Brad Scott upbeat about Bombers’ foundations after loss

Shayne Hope |

Zach Merrett leads off the disappointed Bombers players after the 26-point loss to the Blues.
Zach Merrett leads off the disappointed Bombers players after the 26-point loss to the Blues.

Essendon’s wastefulness in attack over the past fortnight hasn’t shaken Brad Scott’s belief that his side has laid the foundations for AFL success.

The Bombers were flying high after their strongest start to a season in more than a decade, sparking expectation amongst a long-suffering supporter base.

But losses to Gold Coast and Carlton – the latter a 15.6 (96) to 9.16 (70) defeat at the MCG on Sunday night – have added speed bumps on the road to September.

The Blues (9-4) relegated Essendon (8-4-1) to third spot on a congested ladder beneath runaway leaders Sydney (11-1).

“I sit here at roughly the mid-point of the season thinking the foundation of what we’re doing is something to build on,” Bombers coach Scott said.

“We’ve just got to knuckle down and get to work because we’ve created a platform for us and an opportunity, but that doesn’t guarantee a thing.

“We’ve got to go to work and tidy up these parts of our game so we don’t come in and say, ‘It was a good effort.’

“Everyone’s expectations, both supporters but also internally, are going to lift – and so they should.”

Essendon managed only nine goals against Carlton from 60 forward entries, compared to the Blues’ 15 majors from 40 entries.

The stark difference in efficiency told the tale over the Bombers’ territorial dominance.

“We’ve got to analyse our method in terms of how we go forward,” Scott said.

“I think ‘Vossy’ (Carlton coach Michael Voss) has done a really good job with Carlton’s defensive system, so they were able to thwart a lot of our attacking forays.

“But we’ll look back in a fair bit of frustration at our lack of ability to convert connection inside forward 50.”

A huge crowd of 88,510 was on hand for the Bombers-Blues clash at the MCG – the second-highest attendance for a home-and-away contest between the two old enemies.

“It’s great practice to play in those games to be able to see how your system holds up, how your personnel hold up under pressure,” Scott said.

“We’re laying a foundation and we’re exposing our players to those sorts of situations.

“You’d like to think you’d only get better from those experiences.”

Essendon have concerns over the fitness of Will Setterfield. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Essendon have concerns over Will Setterfield, who was substituted out of the Carlton loss after re-injuring his troublesome knee.

But Scott expects “four or five” players to return after the mid-season bye, with defender Mason Redman (hamstring) at the top of the list.

Essendon host West Coast at Marvel Stadium in their next fixture on June 23.