What Essendon needs for 2022 and beyond

September 2, 2021 BY

Tall order: There was a heavy reliance on players like Aaron Francis as marking options during the Bombers loss on Sunday. Photo: DARREN ENGLAND/ AAP IMAGE

WITH Essendon’s season in the books, club great Tim Watson has given his thoughts on what they need to improve on in 2022.

The Bombers finished the season in strong form and claimed eighth on the ladder, but still have holes they must address to take the next step.

Watson feels the club is light on forwards, particularly key marking and smaller crumbing types. On the weekend, they were reliant on Peter Wright, Alec Waterman and Aaron Francis as their marking options.

Cale Hooker announced his retirement after a strong first half of the season, while Harrison Jones was injured and is still young and developing. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti also didn’t play in the finals loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday.

Essendon lost Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia in the trade period and still need to find replacements for them in their best 22.

“Overall their season has been good, but they still need to find a forward, they still need to find a crumbing forward, obviously [Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti] didn’t play yesterday and he’s been their best crumbing forward,” Watson said on SEN Breakfast.

“I still think they need somebody else with genuine pace and excitement who can actually crumb the ball, which they don’t have.

“They need to find a forward who can actually mark the ball. Harrison Jones obviously was out injured and he will need to develop over the summer months.

“They are areas of their game they really need to improve, they’re deep in the midfield, but once this game got on the terms of the Bulldogs they got to work, their contested ball in the second half was 102-68, the clearances were 26-16.

“All the things that we have known about [the Bulldogs] as to what they do and how they perform all came together in the second half.”

Essendon only managed 36 points in the wet conditions on Sunday and went goalless after half-time.



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