Sydney and Essendon players scuffle during the match at the SCG in R2, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON coach Brad Scott has defended the Bombers' overtly physical approach following their fiery 30-point loss to undefeated Sydney at the SCG, which Swans forward has labelled a "facade".

The Saturday night clash was barely four minutes old when Peter Wright leapt into the air and landed a huge bump on Harry Cunningham, who was left concussed.

Wright was set upon by several irate Sydney players, before more spot fires erupted after Essendon ruckman Sam Draper cannoned into Jake Lloyd and conceded a 50m penalty.


Scott spoke on Thursday of wanting his charges to display a combative 'Essendon edge' but Papley, who starred with four goals and 24 disposals, accused the visitors of overstepping the mark.

"They're trying to get after us, it's all off the ball," Papley told the Seven Network at half-time.

"We're just worried about the ball. We'll keep being hard in the contest and get the job done."

Papley doubled down in a post-match interview with 3AW.

"They really gave it to us. Brad Scott came out and said they want to have that Essendon edge and Peter Wright took it a bit too far," he said.


"They were still getting into us. You can be tough and do all that stuff, but you've still got to be able to play four quarters.

"They were hitting us behind the play and things like that. They're trying to do that stuff and I don't know if it's them or not.

"Brad Scott came out and said it's the Essendon way, but … anyway I won't go into it.

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"You can pretend to be tough, but you've still got to win the ball and win the game.

"It's all a facade I think, but anyway."

Scott is adamant his team's premeditated belligerence was the best way to foil the ladder leaders.

"Sydney have dominated the last few weeks and they've got a lot of players who are very slick and good with the ball in hand," he said.


"Their ball movement is very solid at the moment.

"If we just sat back and watched them do that, it was going to be a long, difficult night.

"We needed to combat that with some physicality in the contest.

"We could either make it into an athletics contest or we could compete in the contest and get the ball going our way."


Swans coach John Longmire said he wasn't surprised by the Bombers' aggression.

"They clearly came out with an intent in the physical space," he said.

"They talked about it during the week and were very clear about the edge they wanted to play with.

"We knew they'd be coming with that."