Dwayne Russell isn’t writing off Essendon nearing the start of the 2020 season.
It’s been revealed at least 15 Bombers players have undergone surgeries since they were eliminated by West Coast in the first week of last year’s finals.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the fitness of key players and the coaching succession plan, Russell remains "glass half full" on John Worsfold's side.
“I know there’s been changes and leadership changes and people are sceptical at the moment about this coaching handover from John Worsfold to Ben Rutten," Russell told SEN’s Dwayne’s World on Thursday.
“Despite some succession plans failing, I’ve seen it work to. Paul Roos (premiership coach) to John Longmire (premiership coach) at Sydney so it can actually work if you’ve got the right guy taking over.
“Dyson Heppell’s out (of last night's Marsh Series match against West Coast), Cale Hooker’s not playing, Adam Saad's not playing, Jake Stringer as well not playing.
“I’m still glass half full on Essendon. I think they might succeed in 2020.”
The fitness of out-of-contract spearhead Joe Daniher remains a concern as he attempts to overcome a persistent groin injury.
Russell believes a healthy Daniher can give Essendon a big boost when he eventually takes the field for the first time since Round 9 last year.
“It might not end in tears (with Joe Daniher), a lot of people think it will,” he said.
“It might end up working perfectly. Joe might come back fit, he might come back fresh, he might come back a superstar like he was at times before he got injured.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily broken just yet.”
Essendon defeated the Eagles by eight points in their opening Marsh Series match on Thursday night.
Listen to Dwayne Russell’s chat on Essendon on SEN’s Dwayne’s World in the player below