Healthy verbal exchange: Essendon coach

Essendon manager Ben Rutten has dismissed concerns over a verbal clash between two of his star AFL players.

Captain Dyson Heppell and midfielder Darcy Parish had a heated conversation at the quarter of the Bombers’ 16-point loss to Port Adelaide on Sunday.

On the siren, Parish gestured towards teammate Jake Kelly, with skipper Heppell between them.

Parish walked away with his back to his captain as Heppell continued to talk, before the two faced each other and continued their exchange.

Other teammates appeared to join them as Parish continued to walk towards the quarterback group.

Coach Rutten, who said he hadn’t seen the vision, was unfazed.

“I guess it’s about having an honest conversation about how we can improve,” Rutten said.

“That’s definitely what I want to encourage among our guys.

“There’s enough relationship, trust, connection there that I’m really confident that it’s being done the right way and how we can improve and how we can improve.

“It’s important for us to have these conversations.

“It’s problem solving live, in the heat of the moment. That’s what we have to be really good at.”

Parish stood out in the Bombers’ loss with 39 eliminations, while Heppell was also a strong performer with 24 touches.

But their efforts have come in another losing cause for Essendon, which remains in the quagmire in 16th place with two wins and nine losses this season.

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