Essendon VFL vice-captain Heath Hocking says there is a lot to learn and take away from Saturday’s 41-point loss to Casey at Windy Hill.

The Bombers were trailing by just 16 points at half-time, before Casey booted five unanswered goals in the third term to blow the game apart.

“We knew we were going to come up against a good team – our first four games have been a couple of easy games, but we knew we were going to get tested and it’s probably the first time we’ve felt that pressure,” Hocking said post-match.

“We were undermanned with a few going down early as well, so we’re proud of (the way we) fought out the game, but we’re going to get some good learnings out of it.”

Losing some forward structure when talls Edyn Sibbald (knee) and Nino Lazzaro (concussion) were sidelined early also challenged the Bombers, but Hocking is proud of the boys’ efforts and the way they finished the match.

“I think our guys that had to make up the slack did well, (but Casey) just structured up better than us.

“(The last term) was about finishing the way we wanted to play – not going into our shells and making sure we attacked the game and finish on our terms.

“We kicked three or so late goals, so it was a positive way to finish, but as I said we probably have a lot to learn from the game.”

Nino Lazzaro (right) was unable to play out the game on Saturday. (Image: Ben Johnstone) 

Hocking made sure he involved himself in the match, contributing one of Essendon’s eight goals and laying five tackles.

He also notched up 21 disposals, relishing the opportunity to spend more time throughout the middle of the ground.

“I played a bit more in the midfield, which was enjoyable, but it was a tough day – (Casey) is a contested ball team and so we just tried to match them there.”

Looking ahead to next weekend, Hocking believes it will be another telling match against Sandringham away.

“It will be another tough battle there – (Sandringham) is playing quite well so we’ve just got to make sure we (take from today) what we need to improve on, and then take that into Sandringham.”

Despite stepping down as skipper and moving into the vice-captaincy alongside Danny Younan this season, Hocking hasn’t found a great difference in his new role.

“I still play the same way and like to try and lead by example on the field,” he said.

“I’m playing a lot more forward, so with a very young forward line I’m trying to help them through scenarios and structures – just things like that.”

Essendon VFL will look to get back on the winner’s list in round seven against Sandringham.

The first bounce will be at 2:10pm on Sunday, May 19 at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

Brooke Varney is in the final year of her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at RMIT University. As part of their strategic partnership, Essendon Football Club and RMIT University are committed to providing opportunities for students, staff, players and the wider community.