COACH Ben Rutten says Essendon will embrace the challenge of taking on the AFL's benchmark team when it faces Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

The Bombers have enjoyed a resurgence under Rutten and sit 10th with a 6-7 record.

But there are few bigger tests right now than Melbourne, which sits outright top of the ladder ahead of Saturday night's clash.

"(It's) an opportunity to play the benchmark team in the competition," Rutten said.

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"They've been playing some really good footy for the whole season so it's going to be a good opportunity for us.

"I'm not sure what (such a big scalp would mean for us) but it's certainly something that we're really keen to do.

"We haven't beaten a top two (or) top four team yet this season.

"... The guys are building some belief and confidence in our game and it'd be fantastic to really take it up to Melbourne this week."

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The Bombers will be able to draw on lessons from their round 12 loss to Richmond, where they went toe-to-toe with the reigning premiers before the Tigers kicked away late.

Rutten was confident Essendon could "match it" with top teams but said it needed to become more consistent throughout games, and he was measured on his team's hopes of playing finals.

"Every team's trying to make finals and we're no different," he said.

"But the most important thing ... at the moment is we're trying to build a really reliable brand of footy. We don't want to make finals - we want to get in there and win them.

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"That's what we're using these rounds for, is to keep refining our game, building some confidence, getting some experience into some guys.

"That's what we're focusing on at the moment and this week, what we've got coming up against Melbourne is a taste of what we're going to need to compete with these top teams."

Melbourne will welcome back vice-captain Jack Viney and has dropped Sam Weideman, while the Bombers regain Alec Waterman, with Ned Cahill making way.