Hooker s finals promise
Hooker's finals promise

Essendon defender Cale Hooker has declared the Bombers won't be content with simply making the finals this year after the club leapt back into the top eight on Sunday.

The Dons jumped from 10th to seventh after mauling Collingwood by 64 points at the MCG.

It is the first time Essendon have been in the top eight since round four and with five of their next six opponents sitting ninth or below, they have a great chance to consolidate their spot.

Despite technically finishing seventh, the Bombers were banned from the finals by the AFL last year. Hooker said the players were focused on making up for lost opportunities in 2014.

"That's what is driving the whole team," Hooker said.

"We know there are so many twists and turns in a season and we have to keep improving. We don't just want to make finals, we want to have an impact as well.

"I played one final against Adelaide (in 2007) and we got belted so I've been craving to make up for that ever since.

"I missed the next one against Carlton because I was injured and last year hurt a lot so I'm craving to play this year."

Hooker has been in outstanding form all year and kept Collingwood star Travis Cloke goalless on Sunday.

The former East Fremantle back man is a potential All- Australian selection this season.

Hooker, who leads the league in marks taken this year, can count some of the competition's best forwards among his scalps this season.

"I enjoy playing on the best forwards. Sometimes I'm not on the best forwards and play an intercept role," Hooker said.

"But when I am, I try to focus on creating and being an attacking player and not just being purely defensive.

"It's my focus to be attacking on those sort of players.

"I try to put the pressure on my opponent with that sort of stuff and also with the guys around me helping out."

Hooker has been handed extra responsibility this year, including being asked to play a leadership role in defence, which he believes has been invaluable.

With Jake Carlisle and Michael Hurley switching ends of the field and Dustin Fletcher not playing every week, Hooker is now one of the key communicators responsible for making sure the team is set up for opposition attacks.

Hooker had the opportunity to move to West Coast at the end of 2012, but decided to stay a Bomber and said it was the best decision he could have made.

"I love the Bombers, I love all the boys and I'm rapt that I stayed and I want to keep playing for the Bombers," he said.

The West Australian

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