This article conveniently overlooks the fact that Myers and Hocking have been missing all year, Zaka now for most of it and Jobe playing injured for half of it which might just account why our Clearance numbers are down.
It also neglects the fact we got a gem in Zach Merrett and unearthed Ambrose as a result of losing Crameri.
But let’s not let the facts get in the way of a story…
MARCUS Bontempelli may long haunt Essendon.
When the AFL dished out its supplement penalties, it cost James Hird a year out of the game, slapped the club with the biggest fine in league history and sapped the spirit of 34 past and present payers for two and a half years.
But what has been overlooked is the draft sanctions, which not only stripped the club of three top 40 picks but also struck a devastating blow to their premiership chances.
After starting this season at 4-5, the Bombers appear to be at a crossroad.
They have the third-oldest list in the competition and face defining tests of their finals aspirations against Geelong and West Coast before the bye.
Big man Tom Bellchambers is ranked 27th for average rankings points (of all ruckmen) by Champion Data and Essendon has fallen away badly at the stoppages this year, following the departure of Paddy Ryder.
They are ranked 17th for total stoppage wins.
It’s a shocking figure for a midfield boasting Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell and Brendon Goddard.
The midfield conundrum is why it hurts the Bombers to see second-year dynamo and clearance king Bontempelli star.
In late 2013, the Bombers had a little-known plan to nab the young superstar midfielder.
Before the AFL penalties were announced on August 27, 2013, the Bombers were talking with the Western Bulldogs on a deal for goalkicker Stewart Crameri.
At the time, Essendon was lined up to have pick No.11 and was prepared to package it and goalkicker Crameri in exchange for the Dogs’ pick No.4.
With it, the Bombers would have taken 193cm Bontempelli, who they were believed to rate the best player in the 2013 draft.
Essendon believed ex-Western Bulldogs’ coach Brendan McCartney was interested, even if others at the kennel were not.
But when the AFL took away pick No.11, as well as three other selections, the Bombers hopes of securing the swap – and the Scott Pendlebury clone - were lost.
The draft sanctions also cost Essendon pick No.31 (West Coast livewire Malcolm Karpany) in 2013 and pick No.12 (slick Richmond left-footer Corey Ellis) and pick No.30 (Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard) in last year’s draft, although they got pick No. 20 (Jayden Laverde) back.
Without those selections, the Bombers had to go for some mature talent in the past two years to provide some cover.
They will hope the return from injury of senior trio Heath Hocking, David Myers and Jason Winderlich can add to the side in the second half of the season.
But, the Bombers will have to go back to the draft table this year, keeping hold of their top picks. They must find the next Bontempelli.