Another weekend, another opportunity wasted. I can’t help but feel we have missed a good opportunity this season. The romantic in me really wants to see a finals appearance by the bombers to farewell our inspirational spiritual leader in the grandest of styles. Send him out with a premiership to his name – if anyone deserves it, Jobe does. The realist in me however, knows that a finals appearance is futile. Our performance on the weekend proves this point. We played good footy at times. But we were missing key personal and were again hindered by some questionable umpiring. It now appears we are destined to finish in Richmond’s traditional finishing position; Ninth. If this is the case, what have we achieved this season? I would argue not a great deal.
If you’d asked me at the start of the year if I would’ve taken 10 wins, I would probably have told you I’d be disappointed to NOT make finals. We had 12 of our best players return from suspension to add to all the promising players we had the opportunity to blood last season. Admittedly the team took a while to really gel, but at times played some scintillating footy. The further emergence this year of Joe Daniher, Zach Merrett and Orazio Fantasia after all shouldered huge responsibilities last year coupled with the first up season of Andrew McGrath highlights my point. We could’ve taken the opportunity to play kids like James Begley, Aaron Francis and Kobe Mutch. Instead we have given these golden opportunities to players that are not a part of our next premiership.
Perhaps the club feels a sense of duty is owed to players such as Ben Howlett. But if you can honestly say that Howlett is going to be a part of our next flag tilt, you’re kidding yourself. Throw the kids in and see how they go. Can they cope with the tempo of the big league? Can they handle the bigger bodies? Do they have the maturity to adapt to senior footy? We need to find our next 200-300 game player. That is a fact. Jobe is done, Goddard appears to have limited time left in the game, and the ever-reliable James Kelly could well be retiring come seasons end as well. That’s over 800 games of experience we are due to lose imminently.
Josh Green is one who I can’t see being a premiership player in red and black. He doesn’t find enough footy, kick enough goals or create enough opportunities for his teammates for a player of his position. James Begley would’ve been worth selecting and sticking with over Green.
Travis Colyer is a fantastic runner and a game changer when he plays his best footy. Unfortunately for Trav, he is horribly out of form. So, I ask, why play him? Send him to the twos to find some form. In doing so, give Kobe Mutch or Kyle Langford a run in the seniors. What’s the worst thing that can happen? We lose the game? So, what. It’s about the bigger picture. It’s about giving the kids a chance to play in a side with players like Watson, Goddard and Kelly. In doing so, they learn how to read the game and where to position themselves. They learn how to play the Essendon brand, and they get the opportunity to cement their places in the line-up in our pursuit of that ever elusive 17th flag.