Essendon’s losing streak stands at 13 games following Sunday’s loss to St Kilda but John Worsfold was a proud AFL coach after his side’s spirited display.
The Bombers harassed the more-fancied Saints all day and looked set to cause an upset when they had all the momentum and led by seven points midway through the last quarter at Etihad Stadium.
Worsfold was disappointed not to get over the line after St Kilda settled to record an 11-point win, but he couldn’t fault his young team’s endeavour.
“The players delivered on pretty much everything we asked them to do in slowing the Saints down and making it a contest and competing for four quarters,” he said.
“I’m really proud of the way that they went about that.
“(But) we’re here to win and we’re striving unbelievably hard to win.
“It was disappointing to be in the game for so long and just not grab a couple of opportunities late.”
Brendon Goddard, Adam Cooney and James Kelly were important for the Bombers but perhaps most encouraging was the input from some younger players.
Zach Merrett was outstanding with 36 possessions, Joe Daniher was a strong presence up forward and took a mark of the year contender, Orazio Fantasia kicked three goals and Darcy Parish collected 21 disposals.
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti was also moved from defence to attack with great effect.
“He was creative, he was clean and took his opportunities,” Worsfold said.
“He’s fairly composed when he gets the ball … he showed the same composure to kick inside 50 as he did as when he was coming off half-back, which is exciting because there’s a lot more pressure and a lot less space.
“He continues to show that he’s got a bright career ahead of him.”