A frustrated Mark Thompson has predicted a tough month on the training pitch for his Bombers side, declaring bad training practices the root cause of Essendon’s loss to Richmond.
The Bombers were out-hunted and out-muscled by the Tigers in their 14.11 (95) to 11.11 (77) loss at the MCG.
After the best part of an hour in the rooms with his team, Thompson had distilled the reasons behind the loss.
Essendon just didn’t want it as much as the Tigers.
“It’s hard to be positive when you lose the game to Richmond who wanted to win more than us to play finals,” he said.
“(You) can’t take it any other way.”
Like Ivan Maric did a fortnight ago with his Richmond side, Thompson said poor training practices have cost his side.
“If you give the players a choice sometimes at training they’ll muck around with the ball,” he said.
“They’ll flick one off, just muck around and sometimes don’t even get it through the goals.
“That’s bad training and we constantly had to do that with this group, you know, to straighten ’em up, (to) finish the work.
“Tonight we never finished our work and it cost us the match.”
Saying there was a little bit of “Angry Bomber” in the change-rooms, Thompson said the fade-out was predictable.
“We played good football in bits and pieces… (but) you could just see it coming. We were too easy to play against,”
Appearing at his wit’s end with the group, Thompson said his post-match message wasn’t as ferocious as their round 13 loss to Melbourne, instead more reflective.
“Today wasnt nasty or anything, it was more about when, when, when are you going to change?”
“We could have won by a point, we could have won by three goals, I don’t think I’d be much happier.”
Thompson did praise the performance of Dyson Heppell, who had 32 touches, and said Jobe Watson, Michael Hibberd and Dustin Fletcher could return for next week’s crunch match with West Coast.
“I know two of the three will be right; Hibberd will play and so will Watson. Not sure about Fletch,” he said.