AFL 1 year ago

Bombers had no reason to tank

  • Bombers had no reason to tank

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: The Bombers leave the field dejected after losing the round 18 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on July 24, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Reading Herald Sun reporter Mark Robinson's article this morning made me think, why would Essendon feel the need to tank?

The Bombers came up short against 17th place Brisbane by 37 points on Sunday, which almost certainly cemented their spot on the bottom of the ladder and the "winners" of the wooden spoon come the end of the year, something that the club has managed to avoid since 1933. 

Robinson's argument suggests that John Worsfold decision not to tag half back/midfielder Daniel Rich was either inept or planned. 

Now hang on a second, Rich hasn't had the greatest of seasons, whether he has been tagged or not. To suggest that he has been tagged every single week is incorrect.

"No matter if you believe tanking exists or doesn’t exist, there was one unusual and glaring lack of a match-up in Sunday’s game between Essendon and Brisbane," Robinson said in his article this morning. 

"For most games this year, Brisbane’s Daniel Rich has been assigned a tagger for a period of time.

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"The menacing left-foot of Rich’s is a huge asset and teams tend to cut it out of the game.

"Leppitsch has even made it known how much Rich hates the tag."

Rich may hate the tag, but Essendon coach John Worsfold said in his press conference at the conclusion of Sunday's game that small forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti was the man to shut down Rich. 

McDonald-Tipungwuti had three shots on goal before half time, which unfortunately for the Bombers, only one sailed through and the young Bomber cult hero failed to hurt Rich where it really mattered and made him accountable. 

Now, that's not inept coaching. That's poor execution from the players. Be it a first year player in McDonald-Tipungwuti or an experienced player in David Zaharakis who struggled to break his own tag from Brisbane's Mitch Robinson. 

Let's look at another aspect of this. 

Essendon hasn't sent a tag to anyone this season. From the top of the league to the bottom, they've gone out and played football and not looked at shutting down the opposition's best player. 

Just because the Bombers lost a game against 17th placed Brisbane, we should now start accusing them of tanking? 

Was "Robbo", as an Essendon fan, seeking a better result?

Essendon's and Brisbane's team on the weekend wasn't all that different with Essendon slightly more experienced thanks to their top up players, but the Lions a fraction older. 

At the end of the day, Brisbane just played better. Nothing more, nothing less. 

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