Utility Matt Guelfi has high praise for Essendon’s young side ahead of the 2023 season.

With a new senior coach, additional development coaches and new teammates the Bombers have embraced change this pre-season.

Guelfi says the team has already had a positive start to the pre-season and is excited for what is to come.

“It’s obviously been a very different pre-season, we’ve had young boys comes in, and I think everyone is trying to push for their spot for round one,” Guelfi said.

“It’s been very competitive and exciting, it’s exactly what I like.”


After a year of learning, new senior coach Brad Scott has introduced a host of core focuses ahead of round one.

Coming off a career-best season, placing third in the Crichton Medal, the 25-year-old says Scott has introduced a wealth of new knowledge to support improvement.

“Last year definitely wasn’t the best year, but we took some positives out of it, got games into young boys,” Guelfi said.

“Brad’s main focus from the start has been on defence, for me it’s been chase pressure, I know I can bring that, it’s just an effort and mindset thing.

“So with that extra defence added, I think we’re going to be very exciting this year, taking the game on a bit more.”

Coming into week six of pre-season training, Guelfi says the draftees are slotting in nicely.

“The new draftees have come in with the right mindset, that’s all we ask of them,” Guelfi said.

“They’re going to make mistakes, so that’s what I try and tell the young boys, don’t be nervous, just have a crack and you’ll get the respect.”

With practice games only a month away, Guelfi has been impressed with the increased intensity and drive displayed by his teammates in the pre-season.

“This is the best form I’ve ever seen the group in, we always come back in good nick, but you can tell this year there’s a bit of anger and fire in the belly, so the boys are excited,” Guelfi said.

“They’ve all got their summer rigs, everyone’s looking shredded, it’s exciting.”