Sam Draper celebrates a goal during the R7 match between Essendon and Collingwood at the MCG on April 25, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON ruckman Sam Draper was left in no doubt this week about the impact of his "disrespectful" comments regarding the Western Bulldogs, with coach Brad Scott disappointed that his lapse in judgement had eaten away at the club's hard-earned respect.

But Draper's assertions on a podcast that Bulldogs players would leave if Luke Beveridge remained coach were not the reason that the ruckman did not play in a thrilling six-point win against West Coast on Saturday night. 

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Speaking publicly for the first time since the comments came to light, Scott said Essendon had worked hard to earn back respect since the damaging supplements saga of 2012 and Draper's actions had not helped.  

"I was really disappointed in Sam, and he's very, very clear how disappointed I was," Scott said after a tense win against the Eagles that left the club knocking on the door of the top four.  

"He thought he was in an environment where he thought he was being funny and I said, 'Mate, it's the furthest thing from funny. It's disrespectful'. 

"Our club has had to fight extremely hard for a long period of time to earn respect back in this competition, and that's just one thing that eats away at that. So I was really disappointed in him.


"It's not about hanging him out to dry, but he knows that he did the wrong thing and [it was] absolutely not the reason why he didn't play.

"I was just really, really disappointed that we've taken so many steps forward in earning respect that we gave a bit back." 

Scott said the Bombers had got what they expected from an improved West Coast on Saturday night, with the team's growing maturity important in a close finish that saw the Eagles surge forward frequently late. 

"When you're in a relatively hostile environment and the run of play is going against you, you need your leaders to stand up and take control, and we work really hard on those things," the coach said. 


"I think (Zach) Merrett led from the front. I thought we kept our composure when the game was getting pretty hot there, both in the contest and even a little bit off the ball. So I was really pleased with our composure and our measured approach to stabilise the game.

"We played well enough to get out early, but not well enough to put West Coast away. That's partly on us, but a big part of it was their fight and they always had hope in the game."

West Coast coach Adam Simpson was proud of his team's spirited performance, fighting back into the contest and winning the second half despite injuries to star midfielder Elliot Yeo and small forward Noah Long. 

Yeo had suffered a minor groin injury, Simpson said, while Long will undergo scans for a knee setback after his legs were caught underneath a tackle. 

"It might not be great, so we're just going to see what scans do tomorrow or Monday. Fear for the worst, hope for the best," Simpson said of Long.  


On Yeo, he said: "It's a little groin, so hopefully not too bad. He did one last year, but he said it's not as bad as that. So, hopefully it's nothing, but it's probably something."

Simpson said the Eagles felt they had their chances to win the game after repeatedly going inside 50 in the run home and cutting the margin to 10 points halfway through the fourth quarter. 

A lapse in judgement from premiership forward Jamie Cripps proved costly, however, with the veteran shoving opponent Nic Martin as Jake Waterman was lining up for a shot on goal, giving away a free kick.   

"I didn't see it, but I'm sure he regrets it. I don't think we can point the finger at 'Crippa'. It obviously hurt us, but I don't think we can say that it cost us the game," Simpson said.