AFL Bombers' flight delayed out of Perth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL Bombers' flight delayed out of Perth

Justin Chadwick 12/06/2011 09:10:06 PM Comments (0)

Essendon's preparations for Saturday's crunch clash with North Melbourne have been thrown into chaos after volcanic ash and fog cruelled their original travel plans.

The Bombers, who suffered a 34-point loss to Fremantle at Patersons Stadium on Sunday, were due to fly out of Perth late Sunday night.

But with an ash cloud from a Chilean volcano and fog in Melbourne stopping flights into and out of the Victorian capital, Essendon won't be able to fly out until Monday lunchtime at the earliest.

Essendon coach James Hird said the delay could prove to be a blessing in disguise following the Bombers' poor showing against the Dockers, who led by 59 points at one stage before running out 15.8 (98) to 9.10 (64) winners.

"We'll have a different week before we play North Melbourne on Saturday, but the positive is that we'll stay together as a group and lick our wounds," Hird said.

"We'll do our review here and probably do our first training session here in Perth at the moment.

"Hopefully we get on the plane tomorrow (Monday), but it's a bit uncertain at the moment as to when we are getting on it.

"The guys are pretty adaptable and we'll all stay together.

"If we are here for a day or are here for two days we will work it out. It's not a bad time to spend some time together. It's not ideal, but it's not drastic and we'll work it out."

Essendon started the season in stunning form but have lost their past three matches to slump to eighth on the table, all but ending any hopes of a top-four finish.

Hird, in his first year as coach, said the external top-four expectations had been premature.

"I don't think its a honeymoon period, I think what we're talking about is sustained improvement that takes two or three years to build," Hird said.

"There's no one at Essendon that I know of and particularly amongst the coaching staff that believe that we'd improved so far out of sight in the first part of the year.

"We need to keep improving and we're not here for the next six months, we're not here for the next 12 months, we're here to build a side that is competitive for the long term and that doesn't happen in six months."

Hird expected Dustin Fletcher to play against the Kangaroos despite the veteran lasting just half a game against Fremantle before succumbing to a corked quad.

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