Essendon players “should be embarrassed” by the latest findings from the club’s external review, after it was revealed they weren’t fit enough and lacked training standards.
The Bombers sunk to a 2-10 start to the season, including an embarrassing first round belting at the hands of Geelong, and finished in disarray – headlined by the botched last-minute bid to get Alastair Clarkson to the club.
Fox Footy’s David King was critical of the findings of the post-season review, questioning what “hope” now sacked coach Ben Rutten had.
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“If you can’t get the standards at training right, then you cannot succeed,” he said on SEN.
“I can’t believe it’s taken a review to get that feedback.
“If you’re a senior player at the Essendon Football Club you’re aware of that. How can you not have shifted the course of training standards through that period?
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“What hope did Ben Rutten have? I know his fingerprints are on quite a few of those (player-focused) areas. He should have driven training standards. And that alone is a reason to almost walk your coach.”
SEN co-host Kane Cornes labelled the review findings “embarrassing” for the players.
“You look at it behind the goals and you see the opposition transition the ball without a glove being laid on them – (ranked) worst in the competition – and you’re going ‘what’s going on here?’,” Cornes said.
“And you read they weren’t even fit, they lacked training standards and they weren’t prepared for day one of pre-season and you go, ‘OK, well that sort of makes sense’, but no one did anything about it.
“Those players should be largely embarrassed reading that review. Clearly there’ll be significant changes.”
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Cornes said Essendon fans had every right to feel “frustrated” reading the review, which surveyed more than 130 people at the club.
“The review recommended the need to drive higher training standards and to build a better fitness base for our players leading into the season,” club president Dave Barham said.
“We have accepted this, and our new AFL head coach Brad Scott has committed to a demanding pre-season designed at improving the consistency of our training standards across the entire playing group.”
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The players endured a horror 2022 season, where their defenders were likened to “witches hats” at times, due to the ease in which opponents were able to slice through.
Bombers’ great Matthew Lloyd believed the club had sunk “as low as it’s probably got in a number of decades”.
“That’s not the proud club I once played for,” he said on Sportsday.