‘Get upstairs’: Bombers coach slammed for standing idle during bench stint

Essendon coach Ben Rutten has been criticised for remaining idle while coaching from the interchange bench on Saturday night.

Despite leading by as much as 40-points during the second quarter, the Bombers ended as the losing team after a miraculous Hawthorn fightback.

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Both David King and Leigh Montagna questioned Rutten’s move to sit on the interchange bench and watch the game, rather than being a vocal figure around his players.

AFL: On the First Crack, David King criticises and questions what Essendon coach Ben Rutten was doing on the bench during their loss to Hawthorn….

AFL: On the First Crack, David King criticises and questions what Essendon coach Ben Rutten was doing on the bench during their loss to Hawthorn.

“It’s not the performance. The game was the game. They set up a fantastic lead and this is more specific to the sellers of who you are as a football club and who you are as a coach. I call him Benny Idle,” David King said on Fox Footy’s First Crack.

“He sat there and watched the game, he had the best seat in the house, he was a spectator for 40 minutes of footy when the game was sliding.

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“Clearly (Tom) Mitchell out of control, they led by 40 points. You go to the bench for a reason, to reinforced behaviour, to encourage, to look players in the eye and eyeball them. I didn’t see him do any of that, I just saw him sitting there and watching the game.

“What is the point of being there? I just don’t understand it.”

Ben Rutten coach from the bench on Saturday.Source:Getty Images

King compared Rutten’s work to that of Sydney coach John Longmire or Brisbane’s Chris Fagan, with the pair renowned for their energy at ground level.

“The Hawks kicked seven goals in a row. There was no great movement, there was no urgency, there was no shift,” he added.

“Coaches that go to the bench go there to get something out of the individual. I see John Longmire down there, Chris Fagan down there. Really encouraging, really demanding.

“You can see they are invest in the game. This is as much the sell as anything. The fans are saying Ben do something.”

Montagna explained he was surprised Rutten hadn’t read the room given fans were against John Worsfold for sitting at ground level as the senior coach in 2020.

“Surely he would’ve heard the noise last year about a lot of Essendon fans critical of John Worsfold for sitting on the bench?” Montagna said.

Ben Rutten looks dejected as the Bombers leave the field. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Ben Rutten addresses his players. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

“Not showing any emotion or really communicating with his players, standing up and yelling out to players on the field. Seeing Ben Rutten do that Round 1, particularly to concede eight goals to one in the third quarter, I was surprised by it.

“How are you controlling the game? How are you actually able to see what is happening clearly to be able to make some moves to stop it, like Tom Mitchell or like the run on that Hawthorn got in the third quarter at ground level?

“You cannot see it at ground level, so he’s relying on his assistant coach. Yet it is his first game in charge. I thought it was a strange look and something we will have to keep an eye on.

“You’re either upstairs or talking to the players every time on the bench and getting up being vocal. It was neither of those.”

King called on the Bombers to urgently make the change ahead of Round 2.

“If I was Ben Rutten I’d get off the bench. If you need to be that calm and watching the game, you’re not helping the players,” he said.

“Get upstairs.”

Originally published asUnder-fire AFL coach told to ‘get upstairs’

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