BUOYANT Essendon coach Ben Rutten does not want the Bombers to dwell on their 17-year drought without a finals victory and has urged his players to write a successful next chapter in the club's long-standing history when they take on the Western Bulldogs next weekend.
The Bombers warmed up nicely for the finals with an impressive 38-point victory over Collingwood on Sunday and will fancy their chances of claiming a first post-season victory since 2004 when they travel to Launceston to take on Luke Beveridge's side.
While Rutten said the Bombers' recent lack of finals success was a part of the club's history that needed to be embraced, he is adamant he wants the next chapter in their history to be a more positive one.
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"That (finals drought) is something that comes with our footy club, but we have also won 16 premierships," Rutten noted.
"That is part of being at the Essendon footy club and part of what our players have really embraced throughout the course of this season is really embracing our history and reconnecting there and bringing a lot of that with us.
"But this next chapter of our history hasn’t been written yet. We are on a journey, we want to achieve something really special and we are committed to doing that."
Rutten said as many as five players that didn't play against the Magpies on Sunday were in the mix to return for the first week of the finals, with unused substitute Nik Cox and veteran swingman Cale Hooker heading the list.
Hooker impressed while playing a scratch match against Greater Western Sydney’s reserves on Sunday, a game which also saw highly-rated onballer Jye Caldwell and livewire forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti feature.
McDonald-Tipungwuti has missed the Bombers' last two matches due to personal reasons and Rutten stopped short of declaring the 28-year-old a certain starter to take on the Bulldogs.
"When I select him (McDonald-Tipungwuti) I want to make sure the environment is good, he is in a good place and he is happy, as that is what is going to make him play his best footy," Rutten said.
"We all know what Anthony can do...it was a great sign that he came and played a full game today.
"There are a whole range of things we have been working on with him over the last couple of weeks.
"He is putting in a mountain of work and getting well supported by our staff and other players, so hopefully we see him out there pretty soon."
Meanwhile, interim Collingwood coach Robert Harvey remains hopeful that he will be considered for the main job on a full-time basis, despite the fact he has led the Magpies to just two wins since taking over from Nathan Buckley in the middle of the season.
It remains a mystery who will be Buckley's successor at the Pies, but Harvey insists he wants to be included in possible suitors for the full-time position.
"I will let the dust settle and then talk to ‘Wrighty’ (Collingwood footy boss Graham Wright) and the powers to be tomorrow," Harvey said.
"I am not sure where all that will sit, but I have learnt a lot in this job and there were some real positives to take out of it."
Harvey believes the future of the Magpies is bright and thinks it won't be long before the club is featuring in September again.
"We have got some positive steps going forward with a good young group," Harvey said.
"We would have liked to have pinched a few more games, but there are some real positives coming through.
"The supporters and the members should be really excited about the future here.
"There is some real excitement in our youngsters and our leaders are really driven to take this place forward."