While the Bombers failed to win a final yet again, they look to be in good stead to take the next step forward - a step that has been almost 18-years in the making.
The promising team was entertaining to watch and that is sure to continue after adding more youngsters at the National Draft.
Outs: Patrick Ambrose (retired), Ned Cahill (delisted), Dylan Clarke (delisted), Martin Gleeson (delisted), Cale Hooker (retired), Lachlan Johnson (delisted), Irving Mosquito (delisted), David Zaharakis (delisted).
Ideally, the Dons would like to have key defender Michael Hurley in the side.
The veteran missed all of 2021 due to a hip infection but is on track for a return, just not in Round 1.
The back six still sees some handy names, with captain Dyson Heppell running the operation from the defensive half.
Heppell found a new home defence after a dreadful run of injuries, and hasn't looked back.
Ridley was a best and fairest winner in 2020, and last season, the interceptor enjoyed a better year statistically, so things should only be going up.
The off-season also saw former Crow Jake Kelly find his way across the border. The versatile defender will add some depth to the team and some needed experience.
At the present, the Hangar at Tullamarine is loaded with plenty of jets.
Essendon will enter 2022 with its core midfield from 2021.
With the latter's breakout season in 2021, the sky is the limit for the Geelong Falcons prodcut, as he continues his strides towards the competition's elite echelon.
2021 saw usual forward Jake Stringer unleashed in the midfield, where he was a clearance machine, and provided the big body that was necessary at stoppages.
This will be a big boost for the side that only kicked four goals in the final and failed to split the sticks in the second half.
Stringer will feature forward, but with his performances in the centre, it would be smart to rotate him between both positions.
Even after spending a large portion of the season in the centre, the 27-year-old was the club's leading goalkicker with 41 goals.
B: Mason Redman, Jayden Laverde, James Stewart
HB: Dyson Heppell, Jordan Ridley, Nick Hind
C: Nik Cox, Zach Merrett, Kyle Langford
HF: Jake Stringer, Harrison Jones, Archie Perkins
F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Peter Wright, Devon Smith
Foll: Sam Draper, Darcy Parish, Andrew McGrath
I/C: Dylan Shiel, Jake Kelly, Jye Caldwell, Will Snelling