Brad Scott is seen during Essendon's team photo day on February 13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON coach Brad Scott has declared the era of short-term "sugar hits" and unfulfilled promises are over at Tullamarine.

In his second season in charge, Scott is tempering expectations with a supporter base that hasn't experienced one finals victory since 2004.

Scott understands the frustration of the club's fans, who are desperate for the Bombers to return to being a powerhouse they were in the 1980s and 1990s.

>> Win a $70K Toyota in AFL Fantasy! Sign up NOW

But the 47-year-old is not wavering from his plan to set Essendon up for long-term success.

The Bombers appeared to be on track for a top-eight finish last year, but slid badly in the last six rounds, closing the season with heavy defeats to Greater Western Sydney and Collingwood.


"It's really important for our supporters - and our supporters have been fantastic - to clearly delineate between the the understandable frustration between the last 20 years," Scott said on Wednesday.

"Anyone would be frustrated with our lack of finals performances, and anyone would be frustrated with the last 20 years.

"We want to build a really sustainable high performing football club, and that takes time. Supporters I talk to understand that.

"They don't want short-term sugar hits and they don't want unfulfilled promises.

"They want us to build a really stable solid base so that we can be a regular contender against the best teams."

That preach for patience was not helped when Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd suggested fans would "nearly tear down Windy Hill" if the Bombers fail to make finals this year.

Essendon will look into the past for inspiration this Saturday when they celebrate the club's 1984 and 1985 premierships with a clash against Hawthorn at the MCG.

>> Win $25,000 in the official AFL Tipping comp! Sign up NOW

Midfielder Darcy Parish, who re-signed until 2029 at the end of last season, will miss the match with hamstring tightness.

All the Bombers' off-season recruits - Ben McKay, Todd Goldstein, Xavier Duursma and Jade Gresham - are expected to face the Hawks.

Essendon is hoping to draw a crowd of 80,000, which would be the biggest home-and-away attendance for a Bombers-Hawks match on record.

"That period of football through the '80s, there was no bigger rivalry than Essendon and Hawthorn," Scott said. 

"I think the rivalry is real.

"The memories of that era, that was the best football played through the '80s, in my opinion as a kid growing up.

"We'll certainly reference it and reflect on that part of the club's history, but very quickly come back to the job that we got to get done."