Essendon coach Mark Thompson is demanding an immediate turnaround from his players, regardless of the club’s off-field crisis.
The Bombers lost to Melbourne by one point on Sunday night after a hellish few days.
They lost captain Jobe Watson with a leg injury that could end his season and then ASADA issued 34 current and past Essendon players with show cause notices.
The start of the anti-doping disciplinary procedure follows the 17-month investigation into Essendon’s controversial 2012 supplements program.
A day after news broke of the show cause notices, Essendon and banned coach James Hird also started legal action against ASADA.
Essendon desperately needed a win in the wake of these events and even Demons coach Paul Roos admitted the Bombers should have won.
Thompson had his players behind closed doors for 50 minutes post-match.
But he later declared talk was cheap and said his players could turn things around ahead of Saturday night’s game against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.
“It can happen,” he said in a post-match video interview that was sent to club members.
“I’d expect after that 50-minute talk to the players that they get there straight away.
“It could be a good wakeup call.”
Thompson also stressed that the ASADA development was no excuse for poor on-field form.
“We’re not blaming ASADA and the week we’ve had,” he said.
“We’ve had those weeks before and played some good footy.
“It’s no excuse to hide behind it.
“It’s not great, what’s happening, but it is here and we can deal with that side and still play good footy – and we should.”
Essendon’s glaring problem was again in attack.
The Bombers dominated inside 50s and had nine more scoring shots, but still lost.
“There wasn’t too much to like about how we set up the forward line and how we moved the ball,” he said.
“It was OK early – but late, no.”
Overall, Thompson wants a tougher attitude from his players, saying they squandered a good start to Sunday’s game.
“We continue to drift along until the other team think they’re a chance to win,” he said.
“When that happens, we think we’re a chance to lose and the game is back on even balance.”