With preparations in full swing for Essendon's season opener against Geelong, midfielder Dylan Shiel says he is "as excited as ever" to see what the emerging Bombers can achieve in 2022.

The Bombers are set to kick off their 2022 campaign in the seventh annual Powercor Country Festival game on Saturday next week at the MCG.

In preparation for his 11th AFL season, and with the club’s full support, Shiel recently underwent a professional leadership course interstate.  

General manager of football Josh Mahoney said the timing was suitable as the club managed Shiel’s recovery from a tight quad in recent weeks.

“We have been continuing to manage Dylan’s program in recent weeks as he makes his recovery from a quad injury. As part of this injury management plan, he was not going to play in our game against St Kilda on Saturday, and we took the opportunity for Dylan to attend a professional development course,” Mahoney said.

“Dylan is an incredibly driven and determined young man, and continued to train away from the club. In our football program we continually promote and support our people - be it players or staff - to get better every day, and this was a good example of providing our individuals these opportunities to do so.”

Shiel said his experience highlighted the club’s care for the playing group and support for holistic development.

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“What the club does really well is help to support us as players to be the best well-rounded individuals we can be, and that extends to our own personal and professional development,” Shiel said.

“I’m as hungry and as excited as ever to take this group forward alongside our leaders including ‘Truck’, Dyson, Zach and Andy, and we’re not putting a ceiling on what we can achieve this year.”

With 180 games next to his name, the star midfielder could line up to play his 200th AFL game against his former GWS teammates at GIANTS Stadium in round 21.