Essendon coach scorches Sam Draper after win over West Coast

Essendon coach Brad Scott has opened up on his tough conversation with Sam Draper, labelling the under-fire star “disrespectful” for comments he made about a rival club.

Draper didn’t travel to Perth to play in his side’s win over West Coast on Saturday night – albeit through a knee injury.

The Bombers ruck made headlines this week for comments he made on a podcast about Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.

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Speaking after his side’s thrilling six-point win over the Eagles, Scott said Draper acknowledged he “did the wrong thing”.

“I was really disappointed in Sam,” he said.

“He’s very, very clear how disappointed I was. He thought he was in an environment where he thought he was being funny. I said ‘mate, it’s the furthest thing from funny. It’s disrespectful’.”

Scott said Draper’s comments – where he claimed players would be seeking trades if Beveridge was still at the helm at season’s end – had undone some of the work the club had done to win back “respect” in the AFL.

But the Bombers mentor was adamant there was still room in the game for personalities such as Draper – despite crossing a line with his comments.

“I think the game’s got plenty of room for a bit of colour but I think this is the thing with Drapes – he adds massive colour. I see a lot of four and five-year-olds running around with mullets with number two on their back of their Essendon jumper and I love it,” he praised.

“He’s a very marketable type of guy.

“He’s a loveable guy. He’s just such good fun to be around and a good clubman.

“But there is a line. In terms of what is colour, what is extroversion and what is disrespectful. I was just really, really disappointed that we’ve taken so many steps forward earning respect that we gave a bit back.”

Draper’s teammate Kyle Langford said the off-field spotlight didn’t distract players heading into Saturday’s clash.

“To be honest, there was not a word of it,” he told foxfooty.com.au

“We spoke to him (early in the week). That kind of hit the nail on the head quickly. Absolutely no mention of it since then. Coaches, players, everything. It was dealt with.”

Scott maintained the decision to rest Draper comes after last season’s ongoing knee battle and a want to “break that cycle” in 2024.

“The competition’s on a knife’s edge and you just can’t take players in that aren’t 100 per cent or close to it,” he said.

“I went through this last year with him – we just wanted to break the cycle.”

But even without their big ruck, Essendon still came away with the four points at Optus Stadium in pleasing signs for the Bombers – who now sit just a game and a half back from ladder leaders Sydney and Geelong.

“It’s always a tough challenge coming over here,” Langford said.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy at all. We’ve got a lot to work on but we walk away with the four points.

“It’s a great atmosphere, great crowd. It was awesome. The third quarter they were really coming at us and we were able to stand up.”

Langford even laughed off the feedback he received during a shot for goal in the tense final quarter.

“There was a few West Coast fans that were pretty lippy on that kick,” he said.

“I can’t really repeat what they said. Definitely not PG.

“You can always kind of hear it – at the end of the day you’ve got to go back and kick the goal. That’s all I focus on.

“These things happen in the spur of the moment (the silencing gesture) – you don’t really think about it.

“It’s great to get the crowd involved.”

Originally published as ‘It’s disrespectful’: Essendon coach scorches gun forward

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