Welcome to the review you’ve all been eagerly awaiting: me having a crack at my beloved Bombers.
That was agonising. A drip, drip, drip of torture as the Bombers lost yet another eight-point game by an atrociously small margin to a weakened GWS line-up.
The Bombers only have themselves to blame for another wasted season (their 16th consecutive wasted season but who’s counting). Read on for my thoughts and reactions of the Bombers’ clash against the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
Bombers’ stupendous second half
I can use innumerable adjectives to describe my dismay at the Bombers’ second half on Sunday evening. The Bombers appear to have trouble getting out of second gear to assertively combat other sides getting the run on. The Bombers could not do anything to arrest the Giants’ orange tsunami.
It was good to see the Bombers play well in patches, however one goal, seven behinds is not a viable score for a side looking to challenge for finals. It is more in line with the doom and gloom predictions that were made at the beginning of this season.
The Bombers now face the Swans and Bulldogs in the next two weeks and I fail to see where the Bombers get their next win as they face four reasonably difficult opponents over the next month.
The Dyl and Duzza show
Sunday was the first time we saw Dylan Shiel in 17 weeks since tearing his meniscus against Port Adelaide in Round 2. It was also the first time we got to see the newly configured midfield since the resurgence of Darcy Parish and the continued exemplary play of Zach Merrett.
Thirteen disposals, four tackles and four score involvements was a thoroughly okay performance from the Bombers’ Ferrari and it was a night when I would settle for an okay performance.
Sam ‘Duzza’ Durham continues to put his best foot forward as perhaps the most understated Bomber young gun. He continues to show his wares as a tough half back/outside midfielder for the Bombers.
He continued to show it on Sunday with 15 disposals, seven marks and two clearances for the Bombers. Durham continues to show the value of the mid-season draft as well as the ability of Adrian Dodoro to turn every opportunity into a best-22 player.
Darcy’s down game
That is the second game in three weeks where Darcy Parish has recorded under 20 disposals while Zach Merrett and Jake Stringer both had positively atrocious third quarters where they were just shut out of getting the ball.
The Bombers’ midfield fundamentally failed to deal with what the Giants were providing as Leon Cameron was able to swing the magnets around and settle on Lachie Ash as the tagging option for Darcy Parish while allowing Lachie Whitfield to get off the chain against the Bombers.
It indicates a rigidity of coaching from Ben Rutten and the inability to adapt to magnets being swung around. The fact that we risked Dylan Shiel without any trial games or brought in David Zaharakis indicates to me that Rutten does not know the tools he has at his disposal.
He almost certainly should’ve moved Matt Guelfi onto Lachie Whitfield. If he did that, then the Bombers would’ve won that game. The Giants dominated the contested possessions and were able to get first use out of the middle as the Bombers’ lack of a traditional bullocking midfielder became acutely apparent.
The Bombers’ scoring woes
The Bombers have struggled to kick a winning score the last few weeks, being trapped in the doldrums around 50 points multiple times. When they began the season so assertively, this is extremely disappointing.
In particular, the drop-off is attributable to the fall-away in quality from Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Cale Hooker, both being extremely down on their early-season form.
The other issue is atrocious accuracy in front of goal. The Bombers kicked seven goals, 11 behinds on Sunday evening as they hopelessly squandered an opportunity to make the eight.
The Bombers should demand the AFL allow them to play their remaining games at Marvel (including the Gold Coast game) in compensation for the Bombers not getting this opportunity to play in front of their home crowd as they were entitled to.
You have got to have the patience of a saint when going for the Bombers in the AFL era – patience and a high threshold for mediocrity.
I am happy for where the Bombers are at but their performance against GWS was extremely disappointing. The leading disposal getters for Essendon on the day were Jordan Ridley and Dyson Heppell, which indicates to me that the footy was spending a long time parked in the Bombers’ back line.
6. James Stewart (three votes)
5. Nik Cox (13 votes)
4. Sam Durham (three votes)
3. Jordan Ridley (16 votes)
2. Will Snelling (15 votes)
1. Dyson Heppell (26 votes)
Zach Merrett (56 votes)
Darcy Parish (51 votes)
Jake Stringer (37 votes)