Essendon coach Brad Scott has warned Bombers supporters not to get carried away with the club’s positive start to the AFL season.
- The Bombers defeated the Demons by 27 points
- They have won four of their opening five matches to the season
- Scott says the Bombers still have room for improvement
The Bombers are second on the ladder with a 4-1 win-loss record after comprehensively defeating Melbourne 15.14 (104) to 11.11 (77) at Adelaide Oval on Saturday during Gather Round.
Scott is in his first season as Bombers coach after replacing Ben Rutten, who was sacked last year.
Hopes are high among Bombers supporters that the club can return to the finals this season, but Scott said they should not set expectations too high.
“There is so much to play out,” said Scott, who previously coached North Melbourne from 2010 to 2019.
“Melbourne are still clearly a contender. If we provide that level of effort and be consistent, we can be competitive with good sides.
“We are still nowhere near where we want to be and it’s going to take us some time.”
Scott, however, could not hide his pride in the Bombers’ performance against the Demons, who are rated among the premiership favourites.
“We have been working on all facets of our game, it has been steadily improving,” he said.
“But the non-negotiable is just the effort and intent and it was there in spades.
“What the competition is telling everyone is if you’re at your best you are really capable on the day. If the opposition is a little bit off, you’re a chance.”
Scott was particularly pleased for former captain Dyson Heppell, who was a steadying influence with 16 disposals and seven marks after some pundits questioned if the 30-year-old’s days at the elite level were numbered.
“I was just so happy for him because he has been under some intense scrutiny,” Scott said.
“And it just speaks to the quality of the competitor that he is, that he could play as well as he did.
“If he was stung [by criticism] you wouldn’t know. He just absorbs it and moves on.
“I have talked about the intangible nature of how important he is to our group.
“The thing about being a senior player is you still need to perform. He and I have spoken a lot about that.
“He is such a competitor that he is going to give everything that he’s got.”