Short break no problem for Dons, says Fantasia

6c240b48a572baaf2f0a1b7c9343912aFAST-RISING forward Orazio Fantasia refuses to blame the quick turnaround between games for Essendon’s last-start defeat to Melbourne as the Bombers prepare to cross the Nullarbor.

Both Essendon and Collingwood had to back up last week to face the Demons and Geelong respectively, just five days after playing on Anzac Day.

The Magpies upset the Cats by 29 points, but coach Nathan Buckley criticised the AFL’s scheduling.

Fantasia’s Bombers were unable to match that feat and now must lock horns with Fremantle in Perth in three days’ time.

Coach John Worsfold bulk rested players both last Sunday and this weekend, with former captain Jobe Watson, 2016 No.1 draft pick Andrew McGrath and rookie Ben McNiece the latest three.

“A few of the guys will have a rest this week, but to say the five-day break cost us against Melbourne isn’t true,” Fantasia said on the Marngrook Footy Show on Thursday night.

“Because you look at Collingwood and they came out and smashed Geelong.

“We just didn’t play very well and turned over the footy in crucial areas … it was a little bit of pinball up and back the whole day – that was more the point.”

Fantasia, 21, was one of Essendon’s breakout success stories last year as the club played without many of its biggest stars in the fallout from the supplements saga.

His 29-goal season announced him as a player to watch and he has kicked 16 goals in just six matches in 2017, including three bags of four or more.

Fantasia said the Bombers’ chance to pick at No.1 in last year’s draft for the first time in the club’s history was not the only positive after a tough campaign.

“I think (getting extra games last season was) very important for guys like myself and ‘Walla’ (Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti) and Darce (Parish),” he said.

“Guys like Zach (Merrett) and Joe (Daniher) had already played a fair bit before.

“But just that experience – playing more games, the more confident you feel and you feel like you can play that level, so it was important.”

Fantasia defended fellow forward Daniher’s wayward goalkicking against Melbourne, where he finished with 1.6 and another out on the full.

“I wouldn’t say he was terrible; he took about 10 marks and played really well,” he said of Daniher.

“If he kicks five goals, then the game turns around, (but) Joey’s got his routine and he works pretty hard during the week on that.

“He probably has an extra 50 to 100 shots more than anyone else, so he’s working extremely hard.

“Everyone just wants him to keep having those shots … if we go into our shell and don’t take those shots, that’s when we get more frustrated at each other.”