Brisbane recorded its second win of the season on Sunday, defeating Essendon by 37 points to consign the Bombers to this year’s wooden spoon and of course, guarantee the No.1 draft pick.
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While Essendon has had a trying season due 12 players being suspended for the 2016 season due to the club’s controversial 2012 supplements saga, Herald Sun and Fox Footy journalist, Mark Robinson has all but suggested that the Bombers were tanking on the weekend.
Robinson pointed to the fact that John Worsfold opted not to tag ball magnet Daniel Rich, who was allowed to roam free for the much of the match, racking up 27 disposals off half back, including 21 uncontested possessions, 10 inside 50s and 13 handball receives.
“No matter if you believe tanking exists or doesn’t exist, there was one unusual and glaring lack of a match-up in Sunday’s game between Essendon and Brisbane,” Robsinson wrote in his article in the Herald Sun.
“For most games this year, Brisbane’s Daniel Rich has been assigned a tagger for a period of time.
“The menacing left-foot of Rich’s is a huge asset and teams tend to cut it out of the game.
“Leppitsch has even made it known how much Rich hates the tag.”
However, despite the proven success of opposition clubs to use a tag to shut Rich out of the game, Worsfold opted not to tag the former rising star winner during Sunday’s match.
“The decision to let Rich roam was either poor coaching, unlucky coaching or self-sabotage,” Robinson wrote.
“Seriously, why would you let Rich have 27, give him two kids to curb his brilliance, when he is one of the easiest players in the game to shut down?”
Lions’ midfielder Mitch Robinson even admitted post-match that he thought it was “weird” that Rich was not given a tag.
Essendon is now odds on favourite to have the least season wins in 2016, at $1.40 with TopSport, with Brisbane at $2.80.