Essendon are piecing together a promising list that looks certain to strike in the coming years and eventually end their winless September run.

With former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott at the helm and a handful of top draft talent still developing, the Bombers could be premiership contenders in an instant.

But their list still has a number of areas that likely require reinforcements before they find themselves back at the top.

In an ideal world, Essendon would swoop on a number of stars to help ascend their place in the competition quicker.

This exercise looks at each club's list needs, names four players that would suit the club's recruitment plan and makes a verdict on who they'd love to 'steal' in a situation where salary caps and contracts didn't have an impact.

List Needs

When assessing the Bombers' squad, a glaring area for needed attention is their attack, with both tall and small forwards perhaps lacking at Tullamarine.

They've managed to retain livewire goalsneak Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti for 2023, but questions over his ability to have an immediate impact in 2023 remain.

Key forward and 2022 Crichton Medal winner Peter Wright enjoyed a breakout campaign in the red and black, booting 53 goals from his 22 appearances. But assistance for the former Sun is needed, with the Bombers' nest high goalkicker, Jake Stringer, booting less than half of Wright's tally, having 25 majors to his name.

That total came from 15 appearances and with Stringer sharing his workload in the midfield, with the premiership Bulldog another key piece for Essendon moving forward.

But where else can we expect the goals to come from? Emerging athletic forward Harrison Jones has struggled with injury and firms as a formidable third forward target option, meaning the Bombers need another tall forward option alongside Wright deep in attack.

Should McDonald-Tipungwuti struggle to rekindle his best form, the Bombers will be without a damaging small forward option, with Nic Martin likely to feature in the midfield or on the wing more often in 2023.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Nic Martin of the Bombers avoids a tackle during the round one AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 19, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

Matt Guelfi (17 goals in 20 games) was Essendon's fourth-best goalkicker in 2022, proving Brad Scott needs another small forward threat should he want to compete toward the top of the competition in the coming years.

Looking further up the field, outside class among Essendon's midfield group might be an area to assess. The Bombers have some promising talent in the aforementioned Martin and Sam Durham, but a third and perhaps leading option to hold their spot on the wing or rotate on a flank might be of interest to the Dons.

Lastly, Essendon have often lacked key defensive power, with the likes of Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker at times shifted between the forward and defensive arcs.

They've uncovered the best out of Jayden Laverde, another forward-turned-defender, while Brandon Zerk-Thatcher showed some promise late into this season.

Jordan Ridley continues to flourish as a versatile backman, while the Bombers might need to play the patient game with top-10 draftee Zach Ried, who continues to battle injuries.

Taking all of the above into consideration, here we assess four dream targets the Bombers could 'steal', and reach a verdict on who Essendon's perfect acquisition would be.



1. Charlie Cameron

Who better to inject pace, power and poise into Essendon's forward third than arguably the best small forward in the competition?

Cameron booted more goals than any other small forward in 2022, amassing 54 majors from 25 appearances to help lead the Lions to a preliminary final finish.

The crafty Brisbane star fits the bill for Bombers fans that have been calling on the club to add to its ground-level ball-winning stocks, with Cameron an elite crumbing forward that has a sharp eye for goal and can also heap pressure on opposition defenders.

At the age of 28, Cameron would still be a key cog in Essendon's side by the time they find themselves in premiership contention with their current list.

The senior small forward would also be a great mentor for the likes of emerging talent Jayden Davey and Anthony Munkara at Tullamarine.