ESSENDON coach John Worsfold has defended his side sharing a joke during the half-time break of last week's loss to Geelong when the Bombers were 10 goals behind.
Footage of the Bombers laughing as they came together before the start of the third term was under sharp focus this week after Essendon's heavy loss to the Cats.
Former Essendon skipper and champion forward Matthew Lloyd said on AFL.com.au's Access All Areas earlier this week it wasn't the time for the group to be joking. The Bombers trailed by 59 points heading into the second half and their finals chances were hanging by a thread.
But Worsfold said the Bombers' efforts after half-time meant he had no issue with the move.
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"I don't have a strong view. We measure the players on performance. If telling that joke got them up to playing the footy we played in the second half where we had more scoring shots and more inside-50s than Geelong then we should've been cracking those gags before the game," he said on Thursday.
"People put perspective on it. It's a very narrow focus in the context of what players are doing. We can pick on player groups at any time. We want the AFL to have some characters in the game, but ultimately we get measured on performance.
"Our first half wasn't good enough. The players having a laugh post that, and then going out and performing a lot better, people can read into that how they want.
"For me we get measured on our performance and that's what we want to go on. If people want to use facial expressions or other actions as a measure of that, I can't control that. Our performance in the first half was poor, and our performance in the second half against Geelong was a lot better."
Worsfold said the Bombers had used the main break to put forward their plans to steady the ship after Geelong's blitz early in the game.
"People don't know what happened at half-time. They saw 15 seconds of something, there was a lot more that went on at half-time from coaches and the leadership group with the players that was very focused and very driven around improving our performance in that second half," he said.
"I'm comfortable that the players were focused going into that second half to take up the challenge to the Cats."
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Essendon faces top-of-the-ladder Port Adelaide on Saturday at Adelaide Oval and needs to win both of its last games, and rely on other results to fall its way, to keep its top-eight chances alive.
The Bombers will regain Joe Daniher after the key forward was rested last week after playing two games in quick succession upon his return to the field.
Conor McKenna, who announced his immediate retirement from the game this week, has already left the Bombers and is in Sydney ahead of his trip back to Ireland.
Worsfold said it was "absolutely the right decision" for McKenna to head home after seeing the 24-year-old's relief after finally making the call.