“They just don’t have the cattle”: Jenkins offers “different view” on Essendon’s struggles in 2022
Former AFL forward Josh Jenkins believes a lack of effort isn’t Essendon’s only problem coming into their Anzac Day game against Collingwood.
The Bombers have been slammed over the past five days after a dismal second half against Fremantle where they rolled over to lose by seven goals, despite being in the game at the main break.
Ben Rutten’s men were then picked apart on the various footy shows across the week, numerous pieces of vision exposing lacklustre efforts from key Bombers.
Deputy vice-captain Andy McGrath joined Sportsday on Thursday night to address the Bombers' lack of effort, however Jenkins believes there’s a more fundamental problem with Essendon’s list.
“I’ve got a different view on it, they just don’t have the cattle as far as I’m concerned,” Jenkins began on SEN’s The Run Home.
“We’re expecting something that’s perhaps not realistic from the Bombers, you’ve just got to go through their personnel, they just do not have (the right players).
“We said this on this show before the season started, how are they going to kick goals, how are they going to kick a score every week.
“I’m pretty strong on the fact they just don’t have enough talent. You need to kick 14 goals to win most weeks, go through their 22, who do we expect to kick enough goals to kick 14?
“Nic Martin bobs up in Round 1 and kicks five goals and they still lose by ten goals.”
Jenkins also shared a concern for the club’s defence.
“They (defenders) are all undersized. Every forward that would go and play against Essendon would walk in licking their chops thinking, ‘I’m playing on someone who’s going to give away 2-3 inches and 10 kilos (to me), well give me one and ones’,” he added.
After Essendon’s unlikely run into the finals in 2021, 2022 has been a reality check.
The club sits 1-4 after losing to four sides currently in the top eight, only a narrow victory over Adelaide saving the club from a winless record to start the season.
Dyson Heppell's side appears to not be gelling as well as they did in their surprise climb up the ladder last year, Jenkins providing insight into two reasons that have had a detrimental “snowball” impact on the players.
“It (lack of effort) looks absolutely disgraceful, but it’s like a real snowball,” he stated.
“I’ve played in those games where you’re getting absolutely belted and (first of all) you come into the game knowing there’s a lot riding on it and it means a lot and then when it’s not going the way you thought it would, desperately needed it to go, you can really easily get caught in the moment of thinking, ‘oh my god, this is not going well’.
“And then (the other club is) just gone, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Those are the games where you’re cloudy and you’re foggy and you’re not thinking that clearly.
“It looks terrible and it comes out in those sorts of actions. So that’s the space they’re in.
“(Also) they’re smart guys (thinking), ‘This is not going well, I need to just ensure that I’m doing enough to keep my nose clean’, and then again when you come up against teams who are performing better as a collective, you get shown up even more.
“So I would suggest - I know Ben Rutten pretty well, I played with him – I would suggest a lot of (what they have talked about this week) is based on how they can help each other, not based on how they can help themselves because clearly their midfielders - and a lot of it has been thrown at their midfielders - they’ve been getting plenty of the footy but I’m not sure how much they’ve been helping each other.”
The Bombers have the chance to rebound on one of the year’s biggest stages when taking on Collingwood on Anzac Day in front of an expected crowd of around 80,000 fans.
The Pies are coming off three consecutive losses and are also desperate for a win to keep their early-season momentum going.