Bombers Shot Down In AFL Anzac Day Clash
The writing is on the wall for any football team when they shy from their No.1 job - trying to score.
That was Essendon's lot after half time in their 49-point AFL Anzac Day loss to Collingwood.
The Magpies had become so damaging in their rebound out of defence that the Bombers repeatedly kicked sideways and backwards across half back, rather than risk a turnover.
Collingwood would have won by a lot more, but for their scoring inaccuracy and two late consolation goals to Essendon.
"Going forward was hurting us - I hate to say that, but we didn't really want to kick it inside our forward line, because that was setting up Collingwood's scoring opportunities," said Essendon coach John Worsfold.
"We just let the Pies walk through us, going down the other end."
Essendon's poor Anzac Day performance cancelled any gains from their upset round-four win over Port Adelaide.
A lot of the post-match focus was on Brendon Goddard's heated exchanges with teammates, but that is far from their biggest issue.
Essendon's inconsistency so far this season has been alarming.
"We're an average or below-average team right now," Worsfold said.
"How are we going to become a great team? Because we know we're miles off being a great team."
Essendon could regain small forward Orazio Fantasia (groin) for Sunday's Etihad Stadium game against Melbourne.
But they will be without Josh Begley (knee) and Josh Green (hamstring soreness), who were out of action by half time on Anzac Day.
Sunday is a crucial game, given Melbourne are also coming off big losses to Hawthorn and Richmond.
Worsfold said it is time for the Bombers to dig in and do the hard yards.
"We've been hoping we're going to be a good team, hoping things are going to fall into place," he said.
"Sometimes you have to grind away for an extended period of time."