ESSENDON stand-in coach Blake Caracella has praised his team's tenacity, conceding a few Bombers played under duress in Sunday's crunch clash against Adelaide.

After three consecutive losses to start the season, the Bombers registered a vital four-point win against a gallant Adelaide outfit that pressed them right to the wire.

In addition to being without coach Ben Rutten due to health and safety protocols, Caracella said some of the players had been ill during the week.

"We lost 'Truck' (Rutten) this week and (Jake) Stringer and (James) Stewart and (Tom) Cutler (due to injury) and we've got a few other players out also," Caracella said.

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"Today, a few of the players were cramping; we've had a bit of the flu go through the club as well. Three or four players were a bit dicey on playing. It was a really great effort, the boys, to dig in late, when it looked like it could go either way, to hang in there and win the game."

Caracella said the playing group hadn't lost faith, despite losses to Geelong, Brisbane and Melbourne.

"It (the win) gives the players a lot of confidence, not to say we… you know, we played some good teams in the first three games, top four teams," he said.

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"Last time we played here, against Brisbane, we played really well and pushed them to the finish, and the same against Melbourne last week; I think we were 10 points down with 10 seven minutes to go in the game.

"Four games down, we're 1-3, but we've played some good footy throughout the most part of the season."

Caracella, who admitted to being "excited before the game, but once I got to the game it was business as usual", said the injured Will Snelling, who was subbed off before half-time, is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks.

"I actually don't know if it's the same calf, but it was a calf injury," said Caracella.

"He's an integral part of our team and were going to miss him a lot. He'll be out for a short period."

Snelling missed the first three games after straining a calf in the lead-up to round one.

Meanwhile, Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks lamented his side's inability to get the game on its terms.

"There was a few things we didn't get right in the first half … stoppage, they were hurting us, killing us out of there, spitting forward, and we didn't get that done well. It took us until half-time, unfortunately, to change it; that's our challenge at the moment, to be able to do it in the moment," Nicks explained.

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"We allowed them to play the game, their game, really. We just saw Essendon playing in a game of footy that they love to play in … fast, up and back, we allowed the corridor."

Nicks praised former captain Taylor Walker, who returned from a six-week AFL sanction for racial abuse with four goals.

"I think he's really important to our group, he straightens us up, his experience he brings ahead of the ball … he helps those younger guys that are down there playing around him," said Nicks.

"I think it took him a little bit to settle into the game, as you'd expect, not being able to get too much of a hitout coming in, but I thought once he did settle, he adds a lot to us.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Taylor Walker of the Crows celebrates a goal during the 2022 AFL Round 04 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Adelaide Crows at Marvel Stadium on April 10, 2022 In Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

"So, yeah, it's nice to have him back in the side."

Nicks said Walker has learnt his lesson and is helping drive standards at the club.

"He's done a load of work, to work on being a better person, as we all are. And I've talked through that as a footy club; we're doing what we can to educate ourselves and others, and Taylor's been the leader in that," said Nicks.

"Today, it was great to see him back out there for our group. He's an important leader ahead of the ball, it was a real bonus for us."