Dons pair set to debut against Cats

Dylan Clarke will make his debut against Geelong.

Struggling Essendon will have a fresh look at the MCG on Saturday with the Bombers announcing youngsters Dylan Clarke and Jordan Ridley will both make their senior debuts against Geelong.

Ball-magnet Clarke and versatile tall Ridley, both drafted by the Dons in 2016, will take on the Cats on the back of impressive VFL form.

“The messages from the coaches and the senior players [was] just, ‘Keep putting your head down and regardless of the result in the ones just force them to choose you’,” Clarke said on Wednesday via the club's website.

“So I think we both went our own way a bit in terms of just putting our heads down and getting the work done, so I think we should both be pretty proud of how we’ve been playing.

“To get rewarded on me and Rids’ form in the VFL is really positive, so we both feel pretty good at the moment and we’re hoping to have a good impact on Saturday.”

Jordan Ridley will also play his first senior game.

Ridley was relieved to have got the nod after being named an emergency in recent weeks.

“It’s been a little bit frustrating the last few weeks being an emergency a few times, but it’s finally good to break through,” Ridley said.

“It’s something we’ve all been aspiring to work towards, so especially to share it with such a great mate is an unreal feeling.”

The Dons, who have lost six of their last seven games including four in a row, have lost key defender Michael Hurley to a hamstring injury. Essendon's full side will be released on Thursday night.

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