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Leuenberger stars for Bombers in VFL hit-out

Ben Guthrie  March 12, 2016 3:54 PM

AFL 2016 Training - Essendon 220116

Matthew Leuenberger looks a chance for round one after his VFL return from Achilles problems

MATTHEW Leuenberger appears on track for round one after an imposing performance for Essendon's VFL side in its practice match against Geelong at Tullamarine on Saturday.

Leuenberger showed no ill effects from the Achilles problem that has hampered his pre-season, finishing the game as one of the best players on the ground.

The former Brisbane Lion, who moved to the Bombers as a restricted free agent in the off-season, was dominant in the ruck and displayed his versatility in stints as the key target in the forward line.

Leuenberger kicked a goal after a chase down tackle deep inside forward 50 and he was a strong presence around the ground, taking a number of powerful pack marks.

The Bombers big man covered the ground well and presented to the footy with purpose and looks likely to be fit for Essendon's opening round clash against Gold Coast on March 26.

Top-up Bomber Nathan Grima was solid down back in his first hit-out of the pre-season.

The former Kangaroo looked a little behind in the fitness stakes but spoiled the ball well in defence.

Courtenay Dempsey kicked a goal and laid a couple of big tackles, while draftees Aaron Francis and Mason Redman impressed.

Geelong defender Jed Bews did enough to suggest he may be considered for the Cats' round one clash against Hawthorn with 17 disposals.

Bews, who was returning from a week layoff because of a shoulder concern, was poised with ball in hand and positioned himself well to intercept.

Youngster Wylie Buzza competed strongly and showed his potential with a goal up forward, while rookie Zak Bates buzzed in and out of traffic.

The Bombers won the match at the True Value Solar Centre by 17 points.