Essendon players after their loss to Carlton in R13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THERE would have been a clear focus in the minds of Essendon's coaches as they embarked on their bye over the past week.

The Bombers' conversion has been costly in back-to-back defeats to Gold Coast and Carlton over the past two rounds in breaking their seven-game unbeaten run.

Against the Suns it was more inside-50s, clearances and scoring shots (25 to 21) while against the Blues, the Bombers dominated possessions and inside-50s (60 to 41) but kicked 9.16 to Carlton's accurate 15.6 to lose to their rivals.

Essendon coach Brad Scott pointed out the change that has happened in recent weeks for his side.

Jake Stringer reacts after Essendon's loss to Gold Coast in R12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's actually something that has flipped a bit for us. We were very, very good at [conversion] and probably would have liked more supply. Now we've flipped the script – we're getting ample supply and not connecting," he said after the loss to Carlton.

"But if you wanted to set up a game of footy and a foundation to give yourselves a chance of winning games against really good opposition, I think the foundation is pretty solid."

Champion Data numbers further illustrate the Bombers' conversion quandary.

From rounds one to five, Essendon averaged 83 points a game, 50 inside-50s and a shot at goal accuracy of 54 per cent.

On their run of four wins and a draw between rounds six and 10, the Bombers lifted their average score to 86 points and also strongly increased their inside-50 entries to an average of 59 a game. Their shot at goal accuracy dipped to 47 per cent in this period.

But in the past three weeks, including their win over Richmond in Dreamtime at the 'G, the Bombers haven't been in sync in front of goal.

Their inside-50 average in these games has been at 62 but their average score has dropped to 79 and their accuracy at goal in this block has nosedived to 39 per cent.

The AFL average for accuracy is 49 per cent, showing the Bombers have been effective in the first section of the season but has lost that touch.

Kyle Langford kicks for goal during Essendon's game against Carlton in R13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Interestingly, Essendon's score per inside-50 percentage rate has remained at 41 per cent through each of the three stages of its campaign, showing they still score as often once inside-50, but the inaccuracy in front of goal has been costly.

Jake Stringer kicked four goals against Richmond in his 200th game but has kicked 1.2 in the past two games against the Suns and Blues, Kyle Langford has booted 0.4 the past two weeks and Peter Wright has kicked 1.1. Against the Suns alone, Langford, Stringer, Nic Martin and skipper Zach Merrett, four of the Bombers' best kicks, combined for 0.10.

They are small margins that have had a big effect on the Bombers as they search for a return to the finals.

Essendon's accuracy concern





Points scored

83 Pts

86 Pts

79 Pts





Score per inside-50 percentage




Shot at goal accuracy