Having "invested really heavily" into their goalkicking over the pre-season, focusing on both the technical and mental side of the game, Essendon are starting to reap the benefits of their training in front of goal.

The Bombers have kicked 63 goals and 33 behinds (not including six rushed behinds) across their first five games of the season to be among the most clinical sides in the competition.

Their accurate shooting for goal in Round 1 against Hawthorn - coupled with the Hawks' wayward attempts - was the difference in the club's season opener, while Friday's win over the Western Bulldogs was another example of the Bombers' preparations bearing fruits in front of goal.

Those two wins combine for a tally of 32 goals and ten behinds in their attempts on goal from set shots or in play, making up for a +40.5 differential over their expected score across the two encounters.

Only once this year have the Bombers recorded a deficit in their expected score differential, while the club is yet to score more behinds than goals in any game when excluding rushed behinds.

Goals Behinds (+ Rushed) Score Expected Score Differential
Round 1 17 5 (+0) 107 79.7 +27.3
Round 2 15 9 (+2) 99 92.9 +6.1
Round 3 10 9 (+2) 69 80.3 -11.3
Round 4 6 5 (+1) 41 40.2 +0.8
Round 5 15 5 (+1) 95 81.8 +13.2
Total 63 33 (+6) 411 374.9 +36.1


While it all hasn't been smooth sailing for Brad Scott's side this season, the club has been pleased with their results in front of goal across the opening five rounds.

Speaking after his side's 29-point win over the Bulldogs, where the Bombers had fewer scoring shots than their opponents, Scott credited his team and its support staff after going to work on their goalkicking through new approaches.

"We spent an enormous amount of time on it, both on and off the track. You might ask how you do that off the track...," Scott said.

"Everyone's known for a long time (how important the mental side is) but not many people want to admit it. These guys are excellent kicks, you watch them at training and they just go back like a metronome and nail them.

"But when the pressure is on and it's a big game or big moment, the mental side of the game is really important. We've invested really heavily in that space.

"We've got some really good people in that area. David Rath has come on board to help the technical side of that part of our game.

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"I couldn't be happier with the way our coaches take that. The technical side and the mental side is really important."

Recruit Xavier Duursma has been among the Bombers' best in front of goal, converting all three of his attempts so far this year.

Matt Guelfi (2/2), Todd Goldstein (2/2) Alwyn Davey (1/1) and Andrew McGrath (1/1) also have 100% ratings, while youngster Harrison Jones has slotted five of his six attempts so far this year to go at 83.3%.

Suspended forward Peter Wright has also managed to kick four of his four shots on goal.

At the other end of the spectrum, small forward Jye Menzie has struggled for accuracy to boot just one major from a total of eight shots on goal.

Leading goalkicker Jake Stringer will also hope to straighten his shooting, kicking 13 goals, four behinds and failing to register a score on six occasions in front of goal.