VINDICATION wasn’t on Greater Western Sydney caretaker coach Mark McVeigh's mind after his side responded to his brutal assessment of last week's Derby thrashing with a 27-point win over Essendon.

With the Giants’ finals aspirations over for 2022, McVeigh was brutally honest when he claimed numerous players had "checked out" following last week's 73-point loss against the Swans.

That forthright public assessment along with the Giants' match committee's decision not to make mass selection changes raised eyebrows this week, with some claiming it would impact McVeigh's chances of earning the head coaching role permanently.

Despite that, McVeigh shied away from claiming vindication in the aftermath of the win that ended the 16th-placed Giants' four-game losing run, and insisted the response was player-driven.

06:45 Mins
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The Giants and Bombers clash in round 17

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"I'm not surprised by the response from the players during the week," McVeigh said.

"It's always been open and honest. We wanted to really make sure we nailed this week. I was really confident all week.

"Sometimes you've got to back great character. We have, in my mind, great characters amongst our group.

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"Some of those people who were challenged, I knew they would respond. It didn’t guarantee a win but I thought the effort was clearly there. It was a really good reward for the players."

09:10 Mins
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He said co-captains Stephen Coniglio, Toby Greene and Josh Kelly had stepped up during the week.

"I think they took charge of the whole week to be honest. As coach you set the tone but with great relationships with players and our leadership group, they took it upon themselves to drive the message and the standards internally all week," McVeigh.

McVeigh, who this week made his pitch to the club for the vacant job, said the win didn’t better his chances of earning the role permanently.

"I don’t think it changes anything," he said. "It's probably not about wins and losses. They're trying to find the right person. I support that."

Alastair Clarkson during Hawthorn v Gold Coast, R11, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The caretaker also wasn’t concerned that the club had met with four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson to discuss the role several times recently.

"That's the process, which is great," he said. "It's absolutely what I knew was going to happen. Our club is doing everything they can to uncover the best coach which is the right thing."

McVeigh also revealed Tim Taranto, who was withdrawn on Friday from the team to face Essendon, would miss next week having entered concussion protocols after a delayed onset was unusually diagnosed on Saturday originating from last week's Derby loss.

Tim Taranto looks dejected after Greater Western Sydney's clash with Carlton in round 19, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Essendon coach Ben Rutten was left scratching his head about the gulf between his side's best and worst, having entered the game as one of the league's form teams.

The Bombers had won five of their past seven games prior to the defeat, with that record only bettered by top-two Geelong and Collingwood over that stretch.

"I reckon the last 10 weeks or so have been pretty consistent," Rutten said.

"That performance was certainly a bit of an outlier for us. I didn’t see it coming. I can't put my finger on it right now.

"I'm certainly going to have some discussions with our senior guys to get some more insights into why we had a performance like we did today. It hasn’t been what we've been delivering in recent times.

"I think we've been pretty consistent in our work around the contest, pressure, tackles, our way of moving the ball, the way we keep working and improving our defence, but none of that was on display today. We just weren’t up for the fight for the majority of the game."

05:20 Mins
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Zach Merrett had come into the game fresh from 38, 38 and 36 disposals from his past three games but was kept to only 19 touches – his second lowest return this season - with Harry Perryman keeping a close watch on him.

Merrett was moved to half-back in the last quarter to try to shake the tag but struggled to impact the contest.

"I think it was pretty clear early on that they were getting after Zach," Rutten said. "He was able to create some other advantages for us, he got some free-kicks off the ball, but we just didn’t have enough contributors today.

"From what we've been working on, that was a long way off."