After a very limp performance against Geelong in round 10, Essendon vowed to put in a performance that will restore pride in its jumper. Looking at the score board in isolation, they didn’t quite get to do that. But what do the other numbers reveal?
Let’s start with that pesky score board, because it is the stat that will determine who gets the 4 points. Essendon finished on 6 goals 10, 46 points and West Coast kicked more than double this, 14 goals 12, 96 points. This is not only a loss when looking at the final points, but 16 scoring shots to 26 with an accuracy of 38% when compared to West Coast’s accuracy of 54%.
So we know their kicking at goal is not great. This problem is despite the forward 50 efficiency, which was competitive at 46% (16 shots from 35 entries) when compared to the Eagles 47% (26 shots from 55 entries). This alone shows you how costly those missed kicks are. Had Essendon also been competitive in the accuracy stakes, their score would have been 9 goals, 7 behinds, totalling 61 points. This is still not enough to win the game, however a significant improvement none-the-less.
As well as improving accuracy, Essendon will need to improve its entries, and make those quality entries. The good news is that the competitive efficiency suggests that the entries were of a higher quality than against Geelong, this time with the forwards kicking letting them down. The other bit of good news is Essendon’s ability to retain possession of the ball, getting 413 touches to 362. However, the issue is that 199 of these touches were disposed as handballs, which is 48%. West Coast on the other hand preferred to kick the ball, a total of 202 times or 56% of the time. This was a key factor to getting the ball into their forward line 20 more times than Essendon, which was the ultimate straw that broke Essendon’s back this game.
Of course, their entries were also assisted greatly by 51 clearances compared to Essendon’s 37, however in a strange way, you have to tip your hat to the Essendon midfielders for even being that close in that stat. West Coast dominated the hit outs, 73 to 28 as Essendon does not have an eligible ruckman they felt was in good enough form to tackle the powerful West Coast rucks.
The last point is the pressure. Something that was lacking from Essendon’s round 10 loss. Despite having the bulk of the ball, Essendon was able to lay 97 tackles compared to West Coasts 57. This is a major positive as it showed Essendon was at least playing with some ticker.
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