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2022 Season Review - Essendon

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

Welcome to the fourth season review for the 2022 AFL Mens Season, this one for the Essendon Bombers. This season could not have gone worse for the Bombers, with expectations to make the finals, myself expecting contention at the top 4, to finishing 4th last resulting in the sacking of their coach.


Ladder Position: 15th

Wins: 7

Percentage: 83.2%

Season Grade: E

The Highlights

Let us start with the obvious, how good was Peter Wright this season. He finished 5th in the Coleman in a team and was the biggest reason as to why Essendon ranked 6th for shots per inside 50. Having a target such as him in a forward line is amazing and I cannot believe how wrong I was saying Collingwood did not need him. Essendon's supplementary players are all proving to be as good as you could've asked for. Snelling was the original, followed by Durham but this season, they picked up Nic Martin, who should be in the rising star discussion more than he is. It is not often that a first year player averages 1 Goal and 20 touches a game at 67% efficiency by boot. D'Ambrosio as well looked very promising as a mid-season recruit before his injury. Mason Redman built on a solid season last year to become another all-round defender alongside Ridley who provides better drive with his ball use, defends very well and intercepts at a reasonable level. Zerk-Thatcher went from being one of the worst players in the comp to average and I know that may not sound like a compliment but that level of improvement was awesome. Dylan Shiel also had his best season in some time. Ben Hobbs looks a good draft selection. Lastly, Sam Draper is starting to come into his own.

The Lowlights

Essendon's pressure as a whole was abysmal this season going from 57.7 tackles a game in a side that won more of the ball to a 50.1 tackle a side season which shows the lack of effort from the playing group and unfortunately, Ben Rutten has suffered due to this lack of effort. Darcy Parish was also far inferior to his season last year. While he averaged more disposals, he averaged 1.5 less clearances, 0.6 less tackles, 1.2 less inside 50s, gained 80 less metres at a 1% point worse kicking efficiency, a 1.4% point worse contested possession rate, half the goals, slightly less goal assists and 0.7 less score involvements. Believe me, still a handy season but a far cry from the top 10 mid he was last season. Jake Stringer, while with the occasional flash of brilliance, was tremendously inconsistent this year as he was one of the best players in the comp this season compared to only good this season. None of Cox, Perkins and Reid came on but they had some injury issues and they are still young. McGrath does not appear to be taking that next step and looks nothing more than a solid player but yeah again, it was not so much one player, but the collective pressure of the side and a few regressing that really stand out. Losing Tipungwuti is another but that is for reasons outside of their control?

The Offseason

First step is, find a quality assistant coach and give them the job. Adam Yze and Daniel Gianciracusa seem to be the most suitable selections from the untried coaches and then, you might look at a Ken Hinkley or a Nathan Buckley (but not sure he would want to leave the media) for the tried coaches but, do the process properly. Realistically, their list is fine for the most part. The have their ruck sorted for the future, a mix of both young and mature-aged midfielders. A young key forward to partner a mature-aged one. Their defence is the most shaky section on their field though, as outside of Ridley, Redman and Laverde, they could upgrade a lot of their players and need a key tall especially. While they have Reid in the wings and potentially Cox if he settles as a key defender but from the draft, Jedd Busslinger is probably the best option. However, as Essendon have drafted young mids across every position recently, they can afford to trade away their first round pick for a Taranto (would be getting compensation back as he is of 12-20 pick value) or a Dunkley (probably more 6-10) as a player like that would make them more competitive.

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