What Essendon needs to do to win a final
JIMMY Bartel says Essendon can break their long finals drought in 2022 if they continue to narrow the gap between their best and worst performances.
The Bombers are without a finals win since 2004, having failed at their most recent attempt in their 49-point defeat to Western Bulldogs in this year’s elimination final.
The club’s finals record has been a constant discussion point in recent years, but Bartel remains bullish that Ben Rutten’s side can break their finals drought next year.
He said a combination of incremental improvement and more luck with injury would hold the club in good stead next season.
“I think they have potential [to win a final] next year,” Bartel said on Sportsday.
“They fact they got a taste of it [in 2021] was really good, they got some experience, and you add more young players coming through… they just need a bit of luck with injury.
“You need Jye Caldwell to play a full season and get another 20 games into guys like Nik Cox.
“They also need the players who took a step [last season] to maintain that level and get better. Peter Wright started to emerge and had confidence in his game, if they can narrow the game between their best and worst, they can potentially win a final.”
Essendon won 11 games in Rutten’s first season as senior coach, surpassing most people’s expectations in 2021.
They recently added former Adelaide defender and unrestricted free agent Jake Kelly to their list, while they also currently hold picks 11, 48 and 53 in the upcoming National Draft.
– BY LAURENCE ROSEN/ SEN