Essendon veteran Brendon Goddard “lost the plot” with several of his teammates during the second half of his side’s heavy Anzac Day defeat to Collingwood.
The Magpies moved inside the AFL’s top eight for the first time since 2015 with a 14.17 (101) to 7.10 (52) victory over the Bombers in front of a huge crowd of 91,440 in the traditional April 25 encounter.
But Goddard’s antics dominated the post-match discussion after his frustrations spilled over and he angrily remonstrated with teammates including David Zaharakis and Joe Daniher in Essendon’s 49-point loss.
Goddard had 33 disposals but was booed in the last quarter and his behaviour angered the likes of AFL greats Matthew Lloyd, Tony Shaw and Danny Frawley.
Speaking at the three-quarter-time break, Lloyd said on 3AW: “He went straight over to the forwards and abused them.
“I just find it frustrating. With Brendon, it’s always someone else’s problem … no one likes being yelled at. I don’t care what line of work you’re in … yelling in someone’s face isn’t going to work.”
Commenting on the action unfolding in front of them, Shaw said: “He had a go at Zaharakis on the ground, he’s still having a go now … this is disgraceful.
“I think Brendon Goddard has got to have a good look at himself.”
Frawley added on SEN that Goddard “lost the plot” while Wayne Carey told Triple M that Essendon captain Dyson Heppell needed to tell the 32-year-old to “pull your head in … that’s not your job”.
Goddard acknowledged he was “animated” in the on-ground feedback sessions but said after the match it was his role to ensure his teammates were accountable for their actions.
“When myself or anyone else goes away from what we are doing as a team, and what we value, we hold each other accountable. They have a right to challenge me … and vice-versa,” he said on the Seven Network.
“A lot of times, what comes out of my mouth doesn’t reflect upon my body language. I am an animated person at the best of times.
“I guess I don’t get it across politely but you have to get it across pretty quick.”
‘Sharing a learning opportunity’
Essendon coach John Worsfold said that he was not sure of the exact circumstances around Goddard’s heated discussions with his teammates, but guessed that players “would have been sharing a learning opportunity”.
“It’s not unusual players communicate things to each other with things they might think there is some confusion about,” he said.
“I would encourage our players to strongly communicate with each other if they’re not on the same page.
“We put that in the basket of to become a great team, we have to be on the same page and give each other strong feedback.”
Zaharakis said afterwards he did not want his teammate to change.
“He is a passionate man and everyone knows how passionate he is,” Zaharakis told Fox Footy.
“He wants to win so badly and wants the best for the team. Sometimes you might have to say ‘calm down, let’s talk about it and discuss what we need to do’.”
Treloar leads the way for impressive Magpies
Collingwood led at every change in Wednesday’s win, the club’s third in a row.
Crucial to the success was the first quarter, which Essendon controlled, but Collingwood still led by seven points at the break.
Anzac Day medallist Adam Treloar (34 disposals, two goals) and Scott Pendlebury (27 disposals) stood up in the second quarter and the Magpies moved 15 points in front at the main break.
And the second half was a Magpies onslaught, with the winners booting eight goals to three to run out convincing winners.
Steele Sidebottom kicked three goals and had 25 disposals for the victors while for Essendon, Zaharakis (34 disposals) and Zach Merrett (33 disposals) battled hard.