‘Dons lose another tight AFL game

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Mark Thompson was entitled to swear.


Essendon were blown away early against Geelong on Friday night, then rallied magnificently and crucially lost their way when the game was there to be won.

For the third time this season, Essendon went down in a game where they were leading with two minutes left.

“Our openness cost us – our dumbness,” the Essendon coach said of the last quarter.

“But anyway, s**t happens.”

The nine-point loss leaves Essendon potentially two games outside the top eight ahead of next Saturday night’s enormous challenge, when they play Port Adelaide at the “Portress”.

Friday night was almost a carbon copy of the round-two loss to Hawthorn – bad early, a great rally and then an inability to seal the win.

They also lost to Melbourne by one point a fortnight ago.

“After a while, it gets you,” Thompson said. “Two years ago we won those matches.

“Sometimes it can go in runs – I think we’ve had enough of them.”

Thompson said there was too much confusion among his players in the first half about match-ups.

They were doing a lot of running, but it was mainly because Essendon players were being caught out.

“We just got them to knowing who they played on and just bring it back to an old-fashioned stoush,” he said.

One positive from the match is it again shows the ongoing ASADA saga is having a minimal impact on the players’ form.

Players fretting about the court action earlier in the day would not have rallied like Essendon did in the third term.

The Federal Court proceedings were televised, but Thompson said his players told him they watched the NBA draft instead.

One player who struggled when he badly wanted to soar was former Cat Paul Chapman.

Thompson had sympathy for the small forward, who was well held by Jed Bews.

“Even while he was playing, he probably would have thought about the whole Geelong thing – what’s he doing playing against this team?,” Thompson said.

“It’s hard for players to play against their old club; we’ll forgive him for that.”