The rumour mill went into overdrive last week after it was revealed by many in the media that Essendon may sack John Worsfold after Thursday Night’s elimination final should the Bombers string together a poor performance.
The premiership-winning coach has steered the club back into the finals for the second time in his short tenure as coach, but after big expectations at the start of the season, the Bombers have fallen well short of that this season and were lucky to scrape into the eight.
It is this failure to live up to pre-season expectation which appears to be the motivation for the potential sacking should the Bombers lose comfortably, but leading into the do-or-die final, Worsfold said he thought his place as coach was secure regardless of the outcome of Essendon finals campaign.
“[That belief] is based on non-stop communication with the executive of the Essendon Football Club. We don’t just talk when something’s written in the paper, we talk about it non-stop – where we’re going, how the team’s going, and where everything’s at,” he told the media on Monday.
“I know it’s exciting to know that I had dinner with (Essendon CEO) Xavier Campbell a couple of weeks ago, but ultimately we talk every week.
“It’s not for me to pump my tyres up or to be disappointed to see it in other ways. I’ve got plenty to focus on in terms of picking a team…without worrying about if someone thinks I’ve done a reasonable job or not.”
The likelihood of Michael Hurley returning to the fold looks to be increasing, as the star defender looks to return after suffering a partial dislocation of his shoulder in Essendon’s final round loss to Collingwood.
“He’s going really well. At this stage everything’s looking really promising,” Worsfold said.
“He has to say he thinks he’s able to play at the required level in this game. The medical staff have to agree with that and say they’re comfortable that he’s available, and then we have to decide we’re going to pick him.
“All those things we have to do, but at this stage he’s tracking really well.”
And the Bombers do have some recent success over the Eagles which will help serve as a blueprint heading into the game, as they defeated the reigning premiers at Optus Stadium last year.
“There’s stuff Hawthorn did that was interesting. We’ve also looked at some other game where West Coast’s been challenged over there, including some of the quarters we’ve played against them over the past 18 months as well,” Worsfold said.