Is this when the Bombers season nose dived?
It is almost impossible to believe that four weeks ago Essendon beat Collingwood. Since doing so they have barely looked like a football team. If not for the ineptitude of Adelaide and North Melbourne, who are both guilty of pretending to be football teams, the would have nothing to show for their efforts since.
As bad as they were prior to Friday night, nothing prepared you for their eye-openingly horrible effort against the Lions. So bad were the Bombers, it could be argued that Brisbane encountered more problems getting in and out of Metricon Stadium than they did on the ground.
Fans can rightly argue that they will finish the round in, or around, the eight with a game in hand and up to their eyeballs in the race for a finals berth. To argue that they will challenge anybody if they got there is a completely different story altogether. A team that kicks three goals in a game is not going to win the flag.
How the Game Was Won
Remarkably, despite being horribly outplayed, Essendon won both the clearances and inside 50’s count. That they had a disposal efficiency of just 68% as opposed to the Lions 77% goes a long way to explaining why the first two figures were of little value for them.
With Brisbane also +11 in tackles, + 62 in uncontested possessions and +58 in marks, it can be seen that their work rate played a major role in the disposal efficiency discrepancy. Much more eager to run and spread with and without the ball, they were able to put the Bombers under much more pressure than they themselves experienced. This in turn meant they were able to create many more scoring opportunities despite going forward less often.
What the Coaches Said
A disappointed John Worsfold acknowledged a difference in class between the two teams. “In a nutshell, they just looked too good for us, too classy. They used the ball too well,” he said. “There was big patches in the game where we didn’t put them under anywhere near enough pressure, that you have to put really good teams under and they made us pay for that.
“Our pressure was down in that first quarter and it was something we addressed with them … if you don’t put them under any sort of heat, they are going to carve you up. Brisbane were just too classy for us tonight for what we could match them with. We won the inside 50 count, but we couldn’t generate enough good scoring shots to put them under any sort of pressure.”
“We didn’t create enough scoring opportunities or take those scoring opportunities when they were presented to us and then Brisbane created too may scoring opportunities for their inside 50s through us not being able to put some pressure on them.’’
Chris Fagan suggested the evenness of his teams performance was the most pleasing aspect of the game. “It was a great team performance,” he said. “We probably talk about that a lot, it was probably our best one of the year to this stage I think. The GWS game was good in that regard too but we didn’t have a passenger tonight.”
After making five changes to his team that defeated Melbourne, he was especially pleased by the performances of the players brought in. “They both did their jobs perfectly really,” Fagan said but he saved particular praise for Noah Answerth who curbed the dangerous Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuiti.. “Last year when we played Essendon McDonald-Tipungwuti kicked seven goals at the MCG and put on a clinic, so we were pretty concerned about him coming into the game. I thought Noah’s job on him was outstanding, he wore him like a second skin.”
The result also set up a mouth watering clash with Richmond in Round 10. Fagan admitted he was looking forward to the opportunity to test his team against the premiers. “They [the Tigers] were fantastic the other night, weren’t they? The last time the Lions beat Richmond was in 2009 … they’ve had the wood on us,” he said. “We’re going to have to play really good footy to beat them but we’re looking forward to the challenge and it’s one of those challenges we’re going to have to meet head on.
“If you aspire to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best and Richmond are the best, they’ve been the best team over the last four or five years,” he said. “That’s the challenge for us. We look forward to it.”
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ESSENDON 1.3 2.3 3.4 3.10 (28)
BRISBANE 5.3 5.5 10.6 14.7 (91)
Essendon: Smith 2, Parish
Brisbane: Cameron 4, Neale 2, Ellis-Yolmen, Ballenden, Hipwood, Lyons, McCarthy, Rayner, Skinner, Zorko
Essendon: McGrath, Hurley, Ridley, Parish
Brisbane: Neale, Witherden, Berry, Zorko, Answerth, Cameron