Worsfold takes aim at Essendon

“Even as a coach, you are fighting that. This is coming from board directors of the club … I am thinking ‘I am trying to win these players’ respect and trust back that you guys potentially lost and you want [to diminish] what they have achieved for this club. To win enough games to make the finals this year is quite remarkable.’ Anyway, that was my take on it. Other people thought differently.


“I had to wrestle with that. Was I right? Was I wrong? Should I have been harder? Is this what that football club does? Is that the culture I need to uphold, which, if it was, I probably would have walked out then. That doesn’t align with who I am as a leader of men, but we worked through that.”

The Bombers recalled Michael Hurley and Orazio Fantasia for that final but there had been injury doubts over others.

Former federal politician Lindsay Tanner was club president at the time, while current president Paul Brasher was on the board. In the club’s annual report, Tanner wrote: “Results throughout the year were never guaranteed, but one thing was certain, we played an exciting brand of football and showed the rest of the competition that we can be a force in years to come. In the end, our season didn’t finish the way any of us would have liked, however, our players represented the sash with great pride, and now, having tasted finals football, have an appetite for more.”

The Bombers head into their anniversary clash against the Blues on Friday in 16th spot (2-9 win-loss record) and enduring a horrid year. Their form prompted a contentious mid-season review and legendary coach and current board director Kevin Sheedy this week to question if “people at our club” understand that “it’s a war every seven days – that’s the only way to play and coach”.


Worsfold, a legendary West Coast Eagle, felt the current mood of the club was similar to what he felt after the 2017 final, and questioned why the Bombers claim they are beyond the on-field struggles all clubs face at some point.

“It’s interesting that now, as that same football club are back in the [media] at the moment, the same arguments are coming out – it’s unacceptable, that’s not who we are. Like that’s the only club in the world that has a right to never be average even though the game, the rules of the AFL, are to make sure that everyone gets their turn at the top, which does mean, unfortunately, that everyone gets their turn at the bottom,” he said.

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