Team of Origin – Essendon Bombers

Updated: June 9, 2018

Everyone knows the rules behind State of Origin. It’s unlikely ever to happen again, so what if we take an even more unbelievable premise and see what happens.

Team of Origin is pretty straight forward. The idea is that every player is sent back to the club that originally drafted them. What would that team look like, and how would they perform?

A couple of quick notes, this assumes that Dumbledore has waived his magic wand across the AFL, and everyone is magically 100% healthy. A player also does not need to have played for their original team to qualify. It is simply who drafted them first.

After a bit of a break, we jump back into the Team of Origin series with the Essendon Bombers. The Bombers have had a bit of a compromised draft history over the last couple of years, and as such have been very involved in the trade period. This includes a few players requesting to be traded because of the drama that has surrounded the club over the last 5 years. But let’s ignore that, and see what their team would look like if they had just kept all their draftees.

Back Line

The Bombers welcome back All-Australian Michael HIbberd and Richmond premiership player Bachar Houli to an already solid backline. They join experienced campaigners Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker, along with youngster Andrew McGrath and Mark Baguley. Having three key defenders may make them a bit tall, but Hooker’s flexibility to play forward or back would be of great benefit. Houli plays the link-up role


Paddy Ryder comes back into the team to lead the midfield division. Zach Merrett is the main beneficiary of his inclusion into the team, as he is a significant improvement over their current ruck stocks. Ryder will provide more hit outs to advantage and also covers the ground better than Tom Bellchambers. Unfortunately the midfield lacks depth, and once you get past Merrett, David Zaharkis and captain Dyson Heppell, the calibre of midfield is just not there.

Forward Line

Jake Carlisle finally gets what he wants and comes back into the Essendon team as a forward. Form and match ups could dictate who plays the CHF position out of Carlise and Hooker. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Orazio Fantasia provide the speed and flair for the forwards, with Joe Daniher being the primary tall marking forward. This is a potent forward line if Daniher can get back to his 2017 form.


Dyson Heppell retains the captaincy with Cale Hooker as his deputy. Merrett, Ryder and Hibberd join them in the leadership group.


This would be an OK team, but lacks the class and depth of the current Essendon squad. I would expect them to be knocking on the door of the top 8, but not quite good enough to make finals.

Ladder Prediction – 10-15

If you enjoyed this article, why not read previous Club of Origin Teams – AdelaideBrisbane,  Carlton and Collingwood.

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Written by Archie Keeler (@OTLSArchie)

Header graphic by Corey Wade Media (@CoreySWade)

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