Feisty Worsfold flies the flag for Essendon, coaches
An argumentative John Worsfold has defended his coaching unit and his club while firing shots at the media for its handling of the Mark Baguley sledging incident.
The Essendon coach also denied that sacked game performance coach Mark Neeld was the "chief strategist" at the club, but couldn't confirm whether his team would play differently now that Neeld was gone.
He said Neeld had not been made a scapegoat for Essendon's disastrous start to 2018.
"I can't control perceptions of other people and I can't control how people want to write things. People will put things in a context to angle it the way they wanted, so I'm fully supportive of Mark's decision," he said.
"I consider him a friend and I'm rapt with everything he's done to support me in my time at the Essendon Football Club and I'll continue to support him in whatever pathway he goes."
Worsfold also bristled at suggestions that Neeld was the chief strategist in his coaching ranks.
"That's planning and training programs … mapping out a lot more things than just game strategy, it's supporting me in implementing our strategies," Worsfold said.
When asked whether he envisaged the team setting up and/or playing differently now that Neeld was gone, Worsfold said: "That's a possibility regardless of whether Mark was here or not."
The Bombers coach offered a staunch defence of Baguley, who has been embroiled in a sledging saga after Carlton's Jed Lamb told club officials that the Bombers defender made crude comments about his father, who was murdered when Lamb was six.
Baguley made a statement late on Tuesday afternoon, claiming that Lamb had in fact started the sledging, making personal comments about his physical appearance, which is now believed to have been related to a birthmark on Baguley's face.
"If Mark Baguley did not know anything about it, he couldn't have commented on it," Worsfold said, referring to Lamb's father.
"I don't know what [Baguley] said. I only heard about it last night, to be honest, because it wasn't an issue for us here because I hadn't heard about it. All I can go on is what Mark has come out [and said]," he said.
"Jed made a personal insult to 'Baggers' and got an insult back."
Asked about communication more broadly within the club and the coaching ranks, Worsfold continued to defend the systems at Essendon under his reign.
"I'm really confident with my communication with the board and [chief executive] Xavier (Campbell) at this footy club that we're not happy with where we're at, but we're on a clear pathway to where we want to get to," Worsfold said.
"We've all got clear roles to play in achieving that, so I see a club that's pretty strongly aligned and focused on doing the hard work to get to where we want to get to."
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