Kevin Sheedy has promised a competitive Essendon team for his latest AFL brainchild, saying it will be war when they play Geelong in round four.
The MCG match on April 16 will be the inaugural country game, where the AFL will honour Australia’s rural community.
Sheedy, who is a key figure in the Anzac Day and Dreamtime At The `G matches, is spruiking the country game as the next AFL blockbuster.
There are modest expectations surrounding the Bombers this season, given they have lost 12 players to doping suspensions.
By contrast, the Cats are bullish about their prospects in the wake of recruiting Patrick Dangerfield.
But Sheedy backed new Essendon coach John Worsfold to bring the most out of the Bombers.
“I would think it will be a war,” Sheedy said.
“We’re not just going to roll out there by round four and be an ordinary side at Essendon.
“Geelong have recruited very, very well.
“John will make sure they play well – he’s a great coach and he’s ready to go again in his coaching career.”
Replacement player Ryan Crowley impressed in Essendon’s 10-goal win over Carlton on Sunday and Sheedy said the Bombers should have recruited him earlier.
He compared Crowley to Essendon star Tim Watson, when Sheedy brought him out of retirement to help the club win the 1993 premiership.
“It’s like getting Tim Watson out of retirement – if there are good players out there retired, get them,” he said.
“You can pick them up late in the draft.
“He’s a pro, he’s had a year’s break and from the point of view of adding experience and value to the team.”
Sheedy was speaking on Monday at the launch of the Powercor country program, which will also feature Saturday’s pre-season game between Essendon and Geelong in Shepparton.
As part of the round four match, the parkland outside the MCG will be turned into a country field day.
“This will be a no-brainer smash hit … it’s long overdue,” Sheedy said of the country game.