Infotainment Factory: Bomber legends unload on midfield star after loss

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Monday, 25 March 2019

Bomber legends unload on midfield star after loss


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Club legends Matthew Lloyd and Tim Watson have questioned the effort of star midfielder Zach Merrett after his sub-par performance in Essendon's 72-point defeat in Round 1.

Merrett, who has averaged in excess of 26 disposals per game over the past three seasons, finished with just 16 disposals against the Giants and was largely invisible for the majority of the match.

The midfield gun was one of several Bombers to have an injury-interrupted pre-season and appeared to lack match fitness as the Giants ran riot in the midfield.

Merrett was far from the only player to have his colours lowered in the Bombers' 22, but up to three separate plays from Sunday's loss caused Lloyd to question whether the 2017 All-Australian was still injured.

Zach Merrett

"Zach Merrett wouldn’t do this last year, just put an arm out there," Lloyd told Footy Classified.

"Either he’s injured or bereft of confidence. You can’t be lacking confidence in Round 1. You shouldn’t be lacking energy in Round 1."

Lloyd comments were supported by fellow Essendon legend Tim Watson said the 23-year-old's effort against the Giants was below AFL standard.

"It's almost as if he's given up. This is as bad as it can possibly be," Watson told Talking Footy.

Zach Merrett

"This is tough on Zach Merrett, he's a youngish type player - that is not AFL standard.

"There is not a coach in the competition that would accept that as effort."

The Bombers were widely tipped to be one of the risers up the ladder in 2019 after a brilliant finish to the 2018 season which saw the side go 10-4 over the final 14 rounds.

Essendon built its success in the back half of 2018 around pressure and effort around the ball, but were found wanting in the same departments against the Giants.

Zach Merrett

The Bombers' ranked last in the league in Round 1 in contested possession differential (-40), forward 50 marks (12), Scores per Inside 50 (29%) and Pressure Factor (1.71).

According to Lloyd, the lack of effort and heart shown by the players was reminscent of a group that had given up on the season.

"They played like a team where it gets to Round 17 and you think your season is over (and) send players away for surgeries and give no effort. I could not believe Round 1," Lloyd said.

"I thought Geelong made them look silly in the last JLT. Then to hear Dyson Heppell make a comment saying ‘we have to get some energy back’ and then no energy came back.

"It had me asking questions like: What’s going on internally in the football club between players, coaches, could it be gameplan?

"I don’t blame any gameplan for what happened on the weekend."

Club legends Matthew Lloyd and Tim Watson have questioned the effort of star midfielder Zach Merrett after his sub-par performance in Essendon's 72-point defeat in Round 1.

Merrett, who has averaged in excess of 26 disposals per game over the past three seasons, finished with just 16 disposals against the Giants and was largely invisible for the majority of the match.

The midfield gun was one of several Bombers to have an injury-interrupted pre-season and appeared to lack match fitness as the Giants ran riot in the midfield.

Merrett was far from the only player to have his colours lowered in the Bombers' 22, but up to three separate plays from Sunday's loss caused Lloyd to question whether the 2017 All-Australian was still injured.

Zach Merrett

"Zach Merrett wouldn’t do this last year, just put an arm out there," Lloyd told Footy Classified.

"Either he’s injured or bereft of confidence. You can’t be lacking confidence in Round 1. You shouldn’t be lacking energy in Round 1."

Lloyd comments were supported by fellow Essendon legend Tim Watson said the 23-year-old's effort against the Giants was below AFL standard.

"It's almost as if he's given up. This is as bad as it can possibly be," Watson told Talking Footy.

Zach Merrett

"This is tough on Zach Merrett, he's a youngish type player - that is not AFL standard.

"There is not a coach in the competition that would accept that as effort."

The Bombers were widely tipped to be one of the risers up the ladder in 2019 after a brilliant finish to the 2018 season which saw the side go 10-4 over the final 14 rounds.

Essendon built its success in the back half of 2018 around pressure and effort around the ball, but were found wanting in the same departments against the Giants.

Zach Merrett

The Bombers' ranked last in the league in Round 1 in contested possession differential (-40), forward 50 marks (12), Scores per Inside 50 (29%) and Pressure Factor (1.71).

According to Lloyd, the lack of effort and heart shown by the players was reminscent of a group that had given up on the season.

"They played like a team where it gets to Round 17 and you think your season is over (and) send players away for surgeries and give no effort. I could not believe Round 1," Lloyd said.

"I thought Geelong made them look silly in the last JLT. Then to hear Dyson Heppell make a comment saying ‘we have to get some energy back’ and then no energy came back.

"It had me asking questions like: What’s going on internally in the football club between players, coaches, could it be gameplan?

"I don’t blame any gameplan for what happened on the weekend."

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