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Eagles great raises questions over Essendon's internal culture


Glen Jakovich has taken aim at Essendon, believing their off-field culture cost the club two star players in the 2020 trade period.

Joe Daniher (Brisbane), Orazio Fantasia (Port Adelaide) and Adam Saad (Carlton) all chose to depart following the club’s six-win campaign.

Jakovich has revealed that two of those three would have stuck with the Bombers had his former West Coast teammate John Worsfold remained in his role as head coach.

“I just feel the off-field issues continue to linger on, they’re not on the same page from board to admin to players,” Jakovich told Sportsday WA.

“I do know that three of those players that left, two of them would have stayed if John Worsfold was still coach.

“I was told that individually, not by John, but by someone in Melbourne.

“I had a bit to do with two of them in the national academy program.

“A Daniher does not leave Essendon, why did he leave? Maybe one day we’ll find out. You don’t lose three A-graders like that.”

Essendon enters 2021 with a new coach in Ben Rutten and a new president in Paul Brasher, with Kevin Sheedy also returning to the club as part of the board.

Jakovich likes their list on paper, but feels off-field issues have held them back and may continue to do so.

“Something is amiss and it’s internally. From my intel over in Melbourne, there seems to be a lot of Essendon people that demand they play finals every year, but they don’t understand it’s a national competition,” he said.

“They’ve been building this list with no finals experiences or performances, so I think what makes them great off-field, their great histories and traditions, is their Achilles heel right now.

“Until they understand that and the AFL system, then I see them missing the eight again this year because there’s so many off-field issues regarding their administration, their board, their members are frustrated and that pressure hampered John Worsfold last year, you could see that.

“I went through their list last night and I’m just amazed this side has not played regular finals over the last couple of years.

“Their senior players are really strong, they have been struggling with a few injuries.

“Three A-graders left the club and I think what makes Essendon so great is their biggest downfall. They’ve got a big history and a lot of tradition and I think they rely too much on that.

“They haven’t won a final since 2003 … they need to get their off-field issues in order and I’m not talking about what happened in the past, I don’t even want to bring it up what happened in 2012, but I just feel the place is unsettled.

“It needs the players now to step up and perform in their own environment. There’s a lot of pressure on them.

“They’ve got a great list here that I think can play finals football, but they keep missing out.”

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