Tim Watson’s solution to Essendon’s midfield problems
Essendon legend Tim Watson thinks the Bombers don’t need an external review in their slow start to 2022, instead offering a different solution to address the problems on the pitch.
Ben Rutten’s troops have won one of their first seven games to start the season and look a far cry from the side that made the final last year.
Their midfielder has taken the brunt of the blame from fans and media pundits, and reports have surfaced this week that the players are confused about their roles in the squad.
Bombers champion Matthew Lloyd has suggested a pair of outside eyes would be beneficial if the club chooses to do another review, but Watson believes the issues at the Hangar can be resolved internally.
Asked by SEN breakfast co-host Garry Lyon if there is a need for an external review, Watson was resolved saying the Bombers’ issues should be resolved by the club’s coaching panel.
“It seems there is, and we had (Essendon assistant vice-captain) Andrew McGrath in our news yesterday talking about their midfield and midfield issues… and there is confusion” , did he declare.
“So they don’t need a review, what they need to do is get each one of those midfielders who are potentially confused about what they should or shouldn’t be doing and sit them down. individually and say, ‘Okay, this situation, what do you think we should be doing around the stoppage, center rebound stoppage, where do you think you should be?’.
“Do it individually and find out whether or not there’s some confusion to start with and put these guys on one page.
“It’s not an external review, it’s an internal review of the way you play, your game plan and the way you coach.
“Coaching is teaching and teaching is communication, if there is a breakdown here in communication it needs to be addressed and corrected.”
Rutten is only in his second year of senior coaching after taking over from John Worsfold at the end of 2020.
After the strong start to his coaching career, this stands as the first time the 38-year-old has come under significant pressure in the coaching box.
“In this case, and we’re all guilty of this, we go from 0 to 100 very quickly, a team loses a few games and we start talking about sacking their coach and external criticism, that seems to me like a problem where potentially everyone world is not on the same wavelength, and the players talked about it, where and how they should play their role in the team,” continued Watson.
“It shouldn’t be, but it is, and that’s what you need to fix.
“It’s not an external issue, we’re talking about issues specific to the way they play and they need to be dealt with as part of training, coming in and sorting out a miscommunication.
“That’s what the coaching staff are there to do, they’re there to put the players on the same page and explain to them what they need to do.”
Meanwhile, Rutten isn’t the only man in the line for the club record which puts them 16th on the ladder with a 72.3 save percentage.
List manager Adrian Dodoro has held the position since 2010 and is yet to see a final victory in his tenure, with criticism over holes in the club’s roster.
However, Watson brushed off criticism directed at the club’s recruitment.
“When you win you look inside and when you lose you look outside, that’s how it is and that’s where Essendon is at,” he said.
“People weren’t saying that at the end of last season, they weren’t saying that when Essendon went to the final last year, they were saying, ‘Great recruiting, you’ve got (top 10 signings) Nik Cox, you have Zach Reid and Archie Perkins, it was all very positive just six months ago.
Essendon returns to Marvel Stadium on Saturday night when they adopt an upgraded Hawthorn outfit.