Defender Jake Kelly has revealed Essendon is narrowing in on rectifying its team defence for 2023.

The Bombers endured a challenging 2022, and found their defence exposed at various points throughout the year.

By round 15 last season, the Bombers had conceded an average of 94.8 points a game, ranking 15th in the AFL.


New senior coach Brad Scott has made his intentions clear, emphasising on improving defensive pressure, and reducing turnover movements across the field.

Kelly says the Dons have made a concerted effort to address their defensive flaws this pre-season.

“The main thing we wanted to implement over the pre-season is our ability to defend the ball and stop the ball transitioning from the forward 50 to the defensive 50,” Kelly told RSN.

“It’s really just tidying up the finer details.

“It doesn’t take a long at all if you’re just clear on the finer points. Which are generally things players can fix very quickly, not skills that need to be trained extensively.”

After being secured during the 2021 free agency period, Kelly has quickly become a core member of the side playing 21 games last season.

The 28-year-old has embraced the new processes under senior coach Brad Scott, speaking highly of the two-time premiership player.

“Brad’s been fantastic, he’s a very smart operator, he’s got a very clear plan and vision,” Kelly said.

“He’s super clear on what he wants and what he wants to implement at the club. I can’t speak of him more highly; he’s definitely got us on the right track.”

Essendon plays its first practice match against the Gold Coast Suns on Thursday, February 23 at Metricon Outer Oval.