Recommended videos

Highlights: Richmond v Carlton

11:17pm Mar 27, 2014

Malthouse rues costly mistakes

11:44pm Mar 27, 2014

Recommended articles

Sunday football as it happened

Sunday football as it happened

Recap Port's Showdown upset, plus big wins for the Hawks and Tigers

11:45am Apr 14, 2013

St Kilda v Richmond as it happened

St Kilda v Richmond as it happened

 Recap Friday night's MCG clash as the Tigers make their best start to a season in 16 years

04:00pm Apr 5, 2013

Carlton v Collingwood as it happened

Carlton v Collingwood as it happened

Recap Friday night's blockbuster as the Blues capitulate in front of 78,000 at the MCG

10:36pm Jul 5, 2013

Saturday football as it happened

Saturday football as it happened

Recap a day bookended by two major boilovers

01:00pm Mar 30, 2013

Fantasy review: round three

Fantasy review: round three

It was a tough round for AFL Fantasy coaches, Warnie writes

10:42pm Apr 6, 2014

Football world sends off Hafey in style

Football world sends off Hafey in style

Tom Hafey remembered as a great coach and a wonderful man

06:15pm May 19, 2014

Cometti's Anzac jibe 'hit a nerve', says Goddard

AAP  March 17, 2016 4:50 PM

Footy Feed Special: Inside captains' day Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards have all the latest
AFL 2016 Portraits - AFL Captains

Brendon Goddard says calls for Essendon to be dumped from Anzac Day 'hit a nerve'

To think that someone is saying we don't deserve to play in it because of the current situation is a little bit unfair

• Captains' call: Danger in the Brownlow zone, Hawks set for GF
• Recap: Captains' Day and 2016 season launch
• 'It was pretty average': Cotch keen to atone for finals failings

ESSENDON captain Brendon Goddard admits talk about whether the Bombers deserve to play in the annual Anzac Day blockbuster has hit a nerve.

Goddard has dismissed the heightened speculation this week about how the Bombers will perform, given their heavy pre-season losses to Geelong and West Coast.

But Goddard did not appreciate Dennis Cometti's comments earlier this month.

Contract talks likely to start soon: Goddard

The veteran TV and radio commentator said contingency plans should have been in place for Essendon not to play against Collingwood at the MCG.

It is the biggest game of the season, outside the finals.

The doping bans for 12 players this season mean Essendon have needed 10 top-ups and there are growing concerns about the team's prospects for 2016.

Goddard noted the Anzac Day match had become so big because of the work that the two clubs and people such as Kevin Sheedy had put into it.

"That was a little bit inappropriate ... again, that's his opinion," Goddard said of Cometti.

"It was an initiative by Essendon and Collingwood.

"To think that someone is saying we don't deserve to play in it because of the current situation is a little bit unfair.

"It did hit a bit of a nerve, to be honest - I did read that."

Goddard said the players are well aware of the heightened commentary this week around Essendon. 

"A lot of the guys are used to it, but it is about making (us) aware, particularly for the younger guys too," he said.

"Just try to focus on what we can control.

"It's only natural, considering what we've come off, too."

Goddard said the 105-point loss to West Coast would have been far more worrying had Essendon played well.

"But our performance was well below par, particularly our skills, and West Coast are really good at hurting teams on the turnover and scoring off turnovers," he said.

"There's a lot to improve on; there's no reason to be panicking or worrying too much."

Goddard said the players had put a lot of work into jelling as a team, given 10 teammates joined the club so late in the pre-season.

"We're doing a lot right and it's coming together a little bit quicker than we predicted," he said.

While the fallout from Essendon's supplements saga continues, Goddard said it was taking place outside the team's environment.

"It's more of a familiar football landscape for a lot of us, whereas the last three or four years have obviously been quite unique and difficult circumstances," Goddard said.

"Everyone within the AFL community - it's better for everyone, knowing that we're moving on.

"Although there's not a definitive conclusion, we're all moving on and putting it behind us.

"There is, I guess, a sense of relief that now we can just concentrate on footy."

Goddard said the Bombers knew exactly what they wanted from this season, with a focus on values and standards.

"I know they're all cliches but, for a young group, the best thing is to simplify things," he said.