Mark Robinson believes there can be no excuses for Jack Watts’ recent poor form, which has seen the forward dropped from the Melbourne side this weekend.
The 26-year-old’s return from a four-week hamstring injury has been disappointing after solid 2017 to that point, with a lack of intensity and confidence seemingly plaguing the much-maligned Dee.
Despite the Herald Sun chief football writer saying that he liked Watts and that he “absolutely deserved” his three-year contract extension last year, his most recent injury can be no excuse for his past month.
“We get to Round 21 and we have a massive game at the MCG tomorrow, Jack Watts is fit and they say they are going with Cam Pedersen and Mitch Hannan. I think it is a huge slap,” Robinson said on SEN’s Crunch Time.
“We make too many excuses for people. There’s people in life struggling every bloody day of their life. They still get up and perform whatever they have to do.”
David Schwarz disagreed, with the Melbourne champ defending the impact of Watts’ hamstring injury and downplaying suggestion his training standards are lacking.
“It’s a long bow to draw. Up until he tore his hamstring five or six weeks ago, he had a very good season,” he said.
“We know he is a confidence player but he hasn’t regained his confidence after coming back from his hamstring.
“If you speak to the people about the training standards, it was nowhere near as bad as what it is made out to be.
“Jack can be a bit of a scapegoat. Maybe the standards needed to go up, but he might have worn the brunt for a couple of players who weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing.
“I’m going to cut him some slack in relation to the hamstring because the hamstring from what I know knocked him around a bit more than what they thought. It’s a confidence thing.
“He’s had to deal with more than just about any other player in the competition. Think about the coaches that have come through and the way he has been poked and prodded from day one being the number one draft pick.”
Former Essendon forward Scott Lucas agreed with Robinson, believing watts had to show more effort to overturn his recent run of form.
“For a player of his talent, you can still be down on form but still contributing to the team, competing,” he said.
“The issue is with the player being able to find a way to deliver what his team needs when players are out.
“I know he’s had a hammy, but there’s 15 players a week that come back from a hammy and generally hit the ground running.”