Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell has labelled the Bombers' 66-point loss to Geelong as "unacceptable".
With games against Port Adelaide and Melbourne remaining, Campbell said the club was demanding a response from the playing group.
“That first half is not what we want to stand for. It’s as simple as that. We need to be better. That (performance) isn’t what makes our members proud and that’s what we’re determined to do,” Campbell told 3AW Sportsday on Monday.
“We don’t want to make excuses, it’s as simple as that. Every club has had to deal with unique situations this year. We can’t let that get in the way of driving improved performances, and I know John (Worsfold) and Ben (Rutten) feel the same way.
“The week before we got to a position where we were probably putting a few good quarters together and probably had our opportunities during that game against West Coast. So that’s why, when we see a first half like we did yesterday against Geelong, we can’t be happy with that. We’re not happy with that. If we’re going to lift that baseline, we have to demand more.”
Campbell said the unique nature of the 2020 season with the impact of COVID-19 and the Bombers’ heavy injury list would not be listed as reasons for their 6-8 record heading into round 17.
“Continuity for us this year has been a challenge which hasn’t helped and we have a game style that is evolving, but that’s not an excuse - it’s just a reality of where we sit right now,” he said.
“We need and want to be able to train and play it (new game style) on a consistent basis but our adoption of it has been inconsistent and we need to work on that and get better at it.”
With a finals campaign all but ruled out for the Bombers, Ben Rutten is set to imminently take the senior coaching reins from the outgoing John Worsfold.
Campbell said the club remained firm in the belief that the experienced former Crow and All-Australian defender was the right man for the job.
“No doubt (Ben is the right man). We had a unique look at Ben. We were able to look under the bonnet more so than other clubs would’ve in selecting a senior coach, and we’re very happy with his connection, the way he sees the game, and his ability to work so closely with John this year has positioned him to be the best coach he can be,” he said.
“We are building. We are committed to that. When John (Worsfold) took over in 2016, it was obviously a unique period and perhaps prematurely we made finals in 2017, but then we make finals last year and I feel like we’re starting to build.
“As CEO, I’ve had the opportunity to live inside the football department in this hub for the last eight or so weeks, and it’s been so interesting to observe it on a more consistent basis. I really believe in what we’re doing and so do John, Ben, Dan (Richardson) and the coaching panel and players. Ben is on his way to being an excellent coach, and John has been incredible with him this year having gradually given up more and more control throughout the season.
“I watch the way they teach the players and I know the players have fully bought in to what they’re doing. We have big ambitions to what we’re building over the next few years. I’m confident in that, but we know it’s taking some time.
“We know it’s not a traditional model but it’s a model that will serve us well into the future.”