ESSENDON’S horror start to the season has claimed its first casualty, with Bombers assistant coach Mark Neeld quitting his post.

The 46-year-old has worked closely alongside senior coach John Worsfold as Essendon’s game performance coach, devising their game plan and strategy.

The Dons were in discussions with Neeld over a potential restructure of the coaching department and he tendered his resignation. His role will not be replaced.

“This was a decision Mark has been reflecting on for some weeks, and following discussions regarding the potential restructure of the coaching department, Mark felt it was the right time to step aside and explore a new chapter in his career,” said Essendon football manager Dan Richardson.

MARK Neeld has resigned as Essendon’s game performance coach.

“This is an opportunity for John and the performance coaches to create greater clarity and alignment in the brand of football we want to play.”

“We also believe this is an opportunity for our coaches to develop, be more empowered in the roles and have greater input into the strategic direction of the team.”

Touted as a top-four contender following the off-season acquisition of big names in Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Adam Saad, Essendon have failed to deliver on expectations so far in 2018, beginning their 2018 campaign with just two wins from eight starts, leading to questions being raised about their game style, particularly after the 13-point loss to previously winless Carlton at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Saturday.

Neeld was an assistant coach at Collingwood between 2008 and 2011 before a forgetful two-year stint as coach of Melbourne. In between departing the Demons and joining Essendon, Neeld was talent manager at TAC club Eastern Ranges.

He looks set to move away from the football industry after his departure from the Bombers.

“After discussions with the club, including the potential restructure of the coaching group, I felt now was the right time to move on,” Neeld said.

“I feel this decision is in the best interests of the club and for myself and my family.”

“I’m currently completing my Masters of Business Administration and will look at pursuing a career pathway in management.”

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