JOHN Worsfold has claimed that Essendon has no right to have success faster than any other team, blaming injuries and inexperience for yet another lamentable defeat on Saturday evening.
Speaking after a 50-point loss to Port Adelaide, which extended a barren run that has featured just one win in its last nine games, Worsfold said that 'Essendon people' must understand that the club isn't owed consistent success.
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Instead, he implored the Bombers to continue down the path they're currently taking, saying "then we'll see where they're at" if the club manages to follow through on its process.
"I understand that Essendon people think that Essendon should be better," Worsfold said.
"But they've also got to understand that the competition challenges clubs now to work to the same rules – the same rules of the draft and the salary cap.
"No one team has any more right to be successful quicker than any other team, just because they're a big-name club. You've got to knuckle down and commit to doing the work. Good clubs will do that and come out of it with success."
Essendon made five changes to its side for Saturday night's defeat, with the average age of its team more than a full year younger than Port Adelaide's and more than 48 games more inexperienced.
According to Worsfold, that was the most telling and significant factor in the difference between the two sides, as the Power piled on five unanswered goals after quarter-time to secure a convincing win.
"From what I've seen in my time in football, inexperienced teams struggle to compete against very experienced teams for the course of a full game," Worsfold said.
"For big parts of the game, we took it right up to them. But their class was too much in the end.
"You're talking about a team that is right in the premiership window in terms of age and experience, they don't travel at the moment, they're living at home and they're playing a very inexperienced team that is trying to learn and trying to learn without getting the opportunity to train together.
"The facts are, we're well below where we want to be. But that's through a lot of factors other than understanding what we're trying to do and committing to it. That's not the reason we are where we're at.
"Pretty much all year, we've had seven or eight of our best 22 out of the team. At least tonight we had Joe Daniher out there, but we know he is going to start working back to his best footy next year. This year was just about getting him back playing. He's had to do that without any match practice and without much training.
"There are a lot of factors to take into account. (But) I'm really confident that if Essendon sticks to what they're working on and what they believe in and pull it all together, then we'll see where they're at. But we haven't had the opportunity to see that all year."
Port Adelaide, on the other hand, now has a significant grip on the minor premiership and can attack next Monday night's clash with Collingwood in the knowledge that victory would clinch top spot on the ladder.
Despite securing a top-two finish and a home qualifying final on Saturday evening, Power coach Ken Hinkley said he wouldn't rotate his squad for their round 18 bout with the Magpies and said they would be as intent as ever on notching a fifth straight win.
"I'd like us to continue what we're doing and continue to play another strong game next week," Hinkley said.
"There's nothing better than being in good form. Sometimes it can be really hard when you've got a couple of things locked away, it can be a little distracting, but I think the group showed tonight that they're not getting distracted.
"They're prepared to play every game on its merits and I think that's why it's really important. They've been led that way all year, that the scoreboard, ladder, outcomes … it's not what we chase. It's about doing it together."