AFL news 2022: Essendon Bombers slammed for Collingwood result, daming vision exposed

Essendon’s leaders and coaches have come under fire from Fox Footy’s. First Crack team for its late game management of Sunday’s epic four-point loss to Collingwoodsaying they “had no idea what to do”.

The Bombers trailed by 37 points at quarter time of the MCG contest before they came charging back into the game in the second and third quarters to lead by 21 points in the fourth term, only for the Pies to run over the top late culminating in Jamie Elliott’s goal after the siren.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack, North Melbourne great David King put the acid on the Bombers’ senior members for the way they handled the clutch moments.

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“The game is about management at the end, you’ve got to mange it as a leadership group,” he said.

“I look at the Essendon leaders and how they handled the last three to four minutes of this game — you’d have to say the Essendon leaders couldn’t a run a bath.

“I know you’re under heat, you’re the captain though Dyson Heppell, they’re looking for you to make the Scott Pendlebury, and Darcy Moore (like) decisions that were made late in game.

“This is on the lack of awareness for this football club. When the heat was on they had no leadership and no idea what to do. They were flying blind.”

It included Harry Jones getting an opportunity to seal the win for Essendon after lining up for goal directly in front from long distance with under a minute left in the game, but his kick dragged left and hit the post.

And King took exception to several Bombers leaders circling Jones in hopes of celebrating a goal instead of setting up defensively.

“These players on the edges, they are going in to celebrate, that’s the leadership group there — (Andy) McGrath, (Zach) Merrett, (Dylan) Shiel. Two minutes to go and Heppell is on the bench, work that out, why would you have your captain on the bench when the game is in the balance?” King posed.

Directly after, Collingwood swiftly played on from the kick in and found Trent Bianco wide open on the wing in another glaring moment of unaccountability from the Bombers, with the young Pie then setting up Elliott’s match-winning play.

“We try and work out how Bianco had all this space on the wing, and it was because Essendon just hadn’t got set up,” dual All-Australian Leigh Montagna said.

“If you’re a strong team with strong leader you’re saying, ‘Hey, let’s presume he’s going to miss the kick, everybody get in your positions, how do we want to set up? What do we want it to look like? Let’s make sure that if this kick misses we’re set up’.

“They’ll be kicking themselves Essendon, even if he had’ve missed it, they should’ve been able to deny Collingwood going the full length of the field in a minute.”

King highlighted how teams are likely to score a goal from one in every 30 kick outs, meaning the opportunity for the Pies to win the game from that situation was around just three per cent as something of a Hail Mary play.

“To be able to do it with that time pressure in that situation where the opportunity should be organized, should never happen,” the dual premiership-winning Kangaroo said.

“This is on the Essendon leaders for me, and I can’t just walk past this one, this is absolute coaching, this is situational training. If it’s good enough for Craig McRae to be doing it first year with Collingwood with no expectations on this group, then why isn’t it good enough for Ben Rutten to be doing it at Essendon?”

Former Hawthorn sharpshooter Ben Dixon added: “I couldn’t agree with you more, those leaders were a deer in the headlights. They didn’t know what scenario it was, they had no idea. Seventeen other teams would’ve set up straight away and gone, ‘If he missed that, we’re ready, the game’s on the line’.”

Originally published as ‘Couldn’t run a bath’: Damning vision exposes Essendon debacle in last-gasp loss.

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