Infotainment Factory: AFL legend unloads on 'listless' Bombers

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Sunday, 24 March 2019

AFL legend unloads on 'listless' Bombers


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2019 was heralded as the year of breaking droughts for Essendon, but what transpired at the newly-named Giants Stadium the stuff of nightmares for all involved with the club.

Since the Bombers romped to the 2000 premiership, losing one game for the entire season, the rest of the century has been full of false dawns.

However, after a summer of true optimism after the Bombers managed to lure arguably the most high-profile recruit in the club's rich history, the Round 1 drubbing at the hands of the GWS Giants was perhaps the most dispiriting result of the last 20 years for a club that has gone through some dark periods.

Following the 72-point defeat, St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt was brutally honest about the result.

Essendon Bombers

"That was an absolutely listless performance by a team that a lot of people expect to go deep into September," Riewoldt said on Fox Footy.

"We try our best heading into Round 1 to try and get a form line on teams, but if you want to look at their JLT form, they were terrible.

"There was a lot of hype coming into the season and they’ve carried that form into Round 1."

Part of the reason for optimism around Essendon's 2019 prospects centred around a fast finish to 2018 which saw the club win 10 of its last 14 games on the back of a terrific pressure-driven game style.

Dylan Shiel

What was dished up in Round 1 was unfortunately anything but for Bombers fans.

The Giants smashed the Bombers in all facets of the game, outworking them all over the ground to 62 additional disposals, 41 additional contested possessions and amassing 32 scoring shots from 55 Inside 50s compared to Essendon's 15 from 52 Inside 50s.

Demons midfielder Jordan Lewis has been a part of plenty of successful teams throughout his career, and suggested that the match review will be damning for the players.

"As a coach, you’ve probably got to select one or two things that didn’t go your way," Lewis said on Fox Footy.

Stephen Coniglio

"Usually when it’s a big beating like this it comes back to the effort-based stuff.

"When they get that behind-the-goal footage, you can’t hide it and players will be ducking and weaving come the review on Monday."

With the disappointing result in the books, Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt said the onus would fall on Essendon skipper Dyson Heppell and the leadership group to steady the ship.

"I think it starts at the top," Riewoldt said on Fox Footy.

GWS Giants

"It’s on Heppell and his leadership group to identify themselves what they did poorly on the weekend and going to the coaches and going to the playing group and accepting it, but moving on and owning it as well.

You really look to your leaders after a performance like this."

However, despite the disappointment to open the season, Riewoldt backed Heppell and the Bombers to be able to bounce back.

"Credit to Essendon, they will bounce back (and) Heppell will own his actions and they’ll speak about it as a group," he said.

"Round 1 gets built up like it’s worth eight points, but in the grand scheme of things it’s only worth four points.

"It is how the Bombers bounce back from this, the honesty they see in each other and what they rectify (that is important)."

2019 was heralded as the year of breaking droughts for Essendon, but what transpired at the newly-named Giants Stadium the stuff of nightmares for all involved with the club.

Since the Bombers romped to the 2000 premiership, losing one game for the entire season, the rest of the century has been full of false dawns.

However, after a summer of true optimism after the Bombers managed to lure arguably the most high-profile recruit in the club's rich history, the Round 1 drubbing at the hands of the GWS Giants was perhaps the most dispiriting result of the last 20 years for a club that has gone through some dark periods.

Following the 72-point defeat, St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt was brutally honest about the result.

Essendon Bombers

"That was an absolutely listless performance by a team that a lot of people expect to go deep into September," Riewoldt said on Fox Footy.

"We try our best heading into Round 1 to try and get a form line on teams, but if you want to look at their JLT form, they were terrible.

"There was a lot of hype coming into the season and they’ve carried that form into Round 1."

Part of the reason for optimism around Essendon's 2019 prospects centred around a fast finish to 2018 which saw the club win 10 of its last 14 games on the back of a terrific pressure-driven game style.

Dylan Shiel

What was dished up in Round 1 was unfortunately anything but for Bombers fans.

The Giants smashed the Bombers in all facets of the game, outworking them all over the ground to 62 additional disposals, 41 additional contested possessions and amassing 32 scoring shots from 55 Inside 50s compared to Essendon's 15 from 52 Inside 50s.

Demons midfielder Jordan Lewis has been a part of plenty of successful teams throughout his career, and suggested that the match review will be damning for the players.

"As a coach, you’ve probably got to select one or two things that didn’t go your way," Lewis said on Fox Footy.

Stephen Coniglio

"Usually when it’s a big beating like this it comes back to the effort-based stuff.

"When they get that behind-the-goal footage, you can’t hide it and players will be ducking and weaving come the review on Monday."

With the disappointing result in the books, Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt said the onus would fall on Essendon skipper Dyson Heppell and the leadership group to steady the ship.

"I think it starts at the top," Riewoldt said on Fox Footy.

GWS Giants

"It’s on Heppell and his leadership group to identify themselves what they did poorly on the weekend and going to the coaches and going to the playing group and accepting it, but moving on and owning it as well.

You really look to your leaders after a performance like this."

However, despite the disappointment to open the season, Riewoldt backed Heppell and the Bombers to be able to bounce back.

"Credit to Essendon, they will bounce back (and) Heppell will own his actions and they’ll speak about it as a group," he said.

"Round 1 gets built up like it’s worth eight points, but in the grand scheme of things it’s only worth four points.

"It is how the Bombers bounce back from this, the honesty they see in each other and what they rectify (that is important)."

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