Footy journalist Mark Robinson has delivered a passionate plea for the Essendon Bombers to finally deliver results for its fed-up supporters.
AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson has delivered a passionate plea for Essendon to stop the “spin”, fight back and finally deliver results and a clear direction for its fed-up supporters.
Robinson’s strong comments come with the Bombers sitting 13th on the ladder with just six wins for the season and the fourth-worst percentage in the competition.
After scraping into the finals last year, many pundits expected John Worsfold’s men to again challenge for the eight and, possibly, go deep into finals.
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But the Bombers face a long summer as Worsfold prepares to hand the coaching reins over to senior assistant Ben Rutten.
Worsfold appeared to distance himself from Essendon during his press conference after his side’s loss to Port Adelaide on the weekend.
The outgoing coach said “Essendon people” can’t expect to see their team have success fast just because they support a ‘big club’, blaming injuries and inexperience for a subpar season.
Robinson said it was “not a wise” for Worsfold to separate himself from the club, but said it was unfortunate Worsfold would now depart the club with many looking at him unfavourably despite taking the reins when the Bombers were at their lowest ebb.
That led to Robinson’s passionate take on the Bombers on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, calling for the club’s culture to be addressed, the new president to show strong leadership
AFL: AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson has unleashed on Essendon as John Worsfold prepares to hand the coaching reins to Ben Rutten.
It’s not his (Worsfold’s) problem. It is the culture of this football club which is the problem.
Now if I get a little bit emotional here, Gerard, it’s because I’m a little bit invested here.
For 15 years, people at that club have been telling us: ‘No, we’re building, we’re building, we’re planning, we’re going to be a good team, we’re going to be a good team’. And then to come out four weeks ago and say ‘we’re going to be a good team, we’re planning, we’re planning’. We’re sick and tired of being told ‘we’re planning, we’re planning’.
They’ve traded away draft picks, they’ve brought in All-Australians, they’ve brought in gun midfielders, they had All-Australians there. Yes their injuries – not everything John said on the weekend was wrong. He said a lot of right things. They’re a young team going against Port Adelaide who are on top of the table going for a premiership and the other team’s a broken-down team.
The Essendon Football Club has had an invisible president for 12 months. Now presidents can sit behind the glass and do the stuff at the board table, but football is a business and a passion. You’ve got to lead, you’ve got to lead.
We haven’t heard from Ben Rutten all year, except for in-house videos – where they ask him the questions. Come on! It’s like giving you the exam results before you do the exam: ‘Oh how easy is this? Bang, bang.’
Let’s get some, not curly questions, (but) let’s have a deep dive conversation on what’s your beliefs? What’s your game plan? Don’t worry about a time frame, who are you developing? What are you trying to develop into? What’s the culture that you’re trying to develop at Essendon? Because at the moment John Worsfold rolls out every week and people would say: ‘God, he’s starting to say the same things.’
And then the performance on the weekend, they had a cracked for a quarter and they couldn’t keep it going. That’s OK, that’s just where the team is at the moment.
But how about we cut it out with the rubbish. No more spin, no more spin.
The new president, Paul Brasher, he’s coming in. Do you know who Paul Brasher is? Not many people do, right. He’s a very respected figure, PricewaterhouseCoopers – he’s a leader. Come in and lead. Come in and lead. Deliver to the Essendon people. What’s the plan? What’s the change? What’s the culture?
You may have laughed when I said (Kevin) Sheedy has got to have a more active role – he’s in marketing! Get him out of marketing and get him back into football in some role. You know why? So when I have a go at Essendon or Matthew Lloyd has a go at Essendon or you (Gerard Whateley) has a go at Essendon, someone from the club can get up and ring up and say: ‘Who in the hell do you think you are?’ Fight back.
That’s why I was happy that Worsfold went at Lloyd. Fight! Well done, John. ‘Lloydy, you’re a champ and what you said was right. But I’m not going to let you say that.’
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