Banishing the ghosts of seasons past, Essendon midfielder Brent Stanton says the come-from-behind win over Carlton has re-energised the Bombers and shown their maturity.
Heading into last Friday night's clash, the Bombers had won just nine of 28 matches from June onwards since James Hird took charge in 2011.
While Stanton said the Bombers had not mentioned their fade-outs in the second half of seasons, supporter fears were emerging after losing three of their previous four matches heading into the Blues match. That concern rose when the Bombers fell 31 points behind midway through the third term, but Stanton says the fightback highlighted how his team has matured and can better handle adversity.
''I think what the game meant to this football club, the history of 140 years - what you want to do while you are at this football club is create something special,'' he said.
''I feel this group is going somewhere and we are maturing very quickly.
''I just think you want to represent the football club to the best of your ability. That was the focus we went into the game with.
''I suppose it does kickstart [the season]. It was one of those games that you can get to the middle of the season and take your foot off the pedal, but this game has revitalised us and really got us going again.''
The win was the Bombers' eighth of the season, meaning, if last year is any guide, they will need just six more to secure a spot in the finals.
That quest begins against the improving and more settled Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, a team which also responded from a sluggish start to dismantle North Melbourne.
''We didn't play the style of football we wanted to but probably the most impressive thing is we came away with the result,'' Stanton said.
Stanton said he was impressed with debutant forward-ruckman Joe Daniher, who showed it shouldn't take too long for him to feel comfortable at the elite level, particularly once he has the strength to hold position in a contest. ''He is a very level-headed kid and he worked really hard,'' Stanton said.
''That's the most impressive thing, he puts himself in the game. If you keep doing that, you are going to get the ball more often than not.''
Daniher's elevation has added to the squeeze facing the Bombers' talls. Ruckman David Hille, in his first game since an overseas trip, impressed in the VFL, while Tom Bellchambers and Scott Gumbleton will push for selection.