ESSENDON great Tim Watson says the returning Bombers are still getting used to the pace of AFL football after serving their 12-month suspensions following coach John Worsfold’s admission the players have “hit the wall”.
After exploding into the season with an emotional win over Hawthorn in Round 1 and then an away win against Brisbane, Essendon have suffered two losses in a row, including a heavy defeat to Adelaide on Saturday night.
JOHN WORSFOLD: BOMBERS HAVE ‘HIT THE WALL’
In the aftermath of that game Worsfold said the returning players have “felt the pinch”, something Watson says wasn’t unexpected as they adjust to the fast-paced brand of football being played in 2017.
“I think there was always going to be issues around their conditioning having been out of the game as long as they have,” he said.
“Also, the game has moved on. It’s a quicker paced game than these players played back in 2015 when they last played.
“The game has changed and I think they’re still adapting to that as individuals.
“They came off a six-day break, which has its challenges as well.
“When he (John Worsfold) says they’ve hit the hall I don’t think it’s they’ve hit the wall for the season, I think that they’re just finding the early month of football really tough because of the grind and the repetitive nature of it.”
Essendon captain Dyson Heppell moved to dispel fears he and his teammates were tiring so early in the season and leading into the Anzac Day blockbuster against Collingwood despite his coach’s comments.
“I don’t think so, it’s very early days in the season,” Heppell said on Channel 9 of whether the players had hit the wall.
“(After) a couple of trips away you’re sort of getting back into the swing of things and getting used to the routine again. No worries, we’ll be fine.”
Watson, whose son Jobe Watson battled away against the Crows and was singled out by Worsfold as a player who was struggling on Saturday night, says this doesn’t mean the Bombers will be easybeats.
He expects Essendon to be better for every game they play.
“I think it’s probably going to be the opposite,” Watson said on Talking Footy when asked if the Bombers would struggle later in the season. “They’ll probably build their endurance base as the season goes and I think they’ll improve their ability to be able to recover from game to game.”
Originally published as Bombers still adapting to footy of ‘17: Watson
SOURCE: newsnow sport