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Bombers out to respond against lowly North

3 minute read

Essendon have processed the pain of an extraordinary after-the-siren AFL defeat and are determined to bounce back against lowly North Melbourne.

JAMIE ELLIOTT. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Essendon have moved on from the heartbreak of their extraordinary AFL loss to Collingwood and will attempt to finish a disappointing season on a high.

The Bombers will be out to make amends for their last-gasp defeat to their bitter rivals by taking out their frustrations on lowly North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

Essendon started the season in diabolical fashion but are finishing strongly, despite Magpies forward Jamie Elliott's after-the-siren heroics.

The Bombers led Collingwood for much of the final quarter and were on track to claim another scalp after upsetting the Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans in the past month.

The Kangaroos, who have won just two games this season and are on track for consecutive wooden spoons, are a much different proposition.

"(North have) been playing some pretty solid footy and have found some consistency around the way they're playing," Bombers coach Ben Rutten told reporters on Friday.

"Probably the last half of this year, we've been in a position where we've had to spend a fair bit of time on ourselves."

Essendon will be looking to claim a seventh win of the season without vice-captain Andrew McGrath, who misses due to COVID-19.

Breakout defender Mason Redman has been named but is no certainty to face the Kangaroos after suffering internal bruising against the Magpies and spending time in hospital.

North have endured a difficult week after their thumping at the hands of Hawthorn in Hobart last weekend.

COVID-19 has hit the club hard, with Aaron Hall, Aidan Corr and Paul Curtis all ruled out due to health and safety protocols.

Caretaker coach Leigh Adams also contracted the virus but will be out of isolation in time for the round 20 game.

Inspirational midfielder Ben Cunnington has been pushing to make his return from testicular cancer but has also tested positive to COVID-19.

Adams has put simple targets in front of his players for the remainder of the season.

"It's been a pretty long year and in particular these last four weeks, knowing there's no finals at the end of it," he said on Thursday.

"We got the response week one (against Richmond) and we probably didn't get the response week two we thought, it might have dropped away with the emotion of the week before."

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