Dustin Fletcher
Dustin Fletcher

Essendon chief executive Ian Robson confirmed the club's new $25-million facilities are on track after parading the Bombers' new recruits around the Melbourne Airport construction site on Monday.

The precinct, which includes two ovals - to the dimensions of the MCG and Etihad Stadium respectively - is progressing on time with the squad, including boom recruit Brendon Goddard and father-son selection Joe Daniher, set to start pre-season training there in January.

"The grass is down, we're standing on it and it's been rolled and moved so they'll be (training) out here in the first (day) of January," Robson said.

"The project cost is about $25 million and we've raised about $19 million and we've said from a debt perspective we're comfortable to take that debt on and repay that in the next two to three years."

The Bombers' Flight Plan fundraiser imitative has seen 3000 of their 50,000 members contribute $800,000 to date with the remainder of the funds coming from the federal and state governments, the AFL, Melbourne Airport and coterie groups.

Robson said the upgrade made sense given Windy Hill was no longer 'fit for purpose' and called on more supporters to contribute a further $2 million for next season.

"The scale of the project is what strikes you, it's 100,000 square metres, Windy Hill is 40,000 square metres, so it's two-and-a-half times the size," he said.

"We're mindful that it is a tough economic time, it's Christmas, but we're also mindful about sharing the excitement and vision of the football club and anybody who comes out here and doesn't get impressed by what they see I think is being pretty miserable.

"Next year we've set ourselves a goal to raise $2 million, so we're starting to count down rather than up."

Robson said he was thoroughly impressed by Goddard's seamless transition into the club in a short space of time and expected the former Saint to have an immediate impact for the Bombers.

"It would be fascinating to get a neutral observer to watch the group and work out who's the 'newby' because (of) the way Brendon's seamlessly slipped into the group," he said.

"The fact that he knew guys like Stants (Brent Stanton) and Jobe (Watson) has helped - but he's been fantastic from day one and a real contributor so that's something for our fans to be really excited about."

With the club's much publicised soft-tissue epidemic last season, Robson was pleased to see only one casualty to date in key forward Scott Gumbleton, who suffered a slight hamstring strain last week.

"Other than Scott Gumbleton's hiccup last week everybody was on the track today and I don't think you could say that at the same time last year," Robson said.


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