So let’s go back to round 10 to begin this discussion. Essendon were 4 wins and 6 losses and once again Essendon fans were scratching their heads(including me) into how this could all happen again in 2019. Essendon were in the exact same position in 2018 minus Dylan Shiel and fans were doubting the direction of the football club in terms of on field success. Essendon was a side that seemed to lack cohesion, direction and an obvious game plan. The players looked a bit lost on the field and the coach was externally under major media scrutiny. Though many will argue to me today we should of believed in the club all along, I don’t believe anyone was actually wrong having those concerns on the coaching structure and field play as it was a repeat of the same concerns the previous year.
Fast forward to round 19 being completed and The Essendon Football club is 11 wins and 7 losses, 2 games clear in the top 8 and could be pushing for a top 6 spot by the end of year. Might I mention also in this stretch Essendon also go through a nightmare injury toll to its stars. What the hell happened? How did we find such perfect form so quickly to turn it around?
To be honest I am not exactly sure the boys found the perfect form to warrant such a turnaround…nor did they totally fix the forward entry concerns or start to play 4 Quarters of consistent footy. What they did find however was a backbone, a genuine anger to losing and a culture or resilience no matter how hard they were challenged. In 2018 the change in form was through exciting play and a care free attack on the game….but it may not of been sustainable in the end which showed eventually when we still could not make the finals. The difference in this run of success is a cultural shift in mental strength, grit and hunger to fight through indifferent form. Winning ugly can be just as pivotal to eventual Premiership success than winning with flashy brilliance. The truly great teams just keep clocking up wins mid-year by fighting through form slumps and games where not all goes right or injuries start to increase.
The Essendon of old would of lost the Nth Melbourne, Gold Coast and GWS games. We were the team that breaks your heart way too often. To see Essendon have the character to overcome the critical big moments and produce footballers that can produce big plays is a really significant step for the future. I said on the Lunchtime Catch Up Podcast the season for me was marked as a D so far…that was about 4-5 weeks ago. We then won the next 5 games. Right now I have to push the grade to a B. The injury toll to critical players cannot be ignored or over looked, the step up from our VFL players tells me of a professional program under coach Dan Jordan that is also shaping Essendon for future consistent success.
The reality is Essendon have another two levels to go up…but that is an exciting aspect for all fans. With so many changes to the side the team has had consistent issues with a game plan that is not always fluent or in sync (especially up forward). Hopefully in time that will come. For now we should be appreciating the pride and fight the boys are displaying wearing the red and black. I was very critical of the club mid-season and I believe that was fair to be openly critical as we were genuinely poor. The club and coaching group however has shown me they do have something building and while we still have some way to go, it’s match day commitment, fight, resilience and will to win is a key core step to hopefully ultimate glory in the near future.
Congratulations to everyone at the club including Woosha. Look forward to seeing you all take on Port and cheering loudly.
Loving the podcasts too, absolutely essential listening, I’m a hairs breadth away from pulling the trigger on the Patreon option where you and Grant are contractually obligated to call and ask my opinion once every three months.
this is what is confusing, because it goes against logic that if all the concerns above are still present, why are the outcomes different now ?
I know people will say the gameplan is now coming together, but even that can and has been picked apart at times pretty easy, and IMO the team balance in trying to implement it hasn’t been great all the time.
but again they keep getting wins despite all of that.
it’s really odd watching cos again the way they are playing, they shouldn’t be winning, but they are.
If they fix even just 10% of the perceived mistakes we see, they could be beating teams more comfortably and earlier in games, but can they do it.
Thought you were eating our 2019 cliff hanger wins Scott, Worst to best for mine:
Freo not so great
Sydney felt comfortable
GC thriller against comp punching bags
GWS massive tidal wave over comp heavy hitters
North combo of beating rival (come at me), overcoming expectations/injury and gripping, ecstatic last seconds
We are a statistical anomaly at the moment and in time the trend will bend.
Realistically should probably be 9-9 rather than 11-7. Lost a couple of close ones, won 5.
Feels like there are three teams that are good enough to be perennial contenders (WC, Rich, GWS), two that are a threat if things go right (Geel, Coll) and then a pack of mid table teams chasing the last few spots in the eight including us (the SA teams, Bris, WB, Melb, Haw). Then there is the rest, then there is Gold Coast.
Has a 1996 feel about this year… we were hanging around the lower end of the top 8 for most of the second half of the season and involved in many close ones (winning and losing). And some close shaves against some of the bottom clubs!
Close ANZAC Day loss that year, draw with Sydney at the SCG, close win over Melbourne at the MCG, 1 point win over a struggling Fremantle at the MCG, come from behind wins over Hawthorn and Richmond, 3 point win over a struggling Bulldogs at the MCG on a Friday night, very narrow loss in Perth against the Eagles … amongst others. Had a lot of momentum coming into the end of the home and away season despite all the close results.
We really weren’t given much hope going into the finals that year either… but ended up 1 point away from a Grand Final. Despite those couple of heart breakers later that year, hope we can be equally as competitive when the finals come around.