ESSENDON is facing a potentially season-defining fortnight, and there's doubt whether captain Jobe Watson will be fit for next week's pivotal clash against Geelong, coach James Hird says.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, the Bombers coach revealed Watson suffered an injury during the second quarter of a 13-point loss to Richmond in their Dreamtime at the 'G clash on Saturday night.

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While the skipper played on, and was at his most productive with seven of his 17 touches and a goal in the third term, Watson couldn't exert his usual influence on the contest as his slde slipped to 10th spot with a 4-5 record.

How did Fletcher go?

Although the Brownlow medallist's output has dropped off recently – he averaged 29 possessions in the opening six rounds, but only 19 in the past three weeks – Hird was quick to defend his captain.

"He's been fit," Hird said after the loss to the Tigers. "He might have picked up a slight injury in the second quarter tonight, which prohibited his running a little bit so we'll have a look at that during the week.

"I thought he's been good this year, he's probably had a couple of quieter games … but I thought his third quarter was an outstanding quarter from the captain."

Asked what Watson's injury was, Hird replied: "You know I'm not going to tell you."

Milestone man Dustin Fletcher will also be monitored this week after he picked up a groin injury during the third quarter.

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The 40-year-old gathered 10 possessions, with four rebound 50s in his 400th match, but had to spend most of the final term on the bench after he was substituted out.

"I think it was a great night for Dustin obviously, 400 games, hurting his groin late in the third quarter I think capped an ordinary night in terms of our performance," Hird said.

The Bombers shot themselves in the foot with their inaccurate kicking in the first half, booting 1.7 before two late goals brought them back within 11 points at the main change.

Key forward Jake Carlisle was the chief offender, kicking 1.3 for the match and one out on the full.

"He's just got to keep working on it really. He and Joe (Daniher) have worked on it a lot over the past six months," Hird said.

"Jake's probably had some injuries through the pre-season and hasn't had as much opportunity as Joe to work on it, but he'll work on it and get better."

Hird grew increasingly frustrated with his players' ball movement, handballing under pressure instead of kicking and skill errors as he patrolled from the boundary line.

But he has seven days to pick his troops up for a critical game against the Cats before a trip to Perth to play West Coast ahead of the bye.

"It's an important couple of weeks for us. If we want to make the finals then we've got to win some of these games coming up and not just get close," Hird said.

"A lot of that is about the way we use the ball. I still think we can get our contest better, but we have just got to use the ball better."