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Heppell opens up on round one loss

Dyson Heppell says it has taken time to digest the Bombers' disappointing loss to Greater Western Sydney.
It's not the way we want to play our footy and we don't stand for that."
Dyson Heppell

Essendon captain Dyson Heppell says the club can't hide away from its loss to Greater Western Sydney.

The Bombers' 2019 campaign begun in disappointing fashion on Sunday, losing to the Giants by 72 points, which leaves them on the bottom of the ladder ahead of round two.

Essendon was outplayed from the beginning of the contest and kicked just three goals to three-quarter time and managed only five majors for the game.

Heppell said he was "extremely disappointed" with the showing as the Bombers look to return to the finals this year.

"We certainly came into that game feeling we were prepared and ready. That's far from what we're all about. It didn't show up the way we would've liked and we've got to look at that closely," the captain said on Monday.

"We can't just sweep that under the rug. It's going to take a little bit to move on from that. You've got to have a close look at where we did fall apart.

"But you don't learn unless you go through adversity and we've copped that round one early in the season, and we've really got to learn from this. I know we'll bounce back."

Essendon was without key posts Cale Hooker and Joe Daniher, but faced a Giants line-up that was missing midfield cogs Josh Kelly and Callan Ward, plus defender Nick Haynes.

The Bombers, with new recruit Dylan Shiel facing his former side, were tipped to be a rising side this season and Heppell said Sunday’s performance didn’t reflect the playing group.

"It takes a bit to digest what's just happened," Heppell said.

"Having a bit of a look at the game on the plane on the way home and there's a few efforts there that you think that's just not us. It's not the way we want to play our footy and we don't stand for that. 

"We'll have a look at that, address it, and be really clear, open and honest about the way we performed and I think that'll allow us to address it and then shift onto next week."

Forward Jake Stringer arrived at the Bombers' Tullamarine base having had scans on his foot following Sunday's game, but said he had been given the all clear despite some bone bruising.

The Bombers have made alterations to their gameplan to beef up their defensive structures this season, and Heppell said he was optimistic they will find much-needed cohesion in coming weeks. 

"It's not a massive shift from the way we played last year. I'm certainly surprised we haven't clicked how we would've liked. Eventually it's going to click for us, and it will, and I know we're not going to perform like that again. I'm confident in the group to really bounce back," he said.

Essendon faces St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

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