AN INSPIRED Essendon broke its run of four successive losses and put a tumultuous off-field week behind it to post a 34-point win against Geelong on Saturday but the result wasn't always reflected in coach John Worsfold's post-match demeanour.
After game performance coach Mark Neeld's position was made redundant on Monday and Mark Baguley was involved in a sledging scandal with Carlton stopper Jed Lamb, it seemed victory would have provided welcome respite for the Bombers.
Worsfold was in a combative mood at his midweek press conference on Thursday and while that wouldn't be a completely appropriate way to describe his manner in the aftermath of the contest with Geelong, he was often short.
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A reporter asked Worsfold if he felt relief after a difficult period.
"No," Worsfold said.
Reporter: No relief?
Reporter: What is the overwhelming emotion?
"Focus on going forward and getting where we want to get to."
His side's willingness to work impressed the coach.
"I'm pretty happy. Rapt," Worsfold said.
"What pleased me the most? Effort.
"The effort to commit to each other about the way they wanted to perform as a unit."
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Worsfold spoke after last week's loss to the Blues about the players needing to figure out what they stand for.
He was asked whether his players had those conversations.
"They certainly did."
Reporter: Can you tell us what was said?
Reporter: Keeping it in house?
"Yep, in house."
WATCH John Worsfold's full post-match media conference
Worsfold was questioned about how the coaching box functioned, a relevant question considering Neeld has departed.
"There was no real change."
Reporter: There was an absentee.
Reporter: So that would have changed things?
"Other people stepped up and played a bit of that role but overall, not too much changed," Worsfold said.
"We've still got a lot of work to do there."
However, there is time to be satisfied.
"They (players) can enjoy the win. They should enjoy the win and get back to work knowing that they've shown each other," Worsfold said.
"Again, we've had three games where we've seen glimpses of what we can do. We still haven't put it all together. We've got a lot of work to do.
"It's early in the season so we'll knuckle down and keep doing the work."
Shaun McKernan burst out of the blocks and finished with four goals, providing plenty of firepower as Joe Daniher is sidelined with osteitis pubis.
"Shaun had his best pre-season that I've seen him have and I think if you asked him, it was probably his best pre-season he's ever had," Worsfold said.
"He set a real benchmark in terms of his work ethic through the pre-season and then that form has carried through.
"He's had to wait for his opportunities, but we knew he was going to be able to perform well when they came, because of the physical position or fitness that he's got himself to."
Greater Western Sydney looms next Saturday night at Spotless Stadium. Michael Hurley (hamstring), Andy McGrath (calf) and David Myers (hip) all trained on Saturday morning and could return to face the Giants.
Despite the impressive performance, the Bombers aren't getting carried away, as their coach pointed out, perhaps with tongue planted in cheek.
"We're keeping a lid on it. We don't want to be premiership favourites just yet."