ESSENDON might be the biggest tease in the competition and Saturday night's slender victory over Fremantle in a scrappy affair at Marvel Stadium wouldn't have changed many opinions.
The Bombers are exhilarating at their best but can look very ordinary.
That was the case in the Dockers clash, but winning in a grind and improving their record to 4-5 might have been what Essendon needed as it strives for consistency.
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That's coach John Worsfold's plan anyway.
"Our best footy's ahead of us, there's no doubt about that. We've got to stay focused on that," Worsfold said.
"We're not at the level we want to be at.
"We'll keep working really hard at that and when it comes, it'll come in a real rush and we'll see it.
"We're not far off it. It's a bit like a lot of teams. There's a lot of teams that are winning this year without playing what you'd say is the footy they want to play when we're looking at their absolute best, and we're one of those teams."
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Aiding the Bombers' aim of becoming a premiership hopeful is the glut of mid-tier teams that haven't established themselves as flag contenders.
"I feel like we have a really good grasp of where we sit against the rest of the competition, which is no one knows," Worsfold said.
"It is so open and within a week or two, things are moving all the time.
"There's still a long way to go and we've just got to keep working hard to get to be playing the best footy we can play week in, week out."
Essendon has had a four-game patch which has seen the result decided by more than seven points just once, a 32-point loss to Geelong in round seven.
"We've had three pretty tight, tough games over the past month and we've lost a couple of them (against Collingwood and Sydney)," Worsfold said.
"It's nice to win one that is just a tight armwrestle. I think we'll keep growing from there."
The Bombers have that chance next Saturday night when they come up against 2017 premiers Richmond at the MCG.