James Hird hopes that Essendon’s shocker against the Western Bulldogs hurts his players so badly that they never let it happen again.
The Bombers were competitive in a dour first quarter at Etihad Stadium but fell away dramatically after that on their way to a listless 87-point defeat
“Today I think the only positive is that you just don’t want to be involved in games like that,” a dejected Hird said.
“You want to perform better and those sorts of performances have to hurt. You want to get to the stage as a group and as a club that you just never let that happen.
“You can play poorly, you can lose and things can go wrong but you don’t lose like that.”
The Bombers were competitive in the three games after their 110-point thumping by St Kilda in round 14 but the manner of their capitulation to the Dogs has the coach sharpening his selection axe.
Hird issued a blunt reply when asked what his message had been to the players in the aftermath. “If we don’t turn up to perform consistently then you won’t play … you can’t play,” he said.
“We played like that against St Kilda four weeks ago and if you have two or three good weeks then go back to a performance like that then there’s a few guys who just won’t be able to play because they’re not turning up consistently to train and play.
“A younger team will have its ups and downs, it’s no excuse for today, but we’re finding out a lot about players so we can decisions at the end of the year.”