Essendon Assistant Coach Fighting Cancer

Ben H / 14 June 2023

Essendon assistant Dale Tapping, who was diagnosed with blood cancer in March this year, is taking a break from the sport to focus on managing the disease. Despite being diagnosed with Myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, Tapping continued to work with Essendon’s forwards up until recently, as he responded well to the initial treatment.

However, Essendon said in a statement that the forwards’ coach has now decided to step away from his coaching role so that he can “focus fully on his health over the coming months.” The club and general manager Josh Mahoney have given Tapping their full backing, telling the coach they would support him throughout the entire process.

Cam Roberts and Daniel McPherson Will Cover Tapping’s Role

Mahoney confirmed that Tapping had been getting weekly treatment which allowed the coach to continue working with the team for the first half of the season. However, as Tipping was now starting a new phase of his cancer treatment, he would need all his energy on a different front, so he was stepping away from his duties for the time being.

The Bombers football manager expressed the club’s full support for Dale and his family and said they were hoping that the new treatment would result in similar “positive progressions” to those made to date.

Cameron Roberts will take over from Tapping and will coach Essendon’s forwards, but will continue to head the development program. The club added that Head of Performance Daniel McPherson will work with other coaches to cover Tapping’s role. Essendon’s development coaching and performance analysis departments will handle any “other components” of his duties.

Telling His Children Was the Hardest

Back in March, when he was diagnosed with the cancer that affects his white blood cells, Tapping said that the hardest part of the diagnosis was informing his two children about it. The coach claimed conversations with left-out and disgruntled players were “a walk in the park” compared to what he went through when he spoke to his son and daughter after being diagnosed with Myeloma.

Tipping said that was his hardest conversation with his children, especially as he didn’t know much about the disease and what to expect himself. After talking to his 14-year-old son, Tipping said he was quiet for about three hours, while his 17-year-old daughter “was all over it” and was much more emotional. However, Tipping was glad he had that conversation, as he would have been heartbroken if his kids found out about the disease from someone else.

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Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and four children's books... [Read full bio]

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