ESSENDON forward Peter Wright says the Bombers will draw on the belief created by their brilliant upset victory over the Western Bulldogs as they attempt to charge into the finals.
Wright kicked a career-best seven goals as the Bombers reinvigorated their top-eight hopes on Sunday with their first win over a contender this season - having previously fallen short against Melbourne and Geelong.
The Bombers are just two points outside the eight with games against 14th-placed Gold Coast and 16th-placed Collingwood to come.
"To take it up to the Bulldogs, who were on top of the ladder, shows that our best football is capable," Wright said.
"I think we need results to fall our way but we want to be playing our best football for the next couple weeks and that's just consistent, four-quarter performances.
"If we do that we definitely know that we can take it up to anyone, and can beat anyone on our day."
Essendon was widely tipped to struggle this season after a difficult 2020 - as its John Worsfold-Ben Rutten succession plan stuttered and Joe Daniher, Adam Saad and Orazio Fantasia all departed.
But its list turnover has proved rejuvenating and delivered nine wins - and a genuine shot at making finals.
"This year we didn't know what to expect out of ourselves - I think we've been growing across the course of the year," Wright said.
"We've loved our journey so far with definitely some hurdles along the way but just trying to work towards playing our best football.
"I think winning these next two games would be great reward for effort because we feel like we've definitely played good enough football at times.
"Looking forward to finals - we're definitely not looking that far ahead at the moment, we're looking forward to just this weekend, first and foremost.
"We need to make sure we take care of what we can control - and that's getting a win."
WHO'S CALLED IT QUITS 2021's retirements and delistings
Wright will face Gold Coast for the first time since he was traded to the Bombers for a future fourth-round pick last year, after failing to play an AFL game for the Suns in 2020.
He has played 18 of 20 games this season, booting 25 goals while also averaging 10.3 hitouts and 4.3 marks, and credited Essendon's coaching staff with building his confidence and belief he could have a big impact at AFL level.
Meanwhile, defender Patrick Ambrose has retired after 88 games after injuries limited the 29-year-old to just one AFL game over the past two years.