The four premiership points won by Essendon on Sunday could be meaingless but the Bombers are hoping the signal it sent will be worth a whole lot more.
John Worsfold’s side arrived at Etihad Stadium against Gold Coast up for the fight, earning just their second win of the season.
And boy did they celebrate.
Cheer squad members shed tears at the Lloyd end, with Worsfold high-fiving fans on the boundary line.
For three-goal hero Orazio Fantasia, singing the club song was a highlight of his career.
“It was unbelievable,” he told AAP.
“Especially for the guys like Jake Long singing for the first time … there was about five of them, it was amazing.”
Fantasia said he hoped the win would lift the playing group – both this season and for next.
“It boosts our confidence and instills more confidence in our game plan and our structures,” he said.
“If we can keep believing in that we can go really far.”
Fantasia believes that spirit could help bring back the five uncommitted Bombers – including captain-in-exile Jobe Watson, Michael Hurley and Michael Hibberd – in 2017.
“If we put in performances like that, they can see what we’re doing. It has to make a difference,” he said.
“Surely they’re excited about what we’re doing on and off the field.”
Worsfold said he hoped the five players yet to commit wouldn’t need swaying.
“Let’s make the assumption they’re all over the line anyway so we don’t need that help,” he said.
“I’m very confident they know the way we’re positioning this footy club to go forward.
“They’re not sitting back guessing. They’re asking questions and I’m sure they’re getting pretty strong feedback in a positive way.”