Defender Dyson Heppell is ready to attack a challenging string of fixtures for Essendon in the coming weeks. 

The Bombers veteran is enjoying a purple patch of form in a flourishing defensive unit for the Dons, averaging 22 disposals over his previous five games. 

Speaking to the media at Marley’s One Tree Planted Afternoon on Monday, Heppell said the group is ready to prove their credentials coming off the bye round.


“(We have) some good games coming up, these are the ones you want to play in. You want to test yourselves against the best, and it’ll be a really telling part of the year to see where we stack up amongst the competition,” Heppell said. 

“I think the guys have had a really good little breather and made sure we put in the work on the track as well, so (we) don’t come out sluggish.” 

Heppell, who turned 31 in May, signed a one-year deal last September to keep himself at the club through to the end of 2023. 

Although Heppell admits he hasn’t given too much thought into what next year might hold, he would still be keen to play on if both parties were interested. 

“It’ll be in collaboration with the club. If I’m a wanted player and I want to go on again, happy days,” Heppell said. 

“I’ll make a call towards the back end of the year, seeing how we’re tracking as a team and individually, and if I’m still loving my footy, I don’t see any reason why I won’t play on.” 


Asked whether the team’s form would play a role in his decision, Heppell agreed he was motivated by the direction of the young squad. 

“If the club’s in a really strong position and my form personally is still stacking up to play quality AFL footy, it certainly gives you more motivation to tick them over again,” Heppell said. 

Heppell’s Bombers have already surpassed their total win tally from 2022 in just 13 games this season, with the team looking refreshed under new Senior Coach Brad Scott. 

The change in personnel and a renewed energy amongst its younger players has created a positive vibe at the club, according to Heppell. 

“You’ve seen over the years that things turn very quickly, sometimes change can be a breath of fresh air and it’s been a fun year,” Heppell said.

“We’ve got a core group of young guys that have been fantastic and the development of a lot of them throughout the course of this year has been super, it gives me energy coming into the club each day with what they bring.” 

The Dons’ first post-bye task comes in the form of Fremantle at Optus Stadium this Saturday night, seeking to secure a fifth consecutive victory on the year. 

With the Dockers looking to bounce back from their tough loss to GWS, Heppell is aware that his side needs to be prepared for a competitive start. 

“No doubt they’ll certainly be ready to bounce back after that loss. (It was a) tough trip for them heading over to GWS, and we’ve got to rock up and be ready for them,” Heppell said. 

“(We’re) looking forward to getting over to Perth and attacking Freo.”