multiple goals on just three occasions and racking up more than 20 touches just twice. If Smith can get back to the form that saw him take out the club’s B&F in his first year at the club in 2018, then he suddenly becomes another headache for Essendon’s opponents.
Essendon records, stats and history
- Most matches: 400 – Dustin Fletcher (1993–2015)
- Most career goals: 926 – Matthew Lloyd (1995–2009)
- Most goals in a season: 120 – John Coleman (1950)
- Most goals in a match: 14 – John Coleman (1954)
- Best and fairest awards: 7 – Bill Hutchison and Dick Reynolds
- Most wins in a season: 21 (2000)
- Most consecutive wins: 20 (2000)
- Highest score in a match: 32.16.208 (vs. Footscray, 1982)
- Highest winning margin: 165 (vs. South Melbourne, 1964)
- Highest home attendance: 93,373 (vs. Collingwood, 2013)
- The Essendon Football Club began life as a juniors team in 1871. Seven years later, the Dons entered the senior ranks of the Victorian Football Association. They enjoyed considerable success over the next decade, winning four consecutive premierships from 1891 to 1894.
Essendon were one of seven VFA clubs that broke away to found the Victorian Football League in 1896. They won the inaugural VFL Premiership a year later and went on to win three more flags prior to the outbreak of World War I.
The next few decades established Essendon as one of Melbourne’s true powerhouse clubs. Boasting superstars such as Dick Reynolds, Bill Hutchison and John Coleman, the red and black claimed three premierships between 1946 and 1950 to become only the second club to win 10 flags.
After intermittent success in the ’50s and ’60s, the drought set in. Although the club was financially strong, an inability to find and keep top-end players saw the Bombers go the entirety of the 1970s without reaching a grand final.
Then Kevin Sheedy came to the rescue. Appointed as coach in 1981, the former Richmond premiership player steered Essendon to the VFL Grand Final two years later – their first since 1968. They lost to Hawthorn on that occasion, but they bounced back with consecutive flag wins over the Hawks in ’84 and ’85.
The AFL was formed in 1990 and Sheedy was determined to make Essendon one of the big wigs of the nascent national competition. The ‘Baby Bombers’ surprised everyone in 1993, besting Carlton in the decider with a young squad that featured future legends such as James Hird, Dustin Fletcher, Mark Mercuri, Joe Misiti and Gavin Wanganeen.
New stars emerged throughout the ’90s. Some canny trading brought in Matthew Lloyd and Scott Lucas, who would form one of the game’s great forward partnerships. A series of near-misses throughout the decade culminated in a record-breaking 2000 campaign, when the Dons won 21 of 22 home and away games before smashing Melbourne in the grand final.
The following years were less fruitful. As stars of the ’93 and ’00 premierships moved on, Sheedy and his staff sought out experienced off-cuts rather than trading for top-shelf talent or trusting in the draft. The result was a rapid decline from which the club is yet to fully recover.
Just as things were starting look up under the stewardship of dual premiership hero James Hird, disaster struck. From 2012 to 2016, the club was embroiled in a doping scandal that resulted in 34 past and present players missing an entire season of football. Hird lost his job, the hierarchy was in tatters and the Dons were forced to play out the 2016 campaign with a patchwork squad of untried kids and second-tier recruits.
There was a silver lining among all those storm clouds. With a dozen first-team players out of commission, Essendon had no choice but to trust in young, raw talents and hope for the best. The result was a return to finals footy in 2017 and a Rising Star nod for top draft pick Andy McGrath. With names like Merrett, Parish, Ridley, Shiel, Smith and Heppell on the books, the future is bright at Bomberland.