Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd has torched Bombers coach John Worsfold in a cold, clinical take down following the Bombers’ lifeless loss to Port Adelaide.
The pair have traded barbs over the last few days after Lloyd took a swipe at Worsfold’s failure to create an identifiable brand of football for the fast-fading club.
While Worsfold dismissed Lloyd’s criticism in a pre-match press conference this week, the Bombers legend put Worsfold back under the pump with a brutal rant on The Sunday Footy Show.
Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Watch every match of every round Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Lloyd even thanked Worsfold for his service to the club before he went on to suggest the Bombers would have been better off if Worsfold had been sacked at the end of 2019.
Lloyd’s criticism was fuelled by Worsfold’s bizarre post-match press conference when he struggled to offer an explanation for the club’s failure to play finals footy again this season — after their 50-point loss to Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
The Bombers were also criticised by Power great Kane Cornes for having Worsfold front the press after the loss when the mentor appears to be a lame duck as the club limps to the finish line of a disastrous season while assistant coach Ben Rutten prepares to take over.
“I understand that Essendon people think that Essendon should be better, but they’ve also got to understand that the competition challenges clubs now to work to the same rules – the draft and the salary cap,” Worsfold said on Saturday night.
“No one team has any more right to be successful quicker than any other team, just because they’re a big-name club.”
However it was Worsfold’s pre-match swipe at Lloyd that really triggered the former full-forward.
“I think they’re Matthew’s personal opinions. I’m not sure if he’s garnered any support with those, but that’s his job as a commentator, not a journalist,” Worsfold said.
“I don’t expect him to make journalistic comments, so he’s just an opinion-maker and he’s welcome to do that if that’s the way he feels.
“He’s not making them as an Essendon champion, he’s making them as someone who needs to earn his pay. If that’s how he needs to do it, then that’s fine.”
In response, Lloyd claimed he has received messages of support from former Bombers players for his criticism of Worsfold’s leadership.
“I was trying to make comments that were fair and what I saw I go with and I don’t think he has garnered much support with his comments,” Lloyd said.
“I have never had so many Essendon people get in touch with me to say thank you, thank you for showing some passion, because there is no passion, there is no emotion, there is no conviction.
“The mixed messages. They are at their wits end and for him to come out yesterday and talk about, you know, where we are at, we are a young team, we are this, we are that, it was just another piece of John just confusing everyone with his mixed messages.”
Lloyd saved his most scathing criticism for last when he took the Bombers to task for missing the mark with their own key performance indicators and club values.
Bombers general manager of football Dan Richardson claimed during the week the Bombers have a clear identity under Worsfold this season, but Lloyd exposed the club with cold statistics.
When asked by Lloyd on 3AW Radio this week what Essendon fans can look for as its football brand, Richardson said: “I’d describe (our game plan) probably as what you saw in that Collingwood game. A brand of footy where we’re well-connected between defence and attack, playing more of the ball in our forward half, setting up well behind it and applying good pressure around the ball.”
Lloyd responded on Sunday: “Essendon are ranked 14th for time in half and 15th for pressure. There is nothing that’s identifiable for what they are saying they want to play.
“There is no emotion out of Rutten or Worsfold and I think people have liked seeing me show some passion about where I think the club wants to get to which unfortunately no-one internally is.
In a public message to Worsfold, Lloyd said: “Thank you for taking over from the club when the club was in a mess after the supplements saga, but I think they should have ended John’s tenure 12 months ago.”