Essendon players look dejected after losing to Carlton at the MCG in round 13, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

ESSENDON may have dominated the stats sheet, but blew its opportunities in front of goal in its 26-point loss to Carlton.

Coach Brad Scott said the raw numbers which illustrated the dominance in a losing effort wasn't something he had seen before, having 20 more inside 50s, nearly 60 more handballs, 25 more hitouts and 59 more uncontested possessions.

BOMBERS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats

"I thought Carlton were very polished, I thought their efficiency, they converted their opportunities certainly a lot better than we did. Credit to the way they were able to capitalise on those opportunities," Scott said. 

"We knew Carlton are a very good contested team, very good stoppage team, territory dominance was going to be pretty important in the game.

"Clearly Carlton deserve their win, but I thought our guys laid the foundation to give ourselves the opportunity to – I wouldn't say dominate the game, but we certainly dominated parts without converting on the scoreboard. 

"You don't need me to reel off the stats, you can look them up yourselves, but some of them, I've never seen in a loss. But that's on us, it's two weeks in a row we've been really poor converting our opportunities forward of centre."


The Bombers kicked 9.16 from their 60 inside 50s, having held the Blues to just 40 of their own.

"It's not only the kicking execution and kicking for goal, it's our forward-50 connection, quality shots versus rushed shots. It's not just the last kick inside 50 or the kick inside 50 (itself), some of the build-up, we would have liked to have executed better than we did," Scott said.

"There's a whole range of factors, but it probably feeds into as well that we didn't connect well inside 50 therefore it hit the ground and they cleaned it up. You look at the ground-ball contested numbers, a lot of it came from that."


Scott did not have an update on the subbed-out Will Setterfield, who slipped in the fourth term and appeared to injure his knee, a troublesome area for the Bomber.

Carlton coach Michael Voss has now guided his side to second on the ladder at the mid-point of its season, having won five more games than at this point last year.


"It was territory versus efficiency, wasn't it? When you look at the game itself – certainly through the third quarter they had complete dominance against us, we just couldn't get the ball out of our back half and they also couldn't score, or it was hard to score," Voss said.

"Credit to them, they were able to pin us in a lot. I think coming into the last quarter, we had 24 inside 50s, not sure what they had (25 to 46), but that seemed low to me. For the boys to be able to come out at three-quarter time and do what they did, it shows the belief that's grown within this team. 

"The last three weeks we've played against some quality opposition (Port Adelaide, Gold Coast and Sydney) and we've run out really strong. 

"So to beat us, you have to go four quarters, and that's something we've had to develop as a football team over the past little while. It hasn't just arrived, it's been something we've been working on for a while."


Spearhead Harry McKay spent time off the field after a head knock and returned late in the fourth with a heavily strapped shoulder.

"We'll assess that, he obviously got hit in the shoulder. They assessed that in the last quarter, he was able to strap that and come back on," Voss said.

"But for me to be able to form a prognosis, I don’t know, I’ll have to wait till Monday to find that out."