Essendon coach John Worsfold is faced with a frustrating scenario: the Bombers are putting up encouraging efforts of late but the defeats keep mounting regardless.
A week after a spirited loss to St Kilda, Worsfold’s side trailed Richmond by a point late in Saturday’s game at the MCG before slipping to a 19-point defeat – their 14th in a row, equalling the longest losing streak in club history.
Such a fighting performance might have been enough for the suspension-ravaged Bombers earlier in the season, but not now.
“I like the fact that we’re getting annoyed that we’re getting close,” Worsfold said.
“We’re not happy and that’s a good sign because I reckon, earlier in the year, we would have said ‘Gee, we’re happy just to get that close’.
“The fact that we’re really making teams have to fight in games and giving ourselves a chance of winning is a real positive. The challenge now is to have the composure and the class to maybe get in front late and hold onto it.”
Last-placed Essendon host second-last Brisbane on Sunday week at Etihad Stadium in a clash that will likely decide who gets the wooden spoon.
“We’re desperate, not so much to avoid last spot, but to win,” Worsfold said.
“We want to win through our effort and start to build and get to know what it feels like to be a winning team.
“I would love for the players to experience that but they drive that. It’s in their hands about how much they want to get that win and how hard they’re prepared to work for it.
“Next week is going be a huge challenge for us to back up and play with the same intensity, the same attitude and take the game on again.”