How frustrating was that to let the contest slip?
It’s devastating. I thought we were the better team for a long period of time but when it counted at the start and then at the end, they went to another level and we couldn’t deal with that. That’s been a bit of a trend, I would say, when a team brings their best in terms of intensity around the ball, crowd on their side, we just haven’t been able to play our way through that. We need to learn to be better in those moments.

It seemed like you got it on your terms for a while, how do you make sure you capitalise on that?
I thought our ball use forward of centre was sloppy. I thought there were times we should’ve gone long and deep with numbers in there and we tried to stuff around with it and we cost ourselves inside 50s There were times when we shouldn’t have gone long, we should’ve gone short. So that’s decision making. I thought that was the game. Like you said, we dominated. I felt like we dominated large periods of the game, especially the second half of the first quarter and the second quarter, we played the game in our front half. (It was) sloppy work forward of centre in front of goal, sloppy work (with) out of bounds on the fulls, shots on goal that landed short and then points. We ended up with three more scoring shots, a couple of out of bounds on the fulls, a couple that didn’t make the distance and you lose. So it’s your work forward of centre, it’s something we’ve pretty good at I feel and we’ve improved this year, it’s just something that deserted us today.

Is Matt Taberner’s miss in the third quarter an example of what you are talking about there?
Yes. He’s been outstanding, he was outstanding today but we need to take those moments. Footy is about momentum and capitalising on momentum when you have it and it’s trying to hold up under pressure when you don’t have it. They scored when they had it and we couldn’t, so that’s the game. And I thought we had momentum for a lot longer than they did.

06:17 Mins
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Justin Longmuir post match | Round 9 v Essendon Bombers

Watch JL's full press conference after round nine's match against Essendon

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Do you feel you’re far off the top 8?
It doesn’t matter where you are on the ladder… you should win that game, I feel. It shows we’ve got some work to do and like I said before, under pressure, when teams go to another level and the crowd gets up and going we haven’t been able to play our way under that pressure and show the composure under that pressure that we have done at other times. We need to improve and get better and be more consistent as a team.

Is it an on-field leadership thing?
I think it’s an individual thing. Leadership is one part of it but some of it is just getting more games into players, some of it is senior players who need to just show a bit more composure in those moments. I thought we were really panicky, especially in our back half in that last quarter and we need to do better. We need to be able to absorb the opposition’s pressure, whether that’s physical pressure, scoreboard pressure, pressure of the crowd - we need to be able to absorb that a bit better.

What did you make of the Serong v Merrett battle?
I thought he did a pretty good job, I thought it was pretty even. Merrett still had plenty of the ball, I didn’t see his real creative ball use that he can have at his best, so I thought he did a pretty good job.

Was it tactical to shut down Merrett or was it a learning opportunity for Serong?
It was tactical. Clearly he is one of the better mids in the comp and we didn’t want to let him roll around with no pressure on him. He can slice teams and we wanted to shut him out of the game.

Does it help Serong’s evolution as player?
I thought he had his moments with the ball, he probably could have been a bit better with the ball in hand at times but he had his moments. I thought he hunted the loose ball pretty well at the right times. He will find that balance, I didn’t think that was our biggest issue of the day.

Are you looking forward to getting home after a long time on the road?
Yes. It would be nice to go home with the win but we improved on last week and I’ve been really proud of the way the group stuck together and have wanted to learn. We’ve had a fair bit of disruption with injuries especially, to our back half, so we approached the trip away the right way. It's just disappointing we didn’t get the result today.

Do you get any of those injured players back next week?
We’ll be a good chance for Luke Ryan. It’s taken a little bit longer than we would’ve thought but he had a good session yesterday. Alex Pearce is close but he will probably need a couple of games in the reserves at Peel. There’s a few players returning but probably only one next week.

Why was Reece Conca the sub today?
He’s got some areas of his game that he needs to work on.

Match report v Essendon
Cerra's message
Freo's frustration: 'We didn't cash in'

07:34 Mins
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AFL highlights | Rd 9 v Essendon

The Bombers and Dockers clash in round nine

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