Senior coach Ben Rutten says his players have developed a stronger emotional connection to the club by better embracing its past.
Rutten, Essendon's 33rd coach, has been deeply invested in learning about the club's proud history since taking over from predecessor John Worsfold at the end of last season.
And it's a journey he's taken the players on with him.
"I understand I’m in a privileged position at the footy club, and it’s important I understand its history, heritage and the great people who have forged the identity of the Essendon Football Club," Rutten told SEN 1116 on Monday.
"It’s important our guys understand who they’re representing when they put the Essendon jumper on. We’ve spent a fair bit of time on that. It’s building a much stronger emotional connection to the footy club. We have to understand that putting the Essendon jumper on comes with a bit of responsibility, and I think our players are really embracing that and are proud of it.
"It’s certainly something I thought some of our guys didn’t really understand. Bringing in 10 or 12 new players into our footy club, I thought the opportunity was right to be able to spend some time on that, get a deeper understanding of who we are and what we stand for, and what it means to put the guernsey on."
With less than a month until their season opener against Hawthorn, the Bombers will be striving to delight a home crowd at Marvel Stadium on March 20.
Reflecting on his side's preparation at the pointy end of pre-season, Rutten said he wouldn't put any limits on what his charges could achieve this season.
Setting the tone for 2021.— Essendon FC (@essendonfc) February 1, 2021
"The harmony and cohesion within our group is fantastic. We’re enjoying being back at The Hangar and training together again. We missed that throughout the season last year, perhaps more than we thought at the time," he said.
"I think there’s so much growth in our group individually but also as a team, and we’ve been seeing that throughout summer.
"I really couldn’t tell you where we'll finish at the end of the season, and that’s a really exciting thing for me, and should be a really exciting thing for our members and supporters.
"I don’t want to put any ceilings on our playing group and what they can achieve this season."