Dyson Heppell leads Essendon off the MCG after losing to Carlton.
Dyson Heppell leads Essendon off the MCG after losing to Carlton.

Woosha passing the Bomber buck: Cooney

ADAM Cooney has accused John Worsfold of deflecting blame to his players as Jake Stringer's form slump jeopardises his place in Essendon's side.

The Bombers are riding a four-match losing streak that has heaped pressure on Worsfold ahead of a clash with Geelong on Saturday at the MCG.

Worsfold again threatened his team with the selection axe on Saturday as Bombers fans wait to see if he follows through.

He challenged his players to find a trademark after the humbling loss, saying it was up to them to fight through this period.

But Brownlow Medallist Cooney, who played under Worsfold in the second of his two seasons at Essendon, suggested he was passing the buck.

"There's bigger issues than skill errors, it's the competitive nature of the players at the moment and a lot of them are in self-preservation mode at the moment," Cooney told SEN.

"I think (Worsfold's) heaping too much onto the players and deflecting away from himself, I'd have liked to see a united front from that press conference yesterday."

Jake Stringer, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Darcy Parish are all in the selection gun after yet another poor loss.

Stringer's form in the past fortnight has been terrible, as AFL great Wayne Carey called for him to be dumped to the VFL for an extended period.

In the past two weeks he has recorded a single scoring shot (a behind), laid only two tackles, and averaged 42 ranking points and 12.5 disposals.

One passage of play saw him leading a chase for the ball before nearly stopping as Darcy Lang went in hard to collect the ball, Stringer sauntering past the contest.

Devon Smith's superb start to the year has also put many of his teammates to shame.

 

Jake Stringer, Brendon Goddard and Michael Hurley after the loss.
Jake Stringer, Brendon Goddard and Michael Hurley after the loss.

He recorded 15 tackles against Carlton as he notched 97 pressure points, the highest recorded of any Essendon player since 1999.

Smith now has three of the best six recorded pressure ratings since 1999 at Essendon - despite playing just eight games as a Bomber.

In glaring contrast, Brendon Goddard's pressure has been non-existent in the past fortnight.

Goddard has had zero tackles in the past two weeks, the only general defender in the competition not to lay a tackle during that period.

Former AFLCA boss Danny Frawley echoed the concerns of many about the Don's lack of tactical acumen.

He described Brendon Goddard as "at the crossroads", saying "it was amazing how he spooked up, isn't he the guy that has to put the heat on the forward".

"I think he's been the right man for the right job at Essendon for the past, there's no doubt with his motivational and people skills, but (new football boss) Dan Richardson needs to add a strategist to be able to help John," Goddard said.

"The late Phil Walsh did a fantastic job at West Coast to get the web going when Worsfold was just teetering a little and then Phil left to go to Port and then John's coaching tenure finished for whatever reason at West Coast.

"They really need someone at the cutting edge that's going to get them playing consistent modern football. If I'm a player right now in an Essendon jumper, I deep down want us to change our style."

 

LIVE stream every match of every round of the 2018 Toyota AFL Premiership Season on FOX SPORTS. Get your free 2-week trial & start watching in minutes. SIGN UP NOW >



NATIONAL TREASURE: Lost war relic arrives on doorstep

premium_icon NATIONAL TREASURE: Lost war relic arrives on doorstep

'It's not every day someone sends a national treasure in the post'

Doctors say get rid of salt, here's why you shouldn't

Doctors say get rid of salt, here's why you shouldn't

How salt can save you from nasty afflictions as seasons change

Writer pens mischievous novel about ageing 'outrageously'

premium_icon Writer pens mischievous novel about ageing 'outrageously'

Nine years of working in aged care inspires first solo book

Local Partners