Time for Bombers to make a stand: Watson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Time for Bombers to make a stand: Watson

By Roger Vaughan 30/04/2010 05:51:11 PM Comments (0)

A week ago, Essendon captain Jobe Watson spoke about his AFL team showing their mental strength - now they must prove they're not weak.

Bombers great James Hird is the latest club figure to question the character of this current team in the wake of Sunday's Anzac Day disaster.

Collingwood kicked seven goals to none in a first quarter that humiliated Essendon and the Magpies won by 65 points.

The Bombers and arch-rivals Hawthorn have only one win from five games ahead of Saturday night's clash at the MCG.

While the Hawks must also lift, it is much easier to see them turning around their poor start to the season.

"To be beaten comprehensively in probably 21 of the 22 positions, it was really disappointing," Watson said of Anzac Day.

"It's just important that our actions show a different mentality tomorrow night.

"You make a stand by your physical attack on the ball ... the great players always do that, they make the ball their focus and they don't concerning themselves with attacking the body.

"James is probably alluding to that - guys attacking the ball with a ferocity that perhaps hasn't been there."

Adding to Essendon's challenge, Hawthorn will crave revenge after last season's round-22 loss, a result which put the Bombers in the eight at the Hawks' expense.

Hawthorn were furious after then-Essendon captain Matthew Lloyd ironed out Brad Sewell with a fierce bump in the third term.

Watson said Essendon always expect fierce physical pressure from the Hawks and is confident his team will handle it properly.

"The players are intelligent enough to know that you win games of footy by putting your head over the ball," he said.

"The team that will do that with more ferocity tomorrow and on a more consistent level will be inevitably the team that wins.

"They understand there are going to be times there's going to physical contact and that's part of the game.

"If ... as a team we make our focus the ball, then we'll give ourselves the best chance to win.

Whoever loses this match will be under enormous pressure, but Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson noted that 1-5 would not be an impossible situation.

"I can remember an Essendon side in 1981 ... they were down and out by round six or seven and won 15 games on the trot and played in the finals," Clarkson said of Kevin Sheedy's first year as Bombers coach.

"Anything can happen in footy, so long as you stay true to your beliefs and to your players."

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