The prospect of an unlikely AFL finals charge has Essendon's players fired up before their must-win clash with Gold Coast.
The Bombers will attempt to rekindle their faint finals hopes when they take on the Suns at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.
Essendon were one of the form teams of the competition, winning five of six games, before last week's 16-point loss to Collingwood.
Sitting 12th on the ladder with a 7-8 record, Devon Smith concedes there's no margin for error for the Bombers, but there is still hope.
"We've got seven games to go and hopefully a (few) more," Smith told reporters at Melbourne airport on Friday.
"What I do know is that we need to win to try to make finals.
"They're all important from here on."
The Bombers play strugglers the Suns, who are on a 10-game losing slide, then Fremantle before a tough run home which includes four of the current top eight teams.
Their cause wasn't helped by the losses of Jake Stringer (calf) and Patrick Ambrose (hamstring) against the Pies, but Orazio Fantasia will make a welcome return from a groin injury.
Smith will look to continue an impressive debut campaign with Essendon after crossing from GWS in the off-season.
The 25-year-old has played every game this year and leads the AFL in tackles laid (126) having been given more time in the midfield.
"Early in the year I just got on a roll with really," he said of his high tackle numbers.
"I'm probably a barometer for our group (with that) so I put it on my shoulders a bit in our midfield.
"I've been going really well with it ... it's what I rate my game on week to week.
"I think I was a pretty good pressure player at the Giants but I was pigeon-holed as a small forward.
"A new lease on life has really helped."
Despite their run of losses, Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew stuck with the same 22 that lost by 37 pointss to North Melbourne.