Essendon coach John Worsfold says a lack of chemistry and continuity in the forward line has played a major role in the side’s start to the season.
Worsfold’s hand has been forced several times throughout the year at the selection table due to an unlucky run of injuries, particularly in the side’s forward ranks, but he has faith that a consistent line-up will yield positive results.
“The absolute best teams, when they’re at their best, generally have guys that have played a lot of footy together over a long period of time.
“This year, in terms of eight or nine rounds, we haven’t been able to get that and there are some new faces that we’re trying to work through there.
“We’ll continue on with that. We’ve got a clear idea of what we want to build to, but it’s a bit of ‘fix it as we go’ at the moment.”
While dangerous forward Orazio Fantasia will not take the field against Fremantle on Saturday after suffering a quad strain, the Bombers could be boosted with forwards Joe Daniher, Mark Baguley and Jayden Laverde all available for selection.
Daniher is expected to take on the Dockers and Worsfold said his return is the first step towards regaining that chemistry.
“It’s always subject to today getting through training and things like that, but we’re confident that he’s good now.
“Joe’s an important part of what we’re trying to build in our forward line.
“We haven’t really been able to get our core group together regularly this year, but getting Joe back is one part of that.”
John Worsfold says Joe Daniher "should play" against Fremantle on Saturday. (Image: AFL Photos)
The Bombers find themselves 13th on the ladder with eight rounds played, level on premiership points and just one position above where they sat at this stage last year.
But Worsfold said output through the middle and in the contest are clear areas of improvement this season.
“I think we’re improving our midfield. (With) the addition of Dylan Shiel, for what we want, we’re working pretty well with our numbers through the midfield.
“In terms of the inside 50 count, I think we’ve improved, but we’re not getting the results from those inside 50s.
“They’re probably the two areas (we have improved in) compared to last year.
“We think that’s a real key for us, because as we build that chemistry and get our best forward line out there, we think that’s when we’re going to start seeing our best footy.”
Essendon will enter Saturday’s match off the back of three losses, having booted 27 goals in that period, but Worsfold isn’t particularly concerned with his side’s struggles impacting the scoreboard.
“(It is not concerning) when you consider (that in) a couple of those losses we were low-scoring, but they were tight, tough games. If that was eight goals to 15 against the opposition then there’d be a bigger concern that we were really poor.
“We kicked 10 goals against the Pies, but it was 10 goals each, and it was 10 goals to 11 on the weekend.
“Overall, what’s concerning is that we haven’t won those games; we’ve had a couple of close games that we’ve lost … and no close wins.
“We need to get to that level where we start to win those games.”
Fremantle currently sits eighth on the ladder and will also be looking to bounce back this weekend following consecutive losses to Adelaide and Richmond.
The first bounce is set for 7:25pm at Marvel Stadium.