during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at the Essendon Football Club on April 12, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.

Essendon utility Brendon Goddard believes his All Australian teammate Zach Merrett will return to his best form, despite dealing with added opposition attention and concussion this season.

Merrett has already suffered two concussions this year, one in the JLT series and another in round one against Adelaide. Goddard believes that is not the reason for his form slump.

“He feels fine; I doubt it is having any impact on the way he is performing,” he told RSN927 radio.

The former Essendon captain believes opposition teams are putting effort into tagging the young midfielder and while the rest of the team needs to lend a hand, Merrett also needs to free himself up more during matches.

“We are talking about a young player who is 22 that is being heavily tagged now. That’s a feather in his cap, to be honest, to be seen as a threat and (a player who is) important to our team, which he is.

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“Now it is about fighting through that, which all the great players have done at some stage. I can’t think of a guy who is arguably tagged at 22, and (who) comes out and is untaggable by the time he is twenty-two-and-a-half.

“I know how much he wants to be a great player and to be a part of a successful side, (but) it is a stage in his footy career that he is going to have to work through.”

Merrett had 21 possessions against Fremantle in round two and 13 against the Bulldogs last weekend, which is well below his average of 30 disposals per game in 2017.

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Goddard said that the Essendon players addressed Conor McKenna about his biting charge.

“It has been addressed behind closed doors, because incidents like these – biting in this instance – do hurt the team, especially for someone who is playing consistently in the senior team,” he said.

“He is clearly disappointed with what happened. He has a lot of emotions going through his head, but we have just said, ‘Get back on the horse and work your butt off for the next three weeks to earn your spot (back) in the team.”