Essendon coach looking for the positives

Coach Ben Rutten knows he lost the battle, but he’s hopeful Essendon took steps towards winning the war after dominating inside-50s at GMHBA Stadium.

The Bombers coach remained upbeat despite conceding a 25-point lead in an eventual 41-point loss to the Cats.

He admitted the Bombers were humbled “around the contest” when the hosts surged in the decisive second quarter, but was otherwise happy with all bar his team’s forward efficiency after winning the inside-50 count 62-45.

“Our first quarter was really pleasing the way we moved the ball, how we competed and our contested work,” Rutten said.

“But after that, we weren’t able to convert at the rate we need to; Geelong was far more efficient and that showed on the scoreboard.

“They started to get the momentum and we gave some free-kicks away which were a bit sloppy by us and they were able to start spring-boarding their ball movement.

“And when they had momentum, they were far more effective going forward and being able to hit the scoreboard.

“We had enough … control of the game (at times), but we were just not effective enough or put enough scoreboard pressure on them.”

Rutten took over as Essendon’s senior coach this season. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Rutten sung the praises of Brownlow Medal hopeful Darcy Parish after another wonderful 43-touch game in the midfield.

But was equally as happy that some of his younger charges had the chance to play against the vaunted Cats’ line-up.

“Darcy played another really strong game for us and he’s been doing that really well over the course of the season,” Rutten said.

“But it was a great experience for all of our midfielders tonight. Archie Perkins played a fair bit of midfield time, (Alec) Waterman played a bit in the last quarter as well.

“And to be able to play with Darcy, (Zaqch) Merrett and (Kyle) Langford is a great experience for those guys and I was pleased with what I saw.

“Will Snelling will be better for the run … (and it all) helps us round out and give us good depth through our midfield.”

Rutten said no damage would be done to his team’s morale.

“We absolutely take positives out of it. Our first and third quarters were really strong … we wanted to come down here and start well and play our best footy against a really good team and there were signs of that through the night.

“In the end Geelong were a bit too mature and effective going forward for us.

“But we take plenty of positives out of it.”

Rutten said no timeline had been set for the return of midfield ace Dylan Shiel from a knee injury he suffered in Round 2.

“He’s back running and building up his loads. He’s missed a lot of footy, so we want to do the right thing by him and set him up properly to play some good footy.”

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