Rutten turns heat on senior Bombers

Essendon manager Ben Rutten has urged his senior players to get up and get back to their best form after a 58-point loss to Sydney left his side with a 2-7 record.

The Bombers were beaten around the contests as the Swans dominated them in contested possessions, clearances and tackles while controlling the ball for much of the pounding from 14.21 (105) to 6.11 (47) from Saturday.

Captain Dyson Heppell, in his 200th game, and key midfielders Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett combined for two tackles while the Bombers only managed to stick 30 tackles to the Swans’ 56.

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Dylan Shiel was another senior bomber to lower his colors, finishing with five kicks among his 20 eliminations that provided just 69 yards gained.

“Our more experienced players are the ones we need to lead the way and shine a light on our younger players. They didn’t do that tonight,” Rutten said.

“We have some inexperienced players in our squad, but it’s the more experienced guys that we need to be the ones to get down to business and show them the way.”

Despite the lackluster performance, which could have been worse were it not for the Swans’ inaccurate goal kicks, Rutten insisted he would support the senior Bombers rather than send them to reserve to regain form .

“We need it. Absolutely, we need it,” Rutten said.

“We need to continue to support them, coach them hard, be very clear about the expectations around the requirements and help them get there.”

The Bombers will be sweating over an injury to Jye Caldwell after the midfielder was injured in a tagging contest and had to be substituted.

Sydney defender Tom McCartin slammed into Caldwell as both players appeared to have their eyes on the ball while contesting a mark deep in the Bombers forward line.

“It was an incredibly brave act. Jye is a young player who is really brave and has a real appetite for competition,” Rutten said.

“Unfortunately he has a bit of AC [shoulder injury]. He’s pretty bad right now.

“I don’t know the extent of the damage, we will know at the beginning of the week.”

Sydney co-captain Callum Mills led the way throughout with 29 takedowns while collecting highs for seven clearances and 13 tackles.

Mills was backed by Chad Warner (career-high 32 eliminations), Errol Gulden (26) and James Rowbottom (22) as the emerging Swans midfielder outplayed and beat the Bombers onballers.

“When a leader [Mills] starts being the player with the most pressure or the player with the most tackles, and goes out and just goes hunting and tries to do that, it sets a good tone for the team,” said the Swans coach John Longmire.

“I thought it was as good as I saw him hustling and putting pressure around the ball. For senior players, that makes a real difference.”

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