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Friday, June 8, 2012

Dons ready for Swans test


 Essendon coach James Hird is unconcerned with what he admits is a drop-off in his AFL side's form over the past few weeks.

Hird is confident a shock defeat by Melbourne last weekend - marked by wasteful kicking for goal early - is part of a temporary flat spot all teams have.

And he is banking on his side to get back to their best against fellow top four aspirants Sydney at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night - saying the match is an ideal test of the Bombers' competitiveness.

Hird admitted his team might have been going through a 'down' period but says it can't afford to repeat that effort against the Swans, who sit fifth on the ladder.

"You have ebbs and flows in seasons and maybe that had [something] to do with it [last week], but the boys are under no illusions how hard this game will be against Sydney," Hird said on Friday.

"The pressure Sydney brings, the type of game Sydney plays…I think it's a perfect game to test yourself and test whether your competitive instincts and ability to win contested ball is back right on track. Because if it's not, you'll be in a lot of trouble against the Sydney Swans."

The Bombers can open a two-game gap on the Swans if they get over the line this weekend, and will regain midfielder David Myers to help their cause.

Myers hasn't played a senior game since straining his hamstring in round two against Port Adelaide, but Hird said his inclusion, at the expense of Travis Colyer, would be important against the hard-bodied Swans.

"We think we need a bigger body at Etihad. I think it will be a more contested game and Dave Myers bring us that bigger body," Hird said.

But while Myers has returned, David Hille's comeback to the AFL has received a slight setback, with the ruckman ruled out of this weekend's VFL game.

Hille also hasn't played for the Bombers since round two when he injured his calf, but played for Bendigo Gold in the VFL last week.

The 31-year-old hurt his neck in a heavy collision and the club is taking a cautious approach, with Hird saying he expects Hille to play an important role in the second half of the season.

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