Five talking points ahead of Round 13

Bye bye

Which side will benefit most from the bye? After a scintillating start to the season, Essendon has hit a stumbling block in its past two matches, losing to a struggling Melbourne and an in-form Sydney Swans. The Bombers have had a fortnight to think about those losses. Fremantle entered its bye on the back of a brilliant win over Richmond at the MCG. Has the break slowed the momentum generated by that win, or can Freo go on with it?

On the fringe

A number of players performed well for Freo and Essendon over the bye week and could be in line for selection. Anthony Morabito has been gathering form for Peel, Jack Anthony was impressive as a defender for Subiaco and Zac Clarke had 26 disposals, 18 hitouts and kicked 1.4 for East Perth. Nick Lower is another player who has been in solid form lately. For the Bombers, running defender Michael Hibberd was among the best for Bendigo in just his second game since returning from injury while youngster Elliott Kavanagh was again impressive. Kyle Reimers, David Hille and Travis Colyer all booted two goals.

Bombers away

Essendon has lost its past six games at Patersons Stadium, with its last win coming in round 14, 2008. Playing as Bomber on that occasion, Adam McPhee was good with 22 touches, 10 marks and a goal.

Midfield duo

Bombers on-ballers Jobe Watson and Brent Stanton have been arguably the best midfield duo in the competition this year. Watson has averaged 29.5 disposals per game, while Stanton has been on fire with 27.5 disposals and almost eight marks a game. One of them will get the Ryan Crowley tag.

McPharlin’s 200th

Fremantle has no excuse not to be up for this one. Luke McPharlin, one of the club’s greatest players, celebrates his 200th AFL game on Saturday. He has been a stalwart since joining Freo from Hawthorn in 2002. McPharlin is one of the AFL’S best defenders and his milestone is testament to a great career.

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