Essendon players have welcomed a stronger direction under new coach Brad Scott as they attempt to move on from a turbulent off-season and escape the AFL doldrums.
Coach Ben Rutten lost his job after last season's 15th-placed finish, while the Bombers had significant board upheaval before appointing experienced mentor Scott.
Meanwhile, an external review found Essendon's football department has lacked unity and their players haven't been fit enough.
Midfielder Archie Perkins played down talk of a particularly demanding pre-season but said Scott was setting much-needed high standards.
"He's made sure that everyone's in the mindset that we're ready to get here and get stuck in and work hard," Perkins told reporters on Monday.
"He's going to drive some really strong standards, which I think we need as a group. So everyone's ready for that. That's what we need as a group, to be honest.
"So at times, we might have felt we weren't sure what direction we were heading in. But now, Brad's been really clear that it's going to be a lot of focus on development and it's going to be a really strong pathway to follow."
Only first-to-fourth year players were required at Monday's training but most senior Bombers were on hand, including Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett, Andrew McGrath, Darcy Parish and Jake Stringer.
Perkins insisted Essendon didn't have a point to prove but revealed players had been driving unofficial sessions at Tullamarine.
"You always want to start well, but I don't think we're going to have the mentality of going out there to prove people wrong," he said.
"We're just gonna get out there and train hard this pre-season and then get what we deserve.
"There's a big turnout here and there's been a big turnout at some trainings for the last month.
"With the new coach and all the change, a lot of the senior boys have been keen to get stuck in."
Recruits Sam Weideman and Will Setterfield were joined by Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, back from his short-lived retirement.
"It was pretty upsetting when he left. He's such a lovable guy," Perkins said.
"So to see him come back, I think we're all excited to see what he can do."
Mid-season draft sensation Massimo D'Ambrosio welcomed his first AFL pre-season.
"Heading into the back end of games, especially at AFL level, I felt a bit unfit," he said.
"So I think a full pre-season will get me going and hopefully I'll play a few more games next year."