Bombers' Rutten brushes Brayshaw AFL link

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Essendon coach Ben Rutten has refused to be drawn on the AFL club's pursuit of out-of-contract Melbourne premiership utility Angus Brayshaw.

Rutten and Bombers football boss Josh Mahoney have reportedly met with Brayshaw, who is in the process of weighing up his free agency options.

The 26-year-old has attracted interest from a range of clubs, including Fremantle, where his younger brother Andrew has starred this season.

"We're getting to that stage of the year where every club's looking at different avenues to be able to strengthen and bolster their list and we're no different to that," Rutten told reporters on Friday.

"It's probably not one of those things I want to be commenting on - contracted players at other clubs.

"We're certainly looking to improve our list.

"There's a number of avenues to be able to do that and at the right time we'll talk about that."

Essendon have knocked off four finals contenders in their past five games, setting up an intriguing contest with traditional rivals Collingwood at the MCG on Sunday.

But the strong run of form has come off the back of a tumultuous start to the season, which cruelled the Bombers' hopes of a second successive finals appearance.

"It's just part of the journey of us getting better," Rutten said.

"I've said it a few times, we're a developing squad and we're continuing to evolve and learn.

"We're not the finished product.

"We're continuing to evolve and I think that's just part of our journey and part of us getting to where we are now is probably on the back of a few of those experiences as well."

Essendon (6-11) won their previous three meetings with Collingwood (12-5) before an 11-point defeat on Anzac Day and would love to put a dent in their traditional rivals' top-four hopes.

The Magpies are on an eight-match winning streak, including six victories by margins of less than two goals.

"It's a game we're really looking forward to," Rutten said.

"Collingwood are on a really good run of form and we lost to them earlier on in the season.

"It's always a huge game against Collingwood at the MCG."

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