Essendon crisis at breaking point amid lacklustre AFL campaign

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Essendon Bombers captain Dyson Heppell appears dejected as he walks from the field with teammates.
Essendon's season has been as difficult off the field as it has been on it, with senior staff reportedly at odds. (Photo by Jason McCawley/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Essendon's highly anticpiated internal review will likely lead to a host of changes in their football department amid reports of tension between club heavyweights.

The Bombers are in the midst of another mediocre season, and with the club having not won a final since 2004, fans have been becoming impatient with promising teams that have failed to deliver.

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Sitting 14th on the ladder with just seven wins, Essendon flagged a major internal review earlier this year amid a troubled start to their season.

The results of that review will be handed down soon, and come amid reports of tension between football boss Josh Mahoney, and longtime recruiting boss Adrian Dodoro.

Veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson said club CEO Xavier Campbell was also on the hot seat, despite inking a new contract with the club last year - a move that was met with raised eyebrows from members and fans.

Though Wilson said it was more than likely head coach Ben Rutten would be safe, she was of the mind there would be sweeping changes at Windy Hill during the off-season.

"I'm told there are still real problems there," Wilson said of Essendon's off-field woes.

"We know that (CEO) Xavier Campbell is still under the pump. I gather there has been, not a fallout, but genuine tension between Adrian Dodoro, long-time recruiter, and the head of footy in Josh Mahoney, which is disappointing.

"I'm not sure where Blake Caracella is going to be next year. He has a rock-solid contract but he will definitely be in a different role next year if he's there."

Essendon is also at risk of losing captain Dyson Heppell to the Gold Coast Suns, with the Bomber veteran reportedly mulling over a potential four-year deal which would see him play for two more seasons before transitioning into a coaching role.

With Heppell potentially on his way out and the high-profile acqusitions of the likes of Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith and Adam Saad all failing to pain out, Wilson said the Bombers desperately needed an encouraging campaign next year.

"Essendon needs to have a good year next year," she said.

"I know (Campbell) just signed a new contract ... I just think his performance as CEO, particularly where the footy has been concerned has been pretty woeful, the decisions haven't worked out for him."

Essendon Bombers counting cost of dismal AFL season

The Bombers' season was over almost as soon as it began, with former premiership star Matthew Lloyd putting a line through their chances by round five.

Lloyd had seen enough after the Bombers scraped to a 1-4 record in their first five games, as the side was criticised for simply being outworked in the early part of the season.

Essendon showed glimpses of getting things together when they managed back to back wins against top eight teams in Sydney and Brisbane, following that up with a heartbreaking loss to Collingwood after the siren.

Any hope the Bombers might carry their strong mid-season form though to the end of the year were dashed last weekend though, when they were run off the park by the similarly battling GWS Giants.

Essendon football manager Josh Mahoney is pictured.
Essendon football manager Josh Mahoney is reportedly at odds with recruiting head Adrian Dodoro as the Bombers pick through the pieces of a lacklustre season. (Photo by Jason McCawley/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

The comprehensive win came at a cost for the Giants though, after Toby Greene fractured his thumb in the warm-up before his side's 27-point win.

It ends another impressive campaign for Greene, who slotted 37 goals in 15 games despite his side's underwhelming form.

The club, who sit 16th on the ladder with a 6-14 record, also says Tim Taranto won't play against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday as he goes through concussion protocols.

Taranto suffered a delayed concussion from the Giants' previous clash against Sydney.

Forward James Peatling was concussed in the win over the Bombers and won't play this weekend either.

With AAP

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