Essendon Bombers vs Western Bulldogs, damning criticism, let it happen, midfield blitz, Jordan Lewis, analysis, finals hopes, Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, result


Four-time premiership winner Jordan Lewis has delivered some brutal truths to Essendon after their “embarrassing” 41-point loss to the Western Bulldogs on Friday night.

Lewis questioned if the Bombers mids had done their research on the likes of Dogs stars Tom Liberatore and Marcus Bontempelli after the duo tore the game apart at Marvel Stadium.

“It’s embarrassing,” Lewis said on Fox Footy.

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“When you look at the midfield of Essendon, (Zach) Merrett and (Darcy) Parish, and you hope they’d done their research and cared for the opposition because it didn’t look like it.

“You wonder if they prepared themselves off the back of a disappointing loss to Geelong. They were absolutely smashed in and around the contest.

“Not once did someone go to Liberatore and apply physical pressure or Bontempelli – they just let it happen. They got the results that they got.

“The game was on the Bulldogs’ terms for three quarters. The Dogs absolutely smashed them in clearance.”

Lewis questioned what the game plan was going into the match given the Bombers didn’t attack the Bulldogs defence with any pace.

“What was the game plan going in? Why did you want to deny them possession of the ball and chip sideways without actually attacking the goal face?” he asked.

“We scratch our heads! You wonder whether they’ve got the awareness of what’s happening.

“Did Zach Merrett understand what was happening, did Darcy Parish understand what was happening? Because nothing changed.”

Fox Footy’s Garry Lyon was equalling scathing in his assessment of Essendon’s loss, as they coughed up 12 goals to four after quarter time.

“It was a belting in the end,” he said.

“The Bombers were disappointing. That’s a pretty comprehensive belting.

“I just wonder how much of the fight Essendon were up for.

“The Dogs look ready to play finals – I don’t think Essendon do.”

Zach Merrett has come under criticism for not engaging with a star Dogs’ duo. Picture: Dylan BurnsSource: Getty Images

Lyon described the Dogs’ +38 contested possession and +27 clearance count after quarter time as a “mauling”, while fellow analyst Jonathan Brown said the side just “didn’t look like it”.

Brown also questioned the Bombers’ leadership after the team failed to take advantage of the Dogs’ weakness in defence.

“Brad Scott’s a smart coach – I don’t think he would have said ‘righto, we’re just going to chip the ball around and create the Bulldogs doing suicides’ like Liberatore said,” he said.

“It’s not going to be successful doing that, chipping it around.

“I don’t think Brad Scott would have said ‘let’s chip it around in the back half’ – that wouldn’t have been the instruction. So it’s a leadership thing out there.”

Fox Footy Live’s Cameron Mooney was left bemused by the Bombers’ efforts.

“I actually thought they were a bit soft tonight,” he said.

“They were second to the ball.

“Two weeks in a row now they just looked really off the pace.”

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