Essendon captain Dyson Heppell has lashed critics of the smiling Bombers, saying he will remain positive through the good times and the bad.
The Bombers produced a memorable win against-the-odds on Saturday night, coming from behind to defeat Hawthorn despite illness striking down a number of players ahead of the match.
In a post-game interview, Heppell told the club's critics to "jam it" as Essendon kept its season alive by moving to 2-6.
Speaking on Tuesday ahead of his 200th game, the 29-year-old addressed the situation further.
St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt was one commentator critical of how the Bombers had handled their disappointing start to 2022, arguing having fun at training was the "worst thing" a club in trouble can do.
"I heard it (the criticism) second-hand, I didn’t see much of it, but people send a couple of things through," Heppell said.
"Genuine carry-on from a lot of people – are you going to tell your kids or wife to stop smiling because they have a bad day at work?
"I’m always an optimistic, positive type of bloke and I’m always going to come in as my authentic self and that’s enjoying my time here and celebrating my teammates, whether that’s in a win or a loss.
"You still get around teammates, you celebrate them and try to enjoy this environment and bounce back out of it."
Jordan Ridley, Jake Kelly, Matt Guelfi, Alec Waterman and Sam Durham were all forced late changes against Hawthorn but Heppell is hopeful the illness had not spread further through the club.
Ruckman Sam Draper also admitted he was in doubt to face the Hawks and was not feeling his best during the contest.
"I think we're holding pretty tight at the moment, a few of those boys went down last week but we've got them back amongst the club now," Heppell said.
"They'll try to blow a bit of steam out in the first couple of sessions early in the week but that should be right to go (against Sydney at the SCG on Saturday night)."