Essendon ‘embody everything a failing footy club is’: Pundits turn the flamethrower on ‘soft’ Bombers and Dylan Shiel after they took a hammering from the Swans
David King has slammed Essendon as a ‘failing footy club’, with the Bombers’ 58-point shellacking against Sydney on Saturday a fresh reminder of how low they had fallen.
A week on from mounting a spirited fourth quarter comeback to beat Hawthorn, Essendon were dismantled 14.21 (105) to 6.11 (47) at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the gap could have been even greater had the Swans’ goalkicking been more accurate.
The loss left the Bombers 16th on the AFL ladder with just two wins from the opening nine rounds and any hopes of replicating last season’s surprising finals appearance in tatters.
David King slammed Essendon for picking Dylan Shiel (above) in the team for the 58-point defeat against the Swans at the SCG on Saturday
Speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack on Monday night, King singled out Dylan Shiel’s inclusion as a sign the Bombers desperately lacked direction. The 29-year-old was dropped two weeks ago, but was back in the 23-man squad as a medical sub for the trip to the SCG.
‘They lost integrity of selection at that stage, and they accepted this standard,’ the former Kangaroo legend said.
‘You reap what you sow in this business, and they’ve accepted this for too long. […] They’ve allowed their standards to slip so far that now the players are blueing with themselves. It embodies everything that a failing football club is, it’s just unacceptable.’
Speaking on the same show, Leigh Montagna also referenced the spat between Shiel and Mason Redman and noted players arguing with teammates was an ominous sign.
The Bombers have lost seven of their nine games so far this season and look rudderless
Redman unleashed a verbal volley towards Shiel after the latter allowed Tom Papley to evade his grasp and take a mark inside the 50.
‘If you start losing trust on your teammates out in the field, that’s the concern and that’s what I’m starting to see with this Essendon side,’ Montagna said.
To compound his difficult night, Shiel had to endure being openly sledged by Luke Parker, after the Swans gun booted a goal in the second quarter.
Parker appeared to taunt the Essendon player by repeatedly shrugging his shoulders in front of him and the lack of retribution from the Bombers enraged former Essendon great Matthew Lloyd.
‘I would’ve plowed straight thorough Parker here, got him to the ground and said: “You will never, ever treat me like that again”,’ the three-time Coleman Medal winner said on The Sunday Footy Show.
Luke Parker chirped towards Shiel that he felt he was not brave in the tackle before his goal
The Sydney Swans star won the ball from Shiel and kicked a brilliant goal for the Swans
‘I’d cannon into him. If you don’t give away a free kick, even better […] Dylan Shiel isn’t that type of player to do it, but I would’ve loved for someone else to do it on his behalf.’
Bombers captain Dyson Heppell, however, insisted dishing out retribution would do his team no favours if they can’t make their presence felt when it matters.
‘It’s not about giving away free kicks or showing full blown aggression, it’s when the ball is there to be won. That’s what we want to stand for,’ he told Fox Footy.
‘I had no idea it was happening in the moment. I hadn’t even seen the vision.
Dyson Heppell (left) dismissed Matthew Lloyd’s claim Essendon needed to be more aggressive
‘So if you’re aware of it in the moment, I have no doubt teammates will go straight over and help and support. I’m not going to go in there and say sling Parker to the ground and give away a free kick. That does us no favours.’
Essendon face a very difficult draw over the next four weeks which includes three games against current top-eight teams.
The Bombers face a blockbuster clash against Richmond at the MCG on Saturday, before back-to-back games Carlton and St. Kilda on June 10 and June 17.
A resurgent Port Adelaide, which have won the last four games in a row, is the only team currently not in the top-eight that Essendon play in the next four weeks, when they travel to Adelaide in Round 11.