AAP AFL

Bombers, Roos on a roll ahead of key clash

By AAP Newswire

Constant personnel changes inside attacking 50 haven't helped Essendon's cause this AFL season, but Jake Stringer feels like the Bombers are slowly starting to win that battle.

Season-ending injuries to important forwards Joe Daniher and Devon Smith have been compounded by the absences of Orazio Fantasia, Mitch Brown, James Stewart, Jayden Laverde, Shaun McKernan and Stringer himself at different stages.

Of those available to return this season, only Stewart remains on the casualty list, allowing coach John Worsfold to stick with the same 22 that defeated Sydney for Saturday's pivotal clash with North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

"Obviously a bit of continuity is good, it builds connections between players, which helps," Stringer said.

"It's massive. I've only been here for a year-and-a-half, so the more time I play with (my teammates) the more I get to know them."

The match is a big one for the finals aspirations of both in-form teams, each having won four of their past five games.

"I don't think the confidence levels have changed," Stringer said of the Bombers' resurgence.

"We always knew what we were capable of, it's just the inconsistency. We're starting to find a little bit now which is good and fingers crossed it rolls on."

Essendon will be without skipper Dyson Heppell for a second week as he deals with a foot injury, while Michael Hurley (hip) and Cale Hooker (back) will both play despite carrying niggles.

The Bombers sit outside the eight in ninth position by percentage only with an 8-7 record, with the Kangaroos (7-8) nipping at their heels in 10th.

North made two unforced changes for the clash, Jamie Macmillan and Curtis Taylor replacing Sam Durdin and Luke Davies-Uniacke.

Essendon will wear the logo of charity partner Challenge, which provides support services for children with cancer and their families, in the Tackling Childhood Cancer game.

Stringer will also wear specially-made boots that will be auctioned off for the charity.