It seems like only last year when we were writing of the travails of the unfortunate Essendon Bombers.

Well, it seems that way because that is the way it was.

Yet, in the hope-springs-eternal world of sports, the tune coming out of the Dons’ training ground of late is decidedly more chipper than the one they were singing when they had to endure the 2016 AFL season with a list of top-up players that could not come close to filling the void by the list of suspended players that spent the year on the outside looking in.

Things are on the upswing for the Bombers, as up seems to be the only direction things could swing for them.

They made the finals in the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership competition. Although they did not advance, simply being in the finals was a vast advance from the previous year, winning 12 games to make it into the top eight on rung number seven.

The Dons recently locked up former top draft pick Andrew McGrath to a new deal that will keep him in the Bombers’ bay through the end of 2020. He was the AFL’s Rising Star award winner following this season and he should have some productive footy in his future.

“My intentions were always to stay at Essendon and to now announce that officially is something I am proud of,” McGrath said in a statement. “I want to help lead the young boys and show them the ropes first and foremost.”

That classic example of footy-speak was followed by more, but we could not help but wonder at the words of a 19-year old, from, of all places, Canada, expressing a desire to show the ropes to young boys.

When we were 19, we still did not know that ropes even existed and we were hoping for someone to show us the strings.

At any rate, good fortune to McGrath and the Bombers as they look to continue their resurrection in 2018.