Everything’s going wrong for Essendon in 2022 and the Bombers are even copping stick for what happens on the field after full-time.
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Essendon players have come under fire for their post-game conduct after another ordinary loss on the weekend — their fourth in five games.
Fremantle beat the Bombers by 48 points on Sunday and Ben Rutten’s troops have now conceded 540 points for the year — more than any other side in the competition.
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Essendon was heavily criticised for how it played but now some have taken issue with how players acted after the final siren sounded against the Dockers. Port Adelaide legend Kane Cornes didn’t like seeing Dons stars smiling and chatting with the opposition after the heavy defeat, as fans wonder what’s gone wrong in 2022.
Essendon captain Dyson Heppell said he and his teammates were “hurting” but Cornes said the way they behaved after the game didn’t reflect that.
“I’m old school on this and I don’t care but they don’t look like they’re hurting, the players to me,” Cornes told Footy Classified.
“It’s a perception thing. You’re an 18-year-old Essendon fan, you haven’t seen your team win a final, you have started the season in about as bad a shape as you can start … and you’ve got players hanging out on the ground, laughing.
“Does it look like they’re hurting? Does it look to you like those players are hurting?
“Did you see fans hanging around after the game for 20 minutes and laughing?
“Don’t tell me, Dyson, you’re hurting, when there’s a perception that you’re not.”
Essendon great Matthew Lloyd torched his former club after its latest loss.
“I’m putting a line through them right now. I was there yesterday just as a spectator — a lot of angry fans, really, really disappointed,” Lloyd told AFL.com.au.
“There’s losing and then there’s losing the way they lost yesterday, which was as poor a loss as you’ll see. I thought they were outworked by Fremantle, they were too tough for them, I thought they were out-coached from a strategy perspective by (Dockers coach) Justin Longmuir.
“I thought Essendon had no answers in terms of their inside 50 work — it was Peter Wright, sit it on his head, nothing other than that.
“Through the midfield, those guys didn’t want to work as hard as Brayshaw and those types of players who wanted to work through the midfield. It was damning in just about every department.”
North Melbourne legend David King also gave Essendon — who made the finals last year — a brutal reality check.
“They are the nicest team in the AFL. Every team in our competition would love to play against the Bombers every week,” King told Fox Footy’s First Crack.
“They allow you so many luxuries, you can move the ball as easy as you like, they are uncompetitive at clearances and are uncompetitive at contested possession.
“It’s embarrassing what this club is putting out there at the moment. This is a proud football club that want for nothing and I can’t believe where they’re at right now – I really can’t.”
King added he “can’t believe how poor they are without the football”.
“Is this a club without standards? Is it a club that accept what the opposition brings and say, ‘Not our day today, too hard, not our day?’” King said.
“If you’re an Essendon fan sitting at home you’re entitled to say, ‘What’s going on with my football club? Are we just frittering away another batch of talent walking through the door that are good enough to deliver better than this?’”
Originally published as ‘Does it look like they’re hurting?’: AFL legend infuriated by post-loss images