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'Hurt' Bombers determined to bounce back

3 minute read

Essendon star Andrew McGrath says the entire AFL club is shattered after the Bombers' stunning after-the-siren defeat against bitter rivals Collingwood.

ANDREW MCGRATH.
ANDREW MCGRATH. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Hurting Essendon star Andrew McGrath is determined to ensure the dramatic events of the Bombers' extraordinary AFL loss never happen again.

The AFL world is still comprehending how Collingwood could defeat the Bombers through an after-the-goal siren to Jamie Elliott on Sunday.

After trailing by 37 points at quarter-time, Essendon surged to grab a 20-point lead during the final term.

But the plucky Magpies came again to kick the last four goals of a classic contest, including Elliott's instantly iconic match-winner.

Post-game analysis has shifted to how the Bombers allowed Collingwood to transition from fullback with 45 seconds left.

It came after young Essendon forward Harrison Jones hit the post from a set-shot earned from a ferocious tackle on Magpies star Jeremy Howe.

"I think because of the way we reviewed it, we'll learn from it and hopefully never let that happen again," McGrath said on Wednesday.

"We probably all had a moment in that play where we weren't playing our role exactly right.

"I think there's so many moments in a game, you can't pinpoint just Harry for missing that goal.

"My dialogue to him was he gave us an opportunity to win the game, had he not made that tackle maybe they go up and score, anyway.

"I think on reflection and throughout our review we all had moments in that last quarter that we'd want to have back, every player can probably put their hand up and say that."

Despite the agonising defeat to a bitter rival, Essendon are finishing the season strongly following a disastrous start that prompted club president Paul Brasher to call an internal review of the Bombers' football department.

Essendon (6-12, 14th) had already upset top-six teams the Sydney Swans and the Brisbane Lions in the past month, before falling just short against the red-hot Magpies, who have won nine-straight games.

McGrath has full faith in coach Ben Rutten's ability to have the group firing for the start of the 2023 season.

"(Rutten) was shattered about the result," McGrath said.

"I think his dialogue and his feeling was we did a lot right, we just didn't nail the 120th minute.

"We're all feeling hurt and disappointed.

"To come back from where we were and let it slip right at the end is shattering for players, fans and coaches.

"Through challenging times you are forced to learn and forced to adapt and turn into a different version of ourselves."

Emerging defender Mason Redman spent Sunday night in hospital after being subbed out against Collingwood with internal bruising.

Redman is recovering from the incident but is in major doubt to face North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

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