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McGrath bemoans round one loss

BTV: RD 1 | McGrath post-game We spoke to Andrew McGrath after our Round 1 loss to the Giants.
You never want to come out in round one and dish up that.”
Andrew McGrath

Essendon midfielder Andrew McGrath says the Bombers’ skill level in Sunday’s heavy loss to Greater Western Sydney “wasn’t up to AFL standard”.

The Giants dominated the contest throughout the match, proving too slick for a flat Essendon line-up to run away with a convincing 72-point victory.

The Bombers lacked the speed, direction and attacking flare that became a feature of the club’s play in the back half of 2019, and McGrath was disappointed with the frustrating performance.

“You never want to come out in round one and dish up that,” McGrath said after the match on Sunday.

“We were disappointing in a few areas; our skill level wasn’t up to AFL standard today and they really took advantage of that.

“They scored off our turnovers and we just couldn’t really start our ball movement and that really hurt us in the end.”

The 20-year-old said it is crucial to learn from the contest but still look forward with just six days until the side’s clash with St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

“(The message from the coaches) was obviously disappointment, they’re not going to brush over that. We were told that we weren’t good enough.

“GWS pretty much beat us all over the ground, they beat us in the contested footy convincingly.

“It’s just (about) getting back on the horse and preparing for St Kilda next week. We’ve got a six-day break, which is lucky for our sake.

“We can learn from it, we can bank it – there’s nothing we can do about it now – but we move forward on to St Kilda.” 

McGrath fought tirelessly throughout the contest, gathering 23 disposals, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s.

It was a promising effort spending the vast majority of the game in the midfield, adding important line-breaking dash to the side.

Having spent most of his two AFL seasons across defence, McGrath said Sunday’s game on the ball was a good indication of what lies ahead for him this year.

“I’ve been training there (in the midfield) all pre-season, so I think that’s where I’ll spend most of the time.

“I might pinch-hit back and forward, but I think I’ll spend a lot of the time through the wings and inside midfield when I can.”

Saturday’s match against St Kilda looms as a vitally important game as the Bombers look to bounce back quickly from the ordinary performance, while the Saints will be looking to make it two wins on the trot after a narrow one-point defeat of Gold Coast in round one.

The first bounce is set for 4:35pm.