FINALS-CHASING Essendon will attempt to avoid the distraction of other round 23 results and hone in on its crunch game against Collingwood.
The Bombers sit eighth and given their game's late Sunday afternoon timeslot could have a finals spot all but locked in before they play, or they still may have everything to play for depending on earlier results.
Essendon is two points behind GWS, who play Carlton and sit ahead of West Coast and Fremantle, who face Brisbane and St Kilda respectively, on percentage.
"It's a really good one for our group to experience," coach Ben Rutten said.
"We understand that this stage of the season there are different kinds of distractions.
"So hopefully the preparation that we've been doing throughout the season about how we continue to stick to the process and stick to our style of play - this is just another opportunity for us to be able to manage that, cope with it and still be able to play our best footy.
"That's kind of the way we're treating it because throughout the whole season that's been our focus, it's about how we can continually refine our game, improve different aspects from week to week.
"That journey doesn't stop now. So that's gonna be our focus, we understand there's going to be some external factors at play.
"But that's going to be the next little sign of maturity out of our group, is to be able to manage those scenarios."
Essendon will meanwhile take a patient approach to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who will miss a second consecutive AFL game.
The Bombers said last week McDonald-Tipungwuti had been struggling outside of football and had been given the opportunity to "reset", which included completing a 10-day heavy training block.
"First and foremost ... (it) was about Anthony's wellbeing as a person - that comes first and foremost, as it does with all our players," Rutten said.
"Anthony won't play in the AFL team this week and we'll just continue to manage him, putting him in the forefront of our decision making so that won't change this week.
"He's going really well, he's getting some really good training in, he's enjoying his time at the club.
"So that's the way we're going to be managing Anthony."
Rutten said McDonald-Tipungwuti could potentially feature in this week's VFL practice match but wouldn't put a timeline on his AFL availability or say whether he would return for a potential final.
McDonald-Tipungwuti booted 34 goals in the first 20 games of 2021.