Tough learning night for Worsfold, Bombers


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    Essendon coach John Worsfold hopes some tough lessons were learnt by his players following Saturday night’s AFL loss to Fremantle.

    The Bombers started the 2018 season with a stirring comeback victory over Adelaide but couldn’t back that up against the Dockers at Optus Stadium.

    The Bombers trailed for most of the game in front of almost 50,000 fans in Perth before losing by 16 points.

    It was a mixed night for Essendon’s trio of star off-season recruits with Devon Smith the pick of them with 20 possessions, 13 tackles and a goal.

    Adam Saad shook off an apparent leg injury for 16 disposals but Western Bulldogs 2016 premiership forward Stringer was found wanting.

    He did lay five tackles but had only nine possessions while failing to hit the scoreboard.

    Worsfold is comfortable with how the trio have fitted in, but in Stringer’s case, it will take time to work out how to get the best from him alongside key forwards Joe Daniher, Cale Hooker and James Stewart.

    “They are settling in really well but they are raw and new to what we are asking them to do,” Worsfold said.

    “There’s a fair bit of work to do with their roles and more so Stringer. We are going to work on where he’s going to add the most value to us.

    “We’re not going to work that out in one or two games, that’s going to take the course of this year weighing up what our best structure looks like in our team with the personnel we’ve now got.”

    Stewart did manage two goals, but Daniher was held goalless for the first time since Round 7, 2016 and Hooker’s lone goal came at the 24-minute of the last quarter.

    Worsfold puts more of the blame for their low output on the way the team moved the ball further up the ground by playing into Fremantle’s hands though.

    “We still didn’t really give them enough of a chance with those turnovers when we were out and ready to go. We’d cough the ball up through poor decision-making or going too fast so we didn’t allow our forwards to get back and set inside our forward-line,” Worsfold said.

    “The message to the players was that if we are going that fast every time, Fremantle always keep a couple of players back so if we don’t give our forwards time to get back and set up, we’ll be kicking into at least one extra number for them.

    “Conor McKenna still takes off every time even when the message is out to use our loose numbers around the ball and give our forwards the time to get back. It’s about us learning as a group.”

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • Roar Guru

      April 1st 2018 @ 8:19am
      Cat said | April 1st 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      The harsh truth is the Bombers are an average side at best.

      • April 1st 2018 @ 8:33am
        Rissole said | April 1st 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Let it go. You really are a negative Nancy.

        • April 1st 2018 @ 5:02pm
          Don Freo said | April 1st 2018 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

          I suspect Cat is having a go at Harsh Truth Harry who disappears every time his predictions go awry and reappears with ‘I told you so’ if one of them ever materializes.

          It is not a dig at the PurplePremiers in waiting.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 1st 2018 @ 6:33pm
            Sachit Dassanayake said | April 1st 2018 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

            That is what I suspected too.
            Where is he? He has been awfully quiet ever since the season started.
            Maybe reality struck him hard, who knows . . .

      • April 1st 2018 @ 8:53am
        truetigerfan said | April 1st 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        Yes, Cat. They are very, very average!

    • April 1st 2018 @ 9:31am
      1der said | April 1st 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      Loss was always on the card.
      Completely new structure in the Midfield that will take time. Zac Merrett is currently playing an inside roll, the days may be gone this season were he will rack up 20+ uncontested possessions. Last year his averaged contested possession count was only 9. This game his contested possession count was 15 with 21 disposals 6 tackles and zero marks.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 1st 2018 @ 10:23am
      Sachit Dassanayake said | April 1st 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      The loss was a bit of a shame, but I’m not too torn up about it. As Woosha said, speed really killed us in the end. Too many turnovers through the middle of the ground, which then put our defence under all sorts of pressure. Daniher and Hooker not firing could also be put down to the midfield’s inability to slow the game down in order for them to set up. A positive that can be taken out of this was Smith. He was once again really good, and seems to have slotted into the midfield seamlessly. Also, considering how badly we played, a 16-point loss isn’t too bad either.
      Next week’s game against the Dogs will be very interesting. Hopefully we come away with a win, and actually have a tag on Johannisen, unlike last time we played.
      Go Dons!

    • April 1st 2018 @ 2:14pm
      Lroy said | April 1st 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

      Well lets face it, Fockers are a decent side and anyone playing them at Optus will have to play well to beat them. There was a lot to like about their effort last night.

      Puts Ports win last week in perspective..if they roll the Swans you’d think they are close to the best side in it right now.

      • April 1st 2018 @ 9:39pm
        Haydos said | April 1st 2018 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

        Port rolling Sydney in Sydney really puts the Freo loss to Port in perspective i think.

        • April 3rd 2018 @ 9:23pm
          Guttsy said | April 3rd 2018 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

          I think the side Freo chose to play at the Port Adelaide match puts that lose in perspective. It means very little. The win against Essendon shows, as many have stated, that Freos top 22 are pretty good and possibly a top 8 side. The problem for Freo is that when you scratch below that the talent lacks experience and also that some pretty important players (Sandi, Mundy, Johnson and Ballantyne ) are very close to retirement.

          After two rounds I have seen nothing to change my preseason prediction for Freo, they will finish somewhere from 9th to 14th, with most likely result being 11th or 12th.

    • April 2nd 2018 @ 5:10pm
      Doctor Rotcod said | April 2nd 2018 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

      Essendon get their chance against the Dogs at Etihad to show that they’re not so bad.
      Imagine their chagrin at losing to Freo of all teams,widely tipped for bottom four,but I don’t think so.
      Dockers more likely to push for the eight, so it makes the Bombers’ loss much more honourable

    • Roar Rookie

      April 2nd 2018 @ 9:22pm
      Seano said | April 2nd 2018 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

      Mundy put in a performance for the ages, we didnt adjust to him spending so much time forward and paid the price. I always forget how good he is until i watch a Freo game, an out an out star of the game he was never going to let them drop the first game at Optus. I’m pretty confident we will play finals, we need Bags back in as he is the heart of the side.

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