Essendon won’t make the AFL finals this year according to club great Matthew Lloyd.
The Bombers are in re-build mode after Adam Saad, Orazio Fantasia and Joe Daniher all left in the offseason. The club made their intentions know when they picked Archie Perkins, Nik Cox and Zach Reid within the first 10 draft picks of last year’s draft.
New coach Ben Rutten said the club has “taken a step back to go forward” when asked about players leaving the club in his first interview of the year.
Lloyd said last year there was a lot of talk from the club that wasn’t backed up on the field. He hopes it will be different this year.
“The question was put to Ben (Rutten) about the leadership (group),” he said.
“(He was asked to) talk us through why you take (Dylan) Shiel and (Zach) Merrett in and out (of the leadership group) and I think that just about sums up the inconsistency across the board.
“I said last year that it was all words and it was frustrating me at the time, I wanted to see actions and responses on the field.
“You give every team a clean slate at this time of year, but every team at this time of year feels amazing as no one has lost a game at this point.
“What is great for Ben (Rutten) is he’s the coach now, as great as it was to have John Worsfold over the top of him, he still was on probation in a sense and now this is his team.”
Lloyd said their chances of playing at the business end of the year a low, considering their lacking punch in the forward-line.
“I think there’s a great young squad there – I don’t expect them to play finals this year,” he said.
“I don’t see how they put scoreboard pressure on with the forward line they have got with (Jake) Stringer, (James) Stewart and (Cale) Hooker.
“I think in their own minds, I think they’ve taken a step back to go forward.”