Finals or failure, facing the Freo flogs - Match Day Thread

The determination of Essington means it can win through even when you most expect it.

Essington has called in sick today
Its paddling time!

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Prepare thy offerings:

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Malthouse has written a pro Essendon article today. That’s bad isn’t it ?

John Worsfold was the perfect coach to bring Essendon back together, writes Mick Malthouse
August 27, 2017 7:00am
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To me, the coach of the year is a toss up between Don Pyke and John Worsfold.

Pyke landed at the Crows under difficult circumstances, taking over from the late Phil Walsh, and in a short time he has moulded the Adelaide team into a serious premiership contender.

Worsfold had to endure a horrid first season at Essendon where two thirds of the team was unavailable due to suspension.

He has had to bring in players to compliment the wider group and this year integrate those banned players back in while keeping a healthy team balance.

It was never going to be easy for Worsfold.

The Bombers should win today against Fremantle, and win well, assuring them a spot in the finals ahead of the West Coast Eagles, St Kilda and Bulldogs who were all the same points after the last round.

It’s a remarkable feat. And such an interesting, unpredictable and tough foray back into coaching for Worsfold.

The dual premiership player and premiership coach left West Coast and took time off because the demands had caught up with him and left him exhausted, mentally and physically.

John Worsfold, at the start of the season, has been exactly what the Bombers needed. Picture: Eugene Hyland
But it didn’t take long to regenerate his mind and body, which made him capable of answering Essendon’s call.

Worsfold coaches in a deliberate way.

His teams are disciplined and fit. He doesn’t tolerate individualism, which is why the integration of “old” and “new” players, while not seamless, has worked really well for the Bombers.

The only constant this year has been inconsistency, which was highly predicted for Essendon with so many players returning from a year off.

No matter how much they trained, for those boys coming back it was always going to be hard to catch up with the game, blend in and be consistent.

And in Dyson Heppell’s case, to take charge. I feel like two life sentences were handed down with the 2016 ban.

One for Jobe Watson and one for Brent Stanton. Neither player has been able to get back to the form he was in before the enforced time off.

Even Heppell, who was such a promising talent, seems to have found the pre and post suspension transition rough, still looking for his natural rhythm. But unlike Stanton and Watson, he has next year.

Coach Worsfold has had to deal with all of this, and try and win games.

He couldn’t show favouritism for those coming back or for those who carried the can last year.

He had to basically start with a clean slate.

But along the way he has found some highly valuable players for Essendon.

Zach Merrett has been a standout. Orazio Fantasia — up until his hamstring injury — has been brilliant. Martin Gleeson, outstanding in the backline.

James Kelly has added so much in the last two years. And Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is a sensation.

And then of course there’s Joe Daniher, who is a genuine superstar.

These players and other younger players have created an excitement machine at Windy Hill.

Worsfold has had to harness the enthusiasm, the speed and the skills to get the right on-field balance.

He has also had to put up with the inconsistencies that come with a combined and youthful side. Just when you think the Bombers are set and ready to go, they falter.

Then unpredictably they draw out a big win against a top side.

But he’s had plenty of practice.

I appointed John as captain of the West Coast Eagles in 1991 when he was just 22-years of age. I saw in him a determination matched by very few, with an ability to remain calm in a crisis.

He was a captain who naturally led from the front on the ground. He never held back, to the point that he would have nothing left in his body after a game.

We had a magnificent season in his first year as skipper, just falling short of a premiership. We won it the following year. And held the cup together again in 1994.

Off field he was a lot quieter than people would guess, when the mild-mannered pharmacist would emerge.

So Michael Brennan did a lot of his heavy lifting for him off the ground, as vice-captain.

I have a feeling Worsfold wasn’t liked by the opposition, but I know he was highly respected. He took no prisoners and his teammates followed his lead. That’s what you want in a captain.

As a coach at the Eagles he was able to harness one of the most talented midfields the competition has ever seen — with Chris Judd, Ben Cousins, Daniel Kerr and Dean Cox in the ruck — to eventually win the 2006 premiership.

It’s been different at Essendon with so many factors to deal with.

There are not too many weaknesses in the team that is probably the quickest in the league. On their day the Bombers can take it up to any of the sides in the top eight.

But they’ll need four finals victories to win the premiership this year, which I think, at this stage, may be beyond them.

John Worsfold can draw on his vast experience as player and coach as his club enters the finals.

At West Coast we were rarely favourites, but he knew how to rally his teammates.

This time he’ll need to rally his troops.

He has one of his best mates in the coach’s box alongside him, in Guy McKenna, offering support and knowledge.

Plus the vastly experienced Mark Harvey who bleeds red and black.

In the pre-season Essendon supporters hoped their club would do well this year, but it was possibly more hope that belief.

And yet now their club is on the cusp of delivering. John Worsfold should be congratulated on a magnificent effort, whatever the season outcome.


Hooker and Daniher. We need them to go clunk city today.

Hep needs to have 30 and be at his best.

We need Walla at full Walla mode.

Every other player slamming in and gut running like maniacs.

Im pumped.

Thanks for posting. I like the article -( not the author. )

Could be a big crowd.

Train from Ballarat is a sea of red and black and game doesn’t start for three hours.


Lyon’s gonna go full Terry Wallet 2000 bulldogs style today. Don’t expect a high scoring game.

EAD Ross Lyon

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I get nervous going up against any side with a quality midfield. Fyfe, Mundy, Neale, the Hill brothers and even Bennell = a fair bit of class.

They’re pretty weak everywhere else on the ground but I’m surprised at how condfident a lot of our supporters are re a comfortable win today.

We have everything to play for, however, plus you just know that blokes like Jobe & Kelly are going to deliver in their last H&A game. Bring it on!

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Anybody taking ‘mood insurance’ today? Never bet on sport before but I’m thinking this is the game to do it.


Freo by 10 for mine

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I’m ■■■■■■■■ myself to the degree of considering not going. Think I might need to reassess my life.


MM’s article is full of interesting insights, some opinions, some history, some tactical ideas and also the above paragraph which confuses my nervous little brain this morning as I wait for the balls to be bounced this afternoon

What does he mean?

Went outside and took a deep breath of the morning air. Record levels of Essington in the atmosphere.

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Yeah, went hard on the emotional hedge bets. Backed Freo for the win earlier in the week. Should have waited as they drifted substantially.
Also, earlier in the week backed us by under 40 into WC over 40. Much jucier odds and if it plays out will have enough in the account to sustain me for most of the spring carnival and as a bonus we’ll probably avoid Sydney.

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We’ll be tested to quarter time, after which I am confident it’ll be an enjoyable game.

Betting against Essendon (even Essington) is not allowed. What’s wrong with you clowns


I’m betting FOR Essington


Better have that roof closed, weather just turned real bad at docklands.

Holy ■■■■■, west coast are now favourites…