Essendon Bombers great Matthew Lloyd has described news that star players Joe Daniher and Adam Saad have requested to play elsewhere in 2021 as ‘one of the saddest days I’ve ever been involved with’.
Star forward Daniher, the son of club legend Anthony Daniher, declared he wanted to play in Brisbane next season, while Saad, who joined the club prior to the 2018 season after requesting a trade from the Gold Coast Suns, is open to a move to Carlton.
'YOUR HEART ACHES': AFL world devastated by 'shattering' moment
Both players’ requests, which came within a day of one another, caps a horror 2020 season for the Bombers in which they crashed out of finals contention despite a promising start to the season.
Club champion Lloyd, who played in the Bombers’ last premiership in 2000, said the pair’s request to leave the club was a symptom of series problems behind the scenes.
“Rock bottom is the supplements scandal, but in terms of pure football (it is),” Lloyd said on Footy Classified.
“Don’t give me ‘it’s just about getting around Ben Rutten’s game plan’.
“This is purely a culture issue of players not being happy, content, not being sure of the direction of the club, not sure if they’re going to get any success there.
“For such a proud, proud club, this is one of the saddest days I’ve ever been involved with.”
Lloyd also suggested there could be more disgruntled players looking to part ways with the club in future after Essendon football boss Dan Richardson suggested Saad was not fully committed to the club in a radio interview on SEN earlier in the week.
The goalkicking great said the club was in denial about its standing within the footy world.
"I think the club has its head in the sand if they want to shove this back on the players."@matthewlloyd18 says Essendon blaming the players for wanting to leave could result in other stars leaving in years to come.#9FootyClassified | Watch @channel9 pic.twitter.com/mthT9agWjJ— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) October 7, 2020
“I think the club has their heads in the sand if they want to shove this back on the players,” he said.
“If they want to go down this track and believe the players don’t want to play the role Ben asked them to, there’ll be a player by the name of Zach Merrett who in 12 months time will say I’m not that content either.”
“I think Saad has been extremely committed to that football club but hasn’t been content.”
Bombers great wants review at AFL club
Essendon premiership hero Terry Daniher has urged the Bombers' hierarchy to "shake up" the club as the former AFL powerhouse braces for a major player exodus.
Bombers greats are shocked and dismayed about the position the equal most successful VFL/AFL club in terms of premierships finds itself in.
A day after dashing defender Adam Saad declared he was eyeing a trade to fierce rivals Carlton, Terry's nephew Joe Daniher on Wednesday also said he wanted out of Tullamarine.
The key forward unsuccessfully tried to move to Sydney last off-season, but is set on playing for premiership fancies the Brisbane Lions in 2021.
Terry Daniher, who played 294 games for the Bombers, skippered flags in 1984 and 1985 and is a member of Essendon's Team of the Century, believes there were "warning bells" throughout this season.
"There's something not quite right there at the club at the moment," he told SEN on Thursday.
"Starting with (new president) Paul Brasher at the top, he needs to do an investigation into what's actually going on and get it right pretty quick.
"You'd be pretty despondent if you were a member and a supporter of what's been a great club.
"They need to do a good review, shake the place up and look like they're enjoying their football again.
"Paul's started on the right foot and they need to be open and transparent and go right through the club from top to the bottom."
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