ESSENDON coach John Worsfold was at a loss for answers after his side's woeful 72-point defeat at the hands of Greater Western Sydney on Sunday.

The Bombers, touted as finals contenders ahead of the season opener at Giants Stadium, looked anything but in a match in which they gave up five consecutive goals twice, and let the Giants boot the first six goals of the final term.

The lack of fight from the visitors was alarming, as the GWS midfield made their Essendon counterparts look second-rate.

GIANTS CRUSH BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats

Despite being without stars Josh Kelly and Callan Ward, the Giants won the contested possession count 157-118, and after struggling in the opening quarter, gained an edge in clearances 32-26 over the final three terms.

"You don't expect to step out like that in round one and be so far off the mark, so we were very disappointed by that," Worsfold said post-match.

"Really after the 20-minute mark of the first quarter, they dominated the game.

"Our players just looked a bit shell-shocked and we couldn't address anything (the Giants did) throughout the game.

"GWS were sensational, they were cleaner and took their opportunities.

"We looked flat and not up to their intensity.

"It wasn't just one area that was off tonight it was pretty much everything.

"I would never accuse any of the players of not giving their all, but their 'all' was well below what we would like from each other."

WATCH John Worsfold's full post-match press conference

Worsfold rubbished suggestions that media hype about his side's 2019 fortunes played a part in the loss.

"I don't think so, I'm not really sure how it would," he said.

"There's not too many elite athletes, especially if they move into the top echelon, that get affected by that.

"If we're affected by that then we need to really assess and address it, but I don't think so.

"We just played really poorly.

"I don't think we started favourites, so we lost a game that most people didn't expect us to win.

"That doesn't make it feel any better, but we need to address it."

Former Giant Dylan Shiel had a solid, yet unspectacular debut in Essendon colours, but he did finish with an equal team-high 25 possessions, 18 of those contested, and seven clearances.

"Overall we know what 'Dyl' is going to deliver for us, and unfortunately he was part of a group that didn't deliver," Worsfold said.

"He's hurting as we all are and he's hungry to grow from that."