Mark Robinson breaks down Essendon Bombers issues on AFL 360, extras saga, Ben Rutten contract, Dyson Heppell interview

AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson has made an impassioned plea for Essendon coach Ben Rutten to quickly fix his ‘broken’ system and unite his ‘vanilla’ playgroup.

In a nine-minute segment on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 On Monday night, Robinson suggested the Bombers were “reviewing all aspects” of their football department and the club was still scarred by the ghosts of the infamous supplements saga, as he also wondered if Rutten had “the ‘aura’ of a great coach.

See the full transcript below, or watch the full segment on Fox Footy’s YouTube page.

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“I tapped into that three or four weeks ago, Gerard, and it’s getting worse and worse,” Robinson said.

“I said two and a half weeks ago that Essendon needed an urgent review of all football operations. Paul Brasher, the chairman, came out and said ‘no, that’s not going to happen’. Well, I can tell you right now, Gerard, there’s a review of all aspects of the football department going on as we speak. Now they’re not going to announce ‘we have a review’, but Essendon is looking at every aspect of its all-inclusive football department – ​​and it should.

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“When we all play sports, when everyone plays all levels of sports, you demand one thing from yourself and the people watching or the people you play with demand something from you: we want effort, we want camaraderie – call it what you want call it – we want to be together Now they (the Bombers) run together, but they don’t play together.

“So when everyone says, ‘What’s wrong here? There is no effort. They make an effort, but it’s a broken effort… and that’s why it comes down to the coach. The coach is responsible for mustering the total effort. The player is expected to show up every week and bring something, but it’s up to the boss to pull it all together and go out and compete together and put what’s important online.


“I told you last week, (Rutten said) ‘oh, we’re just going to show some flair and go forward’ – no! Show some flair and defend,” Robinson said.

“Style that goes forward and looks good doesn’t win flags – it doesn’t. Show flair and defend. Last week they should have said ‘it’s all over, we’re going to defend’.

“That sequence where three (Sydney) players were alone in goalsquare and (Wayne) Carey said it was completely ‘dysfunctional’, it just says the system that Ben Rutten has – let’s talk X and Os, forget the emotion for a second – it’s broken.

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“What he’s trying to get the players to do is not gelling. So either they have to change the plans or reduce the system or change the system. When the system is like this when three players (rivals) are in the goal box saying “let’s kick a goal”, bang.

“The question is on everyone. But (on Monday in the sun herald), I put it on the coach. Ben Rutten is responsible. People can find excuses in football… but if you live by excuses and start finding scapegoats except accepting the blame yourself, what will that dig up? Now, they might say the list isn’t hard enough – yes, it is! Yes it is! It’s how you put them all together.


“Saturday night, that Shiel moment will go down as a pivotal moment in this sphere under Ben Rutten,” Robinson said.

“Either you support it or you don’t. And I’m not into violence, Gerard, but I am a little: Luke Parker should have been hurt.

“And I’ll compare it… when (Rhyan) Mansell had a week to go to (Jack) Ginnivan, I think deep down in Richmond he said, ‘Bravo. Well done, young man, you fought.

“And you know what? Sometimes Gerard you just have to take one for the team – and the next time Parker goes for the ball you take it out. Not hit him in the head, but you take it out and tell him “we don’t accept that. But that didn’t happen. So it’s all sweet.”

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“Ben Rutten might be a great guy, but the question right now about Ben Rutten is: can you coach? That is the question. And if Essendon asks that question, Essendon officials shouldn’t be there” , Robinson said.

“That (the pressure on Rutten to go from ‘doing’ his job to ‘keeping’ his job) has to move. Performances like that move the radar – it really does.

“Everyone is hoping Ben Rutten can sort things out because if you’re an Essendon supporter, apart from a period in 2012 when they were doing really well, the last 15 years have been really bad. So everyone wants Ben Rutten improves this football team.

“But it’s funny with the coaches. What makes a good coach and what makes a bad coach? Why is Mark Neeld sacked and off the top of my head Bolton sacked and Teague sacked? They know the football, they know the game. Ben Rutten knows the game, but does he have that extra element – and I don’t know what it is, but I’ll put it under the umbrella of “the will have” ? Great coaches have aura, have something in them.


“You look at Essendon and it’s a very vanilla club – and it’s a very vanilla team,” Robinson said.

“And I still think there are remnants hanging over this football club from the drugs scandal where Essendon, for several years, (said): ‘Let’s not do anything to upset anyone . Come on, we put the league and everyone through this really bad time. Let’s bring in John Worsfold, a really great guy. Let’s just settle down. Do nothing. Let’s bring in Ben Rutten, a really good guy. Dyson Heppell, really a good guy. Let’s go, let’s be nice and gentle.

“No, the time has come for this football club, Gerard, to get tough and tough again – and they have to start with themselves before they start with the opposition. They have to get tough and tough inside.

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“There are two ways to look at this,” Robinson said.

“I know Dyson, he’s a fantastic person, and when you hear a captain talking about your football club like that, you want to lean over and say ‘hey, we’re with you, great stuff’. a harsh point of view, these are just words.

“We know you love the club, Dyson… but it’s not about your love for the club. It’s about what this group and, you’re part of it, the leadership group, it’s about. It’s about what this team – your team – produces each week.

“I mean they have to stay together as a team, but there has to be a circuit breaker at some point Gerard… And I don’t know what the circuit breaker is for the players, but the circuit breaker for the clubs – now they will continue to support Rutten – but when the time comes when someone at the club, like Paul Brasher or Xavier Campbell, says: “We may have made a mistake.”