UNDERLINE it, circle it and highlight it, too. The top item on Essendon's agenda this week as it prepares to face Collingwood needs to be limiting Brodie Grundy.

In fact, if the Bombers can't work out a plan for the dominant Magpies ruckman, the rest of the agenda might as well be tossed out.

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The Bombers have a ruck issue. Tom Bellchambers was last week soundly beaten by Carlton's Marc Pittonet, in what was a crucial battle in the context of Essendon's one-point loss.

Bellchambers, who turns 31 next week, is averaging six disposals and 26 hitouts in Essendon's three games this season.

He is out of contract at the end of this year, having endured significant injury setbacks throughout his career.

Coach John Worsfold, speaking after the defeat to the Blues on Saturday night, flagged the ruck as one area the Bombers will look to address ahead of the clash with Collingwood.

"That's an early call, but it will be something that we look at in terms of what's working for us, what's do we need to keep assessing and maybe making some adjustments to," Worsfold said.

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Bellchambers ranks as average for his hitout percentage wins this year – 51 per cent – and his hitout to advantage percentage is 12.7, also ranked as average among the AFL.

If the Bombers were to consider a change-up in the ruck, it is former Blue Andrew Phillips who is next in line and in form, having impressed in the club's scratch match last week. A switch appears likely to be considered. 

The former Blue and Giant was recruited by Essendon at the end of last season, but is yet to feature at AFL level for the Bombers.

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His time might be soon. Phillips averaged nearly 30 hitouts in his five games for Carlton last year, and had a 17.4 per cent hitout to advantage rate, which ranked above average.

Essendon's ruck situation group is interestingly poised.

Bellchambers is in the latter phase of his career and Phillips turns 29 next week, with the Bombers' hopes pinned on Sam Draper, who knocked back a huge deal at St Kilda last year to remain in the red and black for four seasons.

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Draper, who is yet to debut, is returning from a knee reconstruction and should soon play in the Bombers scratch matches.

However his size and athleticism, as well as his appetite for the contest, has impressed many at Essendon. He is viewed as Bellchambers' replacement when he is up and going, and at 21 has youth on his side.

After re-signing Draper and adding Phillips, Essendon then added another layer of intrigue to its rucking future over the summer, drafting Nick Bryan and picking up mature-ager Henry Crauford through the pre-season supplemental selection period.

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Neither of those will help this week, though, as Essendon prepares to nullify Grundy, the game's best and most imposing ruckman. Last year, Grundy polled one vote in the Brownlow Medal in the clubs' Anzac Day clash and then grabbed three votes in round 23 when he had 33 disposals.

Anything similar this week will wipe out the Bombers' hopes of an upset.