Imagine my disappointment when I discovered over the weekend that this – not Tigers-Lions, as I’d previously thought – would be the final Friday night game of the home-and-away season.
Essendon coach John Worsfold doubts the pre-season hype over the Bombers has affected his players, but will work on every aspect of their game after a woeful first-up effort on Sunday.
His side were routed on Sunday by a GWS unit missing a number of veteran players and crashed to a 72-point loss in Sydney.
Essendon had more inside 50s in the first quarter but mustered just four behinds .
Worsfold cited slow build-ups, wrong options, dropped marks, and missed opportunities for their miserable final score of 5.10.
GWS won 39 more contested possessions with Worsfold attributing the alarming disparity to his side’s fumbling.
He said Essendon looked flat and shell-shocked and didn’t match the Giants’ intensity.
Essendon were widely tipped to be one of the big improvers this season and a candidate for a top-four spot, but also lost their two pre-season games prior to Sunday’s fixture.
However, Worsfold wasn’t convinced all the positive pre-season buzz about the Bombers had adversely impacted on his players.
“I don’t think so, I’m not sure how it would,” Worsfold said.
“There’s not too many athletes especially if they move into the top echelon, that get affected by that
‘If we were affected by that, them we need to really assess and address it, but I wouldn’t think so, we just played poorly tonight.
“We have to look at everything its not one little area that we’re going to say was off, it was pretty much everything.”
His GWS counterpart Leon Cameron cautioned against reading too much into the result.
“‘Collingwood lost their first two last year and they played in a grand final, (eventual premiers) West Coast got beaten in round one,” Cameron said.
“There’s lots of hard sides out there and Essendon will bounce back.
‘We got spanked a couple of years ago (by Adelaide in round one of 2017)……. and came out and won the week after.”
Former Giants star Dylan Shiel collected an equal team-high 25 disposals on Sunday, in his first AFL appearance for Essendon, but had little impact on the game
“Overall we know what Dyl is going to deliver for us and (he was) unfortunately part of a group today that didn’t deliver,” Worsfold said.
“He’s hurting, as we all are and hungry to grow from that.”