The Bombers are a team with an extensive and rich history in the AFL. They were Premiers in the first VFL season and they’ve now won a staggering 16 VFL/AFL Premierships, the most alongside Carlton. However in their first year, most of your armchair analysts won’t be rating this teams chances of winning the OPL and with good reason – but are they good enough to be considered dark horses?
This roster is the big unknown, there’s lots of mystery about how this team might perform to those outside of the inner workings of the OPL. Two new imports from Europe’s challenger scene and 2 players serving a 2 week ban makes it difficult to put your finger on the pulse for this team.
Christian “Sleeping” Tiensuu comes in similarly to Flaresz/Dhokla where no-one is sure what to expect. While Sleeping will be pivotal to the Bombers success, can he be dominant enough to steam roll over the likes of big Swips and Chippys? Sleeping has had a small amount of competitive experience, his most well known accolade to date will be reaching his highest rank of 11 on the EUW server, his solo queue history tells us that we can expect Sleeping to be a carry orientated top laner, with Jayce/Riven/Jax/Fiora being 4 of his top 5 champions played in season 7.
However Sleeping may be looking to round out his overall play and become a more meta resistant top laner. This preseason he has expanded his champion pool by adding Rumble and Gnar to his arsenal. If his solo queue champion pool is anything to go by, Sleeping will be the lane the Bombers will be looking to unlock to bring success.
Sebastian “Seb” De Cegile is the mainstay of this team and has been in every Abyss roster since joining the OPL, yet he’s somewhat fortunate to be on this roster. You wonder how someone like Seb would perform in a better environment with coaching and better laning on offer, but coming off a very ordinary 2017 he will need to prove himself in 2018. It is also important to note that Seb has been juggling the OPL with his studies, apparently even during the 2017 in-house season so the Bombers will be hoping that going full-time will be the key to unlocking the best of Seb.
Carlo “Looch” La Civita is the bad boy of the OPL – another competitive ruling and yet he managed to avoid a harsher penalty than his colleagues despite being a repeat offender. Looch has had a big fall from grace since his Rookie of the Split honour in 2016 Split 2, a massive feat considering he beat both Lost and Raid for this award. Looch really does have the potential to put this team on his back, but the Rookie split of Looch seems so long ago after a painful 2017.
Alan “Tiger” Roger and Andrew “Rosey” Rose has the ability to really shake up the landscape of the OCE bottom lanes, forming a real chemistry that the Bombers haven’t seen since Scott Lucas and Matthew Lloyd. Rosey has been a laning partner to OPL ADC royalty with Raydere and Lost and his most recent bottom lane partner Raid earned a promotion to Legacy. Rosey definitely has the experience but what seems to be a red flag is that his teams seem to slide with his performance. The prospect of seeing if this bottom lane can stay toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters of Raes/Destiny, King/Cupcake and FBI/Rogue is an exciting one. Should Tiger and Rosey be able to find their stride OPL bottom lanes will be an absolute joy to watch this split, aspiring pros take notes!
What is also an interesting addition to this roster is their coach changing, I was far from impressed with Drak in 2017 and bringing in Scott “Windowsmonkey” Farmer could be a great start, he was around with the team in Split 2 2016 when they narrowly lost a playoffs birth in tiebreakers. This will be Windowsmonkeys first attempt at full time coaching, giving him the opportunity to grow into his role and he has quite a large job on his plate in making sure this team can gel and play to its potential. I was able to get a comment from Windowsmonkey about how he hopes to unlock this team, He believes that “the facilities that the Essendon Football Club has provided will be the driving factor to allow him to develop the squad”.
Potential will be the buzzword for the Bombers, as this roster has a very high ceiling with a number of questions on how they may perform. If all goes well, they could end up in play-offs threatening to end a team’s run. However if the imports flunk, Looch can’t dominate his lane with 10CS/Min and the Bombers find themselves falling into the 2017 Abyss ways, they’ll be warming themselves up to a disappointing 6th place with ambitions of a split 1 top 3 finish up in flames.