Newly re-signed star Jake Stringer says he's never been more invested in the growth of the Bombers' young brigade.
The electric forward inked a new three year-three deal on Wednesday to tie him to the club until at least the end of 2024.
The 27-year-old said his future at Essendon was never in doubt.
“It was pretty smooth (the process of re-signing). I wasn’t too keen on going anywhere else that’s for sure. (The bag) has been filled up enough to keep me happy,” Stringer told SEN 1116 on Thursday.
“It’s very exciting to be here for another three years. I’m really happy with where I’m at, at the footy club. They know how invested I am. And I’d do anything to help the boys if they need it.
“I obviously want this club to get back to its glory days and have that success and I’m now a big part of driving that. Hopefully in the next three years we can get ourselves in that position that we’re challenging the top teams. At the minute, we’re doing an OK job of that, but we know there’s a lot of work to be done because we still can’t quite get over the hump of beating those good teams just yet.”
Stringer has been in career-best form since round 14, averaging 24 disposals and booting 16 goals with more time in midfield.
He dismissed claims that he had been playing for a contract recently, saying the energy he'd gained from the progress of his young teammates had been the driving force behind his form.
“I didn’t really think about it (contract) too much," he said.
"I was just really energised by the young group that we have and obviously playing a bit of a different role (this season) has been keeping me on my toes. So, I’m really enjoying it and learning each week and loving every bit of it."
With the absences of injured midfielders Dylan Shiel, Jye Caldwell and more recently Kyle Langford and Andrew McGrath, Stringer has stepped up to fill the void in midfield in the latter half of the season.
He credited assistant coach Blake Caracella and senior coach Ben Rutten for the successful shift.
“(The move) actually happened last year in the hub. Blake Caracella challenged me to have a big pre-season. He said I should be having a run around in the midfield so I sort of took it from there and I said to myself ‘Alright, it’s in my own hands if I want to play in the midfield and I have to get to work’," he said.
"So I had a massive pre-season and I’m obviously getting the rewards now off a big pre-season and the rest has sort of been history from there.
“I just never really thought about playing as a mid, I was happy playing forward. It would’ve been nice to not play as a key forward over the last couple of years, but circumstances didn’t allow that.
“But it wasn’t until Blake said to me that if I can get myself in good shape, I’ll get a run through there. That’s when I was like, 'I need to be more aerobic and powerful as a mid and that’s what I went to work on'.”