SYDNEY – Nine out of ten is normally an excellent, score, but not when you’re battling Essendon and the figures refer to your recent torrent of AFL losses.
The Bombers eked out a 13-point second quarter lead over Greater Western Sydney on Sunday, but were swept away in the second half.
Despite kicking just two goals in the first quarter and one in the second, Essendon lead by seven and eight point margins at the end of the first two quarters respectively.
Sadly for coach James Hird their defensive dam broke in the second half at Spotless Stadium and the Giants slammed on 11 goals.
Shootouts aren’t Essendon’s forte as they only averaged nine goals a game over their previous nine matches.
Veteran midfielder Heath Hocking played his first game of the season on Sunday, but Hird lamented the absence of several other stalwarts.
“We really haven’t had our best contested ball players in all year,” Hird said.
“David Myers has played three minutes for us for the year, Jobe (Watson) has played 12 games.
“Heath, that’s his first game for the year.
“We’re going with our third ruckman, we’ve lost Michael Hurley out of the team, so if you look at our team, it’s very very different.
“We’ve gone from being a quite experienced team in rounds one and two to almost the youngest team out on the park most weeks.
“There’s that and there’s no doubt when the WADA decision got handed down after the Fremantle game it certainly knocked the stuffing out of the players.
“Then we’ve got players underperforming as well, so there are some reasons, but we just haven’t got our guys playing at their optimum level ever.”
Hird will continue to give younger players a chance over the last four rounds.
“We’ve got some exciting young players we want to keep playing and we’ll bring in a couple more hopefully next week,” Hird said.