Sam McClure has posed the question regarding Essendon’s season.
The fortunes of the Bombers have changed dramatically this week after losing key players Devon Smith and Joe Daniher for the season, while Orazio Fantasia remains on the sidelines.
John Worsfold’s men sit 10th on the ladder with a record of 4-5 and face an in-form Richmond side in the Dreamtime at the ‘G game on Saturday night.
On SEN’s The Match Committee, McClure asked Terry Wallace if the Bombers are capable of dealing with such significant absences and producing positive results just as the Tigers have done without stars Alex Rance, Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin and to a lesser extent, Dustin Martin.
“It’s a huge test for John Worsfold,” said McClure.
“When Rance went down and when Riewoldt went down and then Martin got suspended at the start of the year, we all sat here and said, ‘that’s pretty much it for Richmond’.
“They’re proving us wrong. Can Essendon prove us wrong?”
To which Wallace replied: “I doubt it.
“They’re back in the pack at the moment. They haven’t got the easiest of fixtures on the run home.
“They’ve just lost key components to their team and there is an inconsistency about them. You put all of those things together and it’s very difficult to see them making a run and even making the run they did last year.”
AFL Hall of Famer Wallace dove deeper with the Dons, suggesting the state of their list is not quite up to operating as effectively without such vital cogs.
“I did a review on Essendon only last Sunday and I said that in the back-half of the year, they’ve got four players who have to absolutely shine for them,” Wallace said.
“One of them was Daniher, one of them was Devon Smith and within the week, both of them are out for the year.
“(Aaron) Francis was another one just for the fact I think he’s got so much upside.
Orazio Fantasia is out with a quad injury
“And the other one was Fantasia. So, three of the four of them are not available.
“It makes it very, very difficult for them but they are playing a side who have gone through everything that they’ve gone through.
“Richmond have had as many hardships, if not more, than the Bombers.
“But I just feel the Bombes are less equipped to deal with that than what perhaps a side like Richmond are.
“I’ve always thought that Essendon were more personnel driven the way they played and Richmond were structurally driven.”
Asked if that is a reflection on coaching or Richmond simply being in a different period with their list, Wallace replied: “It’s coaching to me.
“I just think that one is a tighter group and can deal with things being taken off them where I don’t think the other can at this stage.”