July 21, 2024

Ten questions Dons must answer after another finals fail… and who should be on their $2m hit list

Essendon fans don’t need to be reminded how long it’s been since their club last won a final.

It’s been a long two decades for one of the biggest and proudest AFL clubs in the land — and one of the ‘big four’ Victorian powerhouses.

Well, in recent times, they’ve watched Richmond go through a golden period, Collingwood consistently remain in flag contention and Carlton rise from a lengthy rebuild to charge back towards the pointy end of the ladder.

AFL 2024: Essendon's rise analysed as Bombers finals win looms, writes Mick  McGuane | Herald Sun

The Bombers have meanwhile languished in AFL purgatory, at times limping into the finals but having no influence, not helped by maybe the biggest controversy in league history in the early 2010s that also doesn’t need reminding.

And though they kickstarted the Brad Scott era on such a positive note — an era that does feel like a genuine turning point for the club amid an overhaul of several other positions of power — this season ended in such brutal fashion.

Sitting fifth after Round 17 and on track to feature in September, Essendon would drop five of its last seven games — including losses to GWS and Collingwood by a combined 196 points in the last two rounds — while the two narrow wins during that span came against bottom-two sides North Melbourne and West Coast.

It’s clear that, despite promise, the Bombers still have a ways to go before they shoot back up the ladder and contend again.

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