ESSENDON coach Ben Rutten says he is up for the fight to lift the Bombers up the ladder as pressure mounts on the club ahead of a rematch with Sydney star Luke Parker, who mocked opponent Dylan Shiel earlier this season.  

Less than two months after Swans co-captain Parker ridiculed Bomber Dylan Shiel during the clubs' round nine clash at the SCG, the teams meet again on Saturday in what is Parker's 250th game.

Essendon's response that night was questioned as no teammates moved to defend Shiel but Rutten said his team was motivated to perform better against the Swans this time around, regardless of the Parker incident. 

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"We get to play them six weeks after we were really poor against them last time. There's no question about that. The way we competed and turned up to perform was nowhere near the level," he said on Thursday.

"That incident typified our performance so we're really keen as a footy club and playing group to get back and respond and perform better.

"The guys don't need that to get them motivated. They're aware of how they performed and that's the main thing and they're keen. The fixture's looked after us in some sense that we don't have to sit on that performance for too long."

Club legend Matthew Lloyd this week said on's Access All Areas that Rutten should be under "enormous pressure" for his position as Essendon slumped to its 11th loss of the year last week to the previously bottom-placed West Coast.

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Matthew Lloyd and Damian Barrett discuss Essendon's lack of improvement under coach Ben Rutten on Access All Areas

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After making the finals last year, Essendon sits in 16th position and is destined for a bottom-four finish as heat comes on Rutten.

But the second-year coach, who lamented the Bombers' inconsistency and execution and said "there's too many times where we're beating ourselves", said he understood the criticism. 

"It's part of the territory. It's the game we play. It's a passionate, emotional game of footy and it comes with the territory," Rutten said. 

"I'm really clear what my job is. I know what this group is capable of. I know what they can do and I know where we can get to as a footy club. I'm as driven, I'm as passionate and I'm as committed as ever to get us there.

"We've seen parts of it in patches and that's really encouraging for me and the players as well. But we've got work to do. We're not the finished product, we're not where we want to be consistently enough, there's no question about that.

"We're as frustrated and as disappointed as our supporters and fans. We certainly feel for them. We've got an open training session today and to see the amount of people and kids and support is fantastic."

Essendon leaves the field after a loss to West Coast in round 15, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Essendon president last month announced a review of the club's football operations, with Rutten saying he had spoken regularly with the Bombers' boss as they look to improve on the go. 

The club's defensive woes were on show against the Eagles, who reached the 100-point barrier last week for the first time since round seven last year. Champion Data also showed this week that the Bombers' applied pressure factor is the worst in the competition and lowest on record for the club since the statistic was first measured in 2010.          

Rutten admitted it was a huge area of focus. 

"There's no question that the defensive part of our game is not at the level we want it to be and not sustainable for winning consistent games of footy. It's probably why we haven't," he said. 

"There's different ways you can look at statistics. The differential in games is important. We tend to play lower stoppage games and there's plenty more opportunities at stoppages to create higher pressure. 

"I think there has been some improvement in those parts of our game – our tackling, our pressure, our contested ball numbers in particular – over the last five or six weeks."