Essendon lose to Port Adelaide, result, embarrassing effort, Ben Rutten press conference, video
Port Adelaide ended a turbulent week with a win over Essendon at Marvel Stadium by 84 points.
The Power scored nine straight goals, including seven in a second-quarter assault, to put a sometimes tasteless Essendon to the sword and condemn the Bombers to their biggest loss of the season.
It was an emphatic response from Port, whose beleaguered manager Ken Hinkley received assurances from club chairman David Koch during the week that he would remain in charge in 2023, having lost his last four games.
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Essendon recorded several undesirable milestones, including the biggest ever loss to coach Ben Rutten, his most points conceded as Bombers coach, and Essendon’s second-biggest loss to Power.
Rutten criticized his team’s “embarrassing effort” after fans booed the players from the ground.
After announcing a record number of members during the week, Rutten apologized to fans and members of Essendon.
“We are bitterly disappointed,” Rutten said.
“It was the kind of game that our members and supporters who came to the game or watched on TV… it’s not the kind of thing they should have to watch.
“It was an embarrassing effort from our guys. It’s not something we want to stand up for and it’s not something our members and supporters should have to watch out for at all times.
Rutten said he couldn’t put his finger on where it fell apart for the Bombers, who had the best of territory and seven shots to five in the first quarter.
But from there, it’s all Power who slammed 18 goals to six.
The Essendon manager said that while the result was not acceptable, it did not shake his belief in the direction of his team.
“At the end of the first quarter, we got back into the game,” Rutten said.
“But from the second quarter it was really poor.
“That doesn’t shake my belief about where we’re going. It’s not a very good result considering tonight’s performance.
“It’s about us being loud and clear about where we’re going and what we’re trying to build because it’s never going to be a clean progression to becoming a great team.
“Performances like this are not things we can accept or tolerate, and we will not.”
Rutten did not say if he would give his players a chance to bounce back next week against Richmond or if there would be any significant changes, but said everyone connected with the team felt the loss.
“It hurts me, it hurts the players and everyone who is invested in getting us where we want to go,” he said.
“I’m going to have to take a look at it (make wholesale changes).
“The good thing is that we have a week left and an opportunity for us to end the year playing a brand of football the way we want.”
Michael Hurley took another step towards an AFL comeback with a successful VFL game on Sunday, and Rutten hinted the veteran swingman could play his first game in over two years.
“That will be a talking point for us, he’s come through the game at VFL level, that’s definitely something we’ll look into,” Rutten said.