Brendon Goddard says Hawks shootout wasn’t fun as Bombers slip from finals contention
BRENDON GODDARD, Herald Sun
August 4, 2018 8:38pm
IT’S a classic case of either looking at the glass half-full or half-empty.
As an Essendon playing group we felt we could not have performed much worse against Hawthorn when it came to playing the Bombers’ brand of football that had defined us over the past two months and delivered six wins from our previous seven games.
Our ball use was poor, our turnovers were costly and our forward pressure was well down.
A lot of the times we went inside 50 it felt like the Hawks rebounded it straight back out.
Across the four quarters we never got the game on our terms, except for two brief patches at the start of the first and third quarters.
It was a day the Bombers let one get away. Pic: AAP
Yet, as poorly as we played, at the final siren at the MCG the scoreboard showed we had only come up four points short.
We nearly found a way to win and that is a strong sign of maturity among this group.
The reality is you’re not going to be at your best every week, but you have to stick to the process and remain in the right mindset which we did — and it almost got us the result.
Take nothing away from Hawthorn — it did a good job and deservedly won the arm-wrestle.
But the fact is while the shootout — encompassing a 10-goal second quarter — might have proven a crowd pleaser it was certainly not the style of game we wanted to play.
I looked up at the scoreboard at one point and thought: “I bet everyone at home’s enjoying the game.”
But for us it wasn’t that enjoyable at all and as a defender it felt we had little time to set up the way we wanted behind the ball.
That doesn’t excuse some of our skill errors and blunders, one which I made as I overstepped the goal square line in the final term while kicking out.
What was it, 5cm over? I’m tipping a lot of those don’t get called but it happened and the fact is sport can be a game of centimetres at times.
Essendon coach John Worsfold with Brendon Goddard. Pic: AAP
The incident resulted in a Hawthorn goal, but it was one moment among 18 kick-ins on the day among 120 minutes of football.
We did not talk about the game being a mini-final as some others outside had but the loss certainly hurts.
We knew both consciously and subconsciously just how important a game it was for our September aspirations and we shot ourselves in the foot.
But while some will have written us off securing a finals spot, with three games to go — against St Kilda, Richmond and Port Adelaide — we have to keep our chins up.
The reality is that, while we have to keep winning, we’re still in a pretty good space.
As long as we remain mathematically still in the hunt we will keep fighting to win as we try to get back that Essendon brand of football out on the field and further develop it.
I have faith in this group both for the remainder of this year and beyond and, while there has been some tough times this season, I am still enjoying my football as much as ever.
Brendon Goddard will discuss his future in coming weeks. Pic: Getty Images
My determination to play on for a 17th season next year remains absolute and I will sit down with John Worsfold either this week or next to discuss that.
It’s now late in the season and my body still feels good physically, which is backed up by my GPS figures which have not shown any major drop off this year.
And mentally I’m still loving being out there and my passion for the game still burns strong.
The moment you stop enjoying it, particularly at my age, is the moment you should give it up because the game’s too ruthless, it doesn’t wait for anyone.
You get left behind if you’re not in that right mindset but I’m enjoying every minute.
As I’ve said all along, if either I or the club feels like I’m holding anyone back then it is what it is.
I’m here to help the footy club and no individual’s bigger than the club.
That is a conversation to be continued with John in the next fortnight, but my focus for now is on getting a win against St Kilda next Friday night and keeping this season alive.