There are “serious questions” being asked of Essendon in the wake of their heavy defeat to Port Adelaide on Sunday.
The Bombers were smashed by 84 points at Marvel Stadium which was their third loss in their last four games.
Coach Ben Rutten admitted post-match that it was “an embarrassing effort and output” from the players and “not something that we want to stand for and not something our members and supporters should have to watch at any stage”.
However, this is not the first time this has happened in 2022 and as a result, Garry Lyon believes there is plenty of unrest at the club with a lot of concern surrounding how they have performed across their seven-win campaign.
“There’s a number of aspects of this which is concerning if you’re an Essendon fan,” he said on SEN Breakfast.
“That is 20,000 people (at Marvel) first of all, and the apathy of the group by the end of it. Port Adelaide were great and clinical in the way they dismantled this side.
“I don’t know what may or may not happen on the back of that performance, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are serious question being asked around Essendon on the back of the year, on the back of the number of times the coaches have had to come out after and say, ‘It’s embarrassing, we won’t stand for it or we won’t tolerate it’.
“Well, it is being tolerated because it keeps happening and a big club like that with 20,000 people and probably 10,000 left by the end of it, from what I could gather, were booing at various stages.
“That is not a club that is in good shape.”
Nathan Buckley also felt it was a largely apathetic showing from the Dons against an opponent that has also struggled in patches this year.
“The club that knocked them over lost their first five and had a bad start similarly to Essendon,” he said.
“They lost their last four games before this game, so Port have been competitive but they haven’t been world beaters.
“Essendon have been in a very similar situation. They’re not about to play finals but they’ve been trying to show some spirit. They had a block of about six weeks of form, but that was a very disappointing performance.
“You described it as apathy and that’s probably where the club looks like it’s at at the moment, on and off the field.”
Lyon believes Essendon would be the story of the day if there wasn’t the distraction of a fascinating Round 23 and impending finals series.
He feels there is a “fog descending” on the club.
“If we weren’t about to embrace a great final round of footy and then turn our minds to finals, if this happened five weeks ago then this would be the biggest story today,” he added.
“The Essendon Football Club would be the biggest story. The coach and his future of him and what they’re going to tolerate and what the board will stand for.
“This is a big, power club and what is happening there will be deemed to be unacceptable.
“What happened yesterday post that game would be a fascinating study because I would imagine there are people at Essendon that just aren’t and won’t accept what’s going on.
“That performance has got a whiff about uncertainty and fog descending on a footy club and it’s a standby and watch what unfolds.
“You get a bit of a sense when things start to rumble along and it might be a watch this space.”
Buckley added: “You can be well-beaten and be beaten by five goals.
“We’re talking about a margin three times that. It doesn’t happen as often and if it does happen, it generally points to a white flag going up and to a lack of capacity to actually stay the course and compete for the full quarters.”
Lyon replied: “And it gets sheeted back to the coach, which is right or wrong.
“When he comes out and says we can’t accept or tolerate it and we won’t, it sounds really hollow when you say that with one game to go – it kind of has been accepted and tolerated and that is why you see this non-existent defensive want, pressure, desire, want to work for one another.
“That’s how it all unfolds and an 84-point margin materializes.”
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SEN’s Sam Edmund is forecasting change for the Dons amid plenty of agitation and anger behind the scenes around The Hangar.
“There’s a lot of anger around the Bombers at the moment, so if the patience is wearing thin on where they stood, for many connected to the club that patience is evaporating,” Edmund said.
“Plenty of rumblings last night. We know there will be change brought on by the football department review, their second in three years.
“How far those changes extend is the question some connected to the club were asking and pondering last night.
“They are a powerful club so when things are going well, they’re going very well, and when things are going like they are at the moment, there’s always going to be rumblings. They’re a big coterie club as well with outspoken partners, supporters and members.
“At the moment there’s a lot of anger around the club. They’re a watch for today and this week.”
Essendon completes its lackluster 2022 season against Richmond at the MCG on Saturday night.