I guess you will be reading that headline and thinking .. ????????? What does that mean?
Essendon was expected to win when the teams came out on Thursday night, with the likes of Tex Walker, Crouch, Tom Lynch, Brodie Smith and even the late out of Sam Gibson. Essendon had a few out but not in the calibre of the crows. When you are expected to win sometimes that can play on your mind, Essendon at the back of end of 2017 when they started to become favorites to win games always struggled and looked a better side when they were the underdogs and hunted teams.
The hype of this season as the side matures, also bringing in 3 matured age players, always was going to make them nervous. For the best part of the first 3 quarters, they looked a very anxious team.
At times on Friday night, they couldn’t get their run going, their ball use was very concerning even there defending. It was definitely not where they would have wanted it to be. It was painful to watch, where is the Essendon we wanted to come and see who play bruise free end to end football?
This is when I get to the point of my heading in saying losing last night could have mentally broken them. Worsfold himself could have questioned his game plan his tactics. The media would have questioned everything about them?
Starting with Stringer he was the marquee recruit, then Smith and Saad. Why wasn’t Baguely in the side? can they cover Jobe? Adelaide had so many players out etc. But getting that win breeds confidence it breeds self-belief as the players now believe they can run out and catch any team.
I know its round one but they did the same to the Cats in the JLT with a good breeze helping them. When you slave away in a preseason and implement a game plan around your strengths and do not have anyone to try it against for 3-4 months you don’t know how it will work. These are the things you have tried to build all summer and thankfully it already has worked in Round 1.
Now they can travel to Perth and moving forward knowing if they are still in the game up until that last quarter they will have the legs and composure to come home strong and no game will run away from them.
Fans will have woken up on Saturday morning knowing the Bombers have grown as a side in the last 12 months. No longer are they the team that could crumble, like they did last year against Carlton and Brisbane. Something special is being built down at Essendon. I believe the sleeping giant has awoken.
One of my closet friends George is a Collingwood fan, he lives and breathes the Pies and the AFL. He messaged me on Friday night to say ‘Anyone can say what they want, but Anthony Mcdonald-Tipungwuit is an A-Grade AFL player. Byron Pickett 2.0.”
If you watched his 2nd half on Friday night you’d find it hard to disagree.
ESSENDON 4.2 5.8 8.10 14.15 (99)
ADELAIDE 3.5 4.9 11.12 12.15 (87)
Essendon: Hooker 3, Stewart 3, Daniher 2, Green 2, McGrath, Bellchambers, Goddard, Begley.
Adelaide: Jenkins 2, Gibbs 2, Fogarty 2, Hampton, McGovern, Murphy, Douglas, Greenwood, Ellis-Yolmen
Essendon: Heppell, Zaharakis, Hurley, Goddard, D.Smith, McDonald-Tipungwuti, McGrath
Adelaide: Laird, Gibbs, M.Crouch, Sloane, Doedee, Seedsman
Essendon: Merrett (concussion)
Adelaide: Hampton (groin), Gibson (hamstring tightness) replaced in selected side by Greenwood
Reports: Richard Douglas (Adelaide) reported for rough conduct on Zach Merrett (Essendon)
Umpires: O’Gorman, Chamberlain, Pannell
Official crowd: 43,016 at Etihad Stadium