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Cooney builds fitness

Simon Conway  January 8, 2016 11:28 AM

Cooney is hoping to return to the main group in the coming weeks.

Cooney is hoping to return to the main group in the coming weeks.

Adam Cooney is confident he still has the speed that made him one of the most dynamic midfielders in the game. 

Hamstring troubles restricted the former Bulldog to 11 games in his first season at the Bombers.

After enduring a restricted pre-season, the Brownlow medal winner is nearing a return to full training after undergoing a procedure on his ankle. 

“I had my ankle done at the end of the season, so I started running about four or five weeks ago,” he told 3AW. 

“I’m hoping to join the main group in the next couple of weeks before the NAB Cup. 

“Last year I had two hammy’s at really disappointing parts in the season for me  - three weeks in and then played for another four or five and then did the other one.

“I’m still moving alright, I’ve still got my pace which is good, hopefully I can keep that for another couple of years.”

Essendon’s list has undergone a significant overhaul in recent months with 13 new players joining the Club as well as a new Coach.

Cooney said there would be some alterations to the game plan under John Worsfold.

“There certainly has been a few changes in the way we structure up,” he said. 

“I think John has publically said that he wants us to score more. 

“I think we’ll be a little bit more attacking in the season to come and there will be some tinkering with our defensive structure as well when the season starts.”

And when the season does commence, Cooney said Essendon's top draft pick Darcy Parish could be a contender for the senior line-up.

The two-time under 18 All-Australian was secured by the Bombers with their first pick in November’s National Draft and Cooney said he has made an immediate impression.

“There has been a few really good pick ups,” he said. 

“You can usually tell one or two first year players when they come in that they’re going to make an impact straight away. 

“I remember Marcus Bontempelli was the one at the Bulldogs a few years ago.  As soon as he walked in the door, you just knew he was going to make an impact straight away and it was a bit like that with Darcy Parish.

“He’s a little bit skinnier and a little bit small but when he’s got the footy in his hands he really uses it well.  I think we’ll see him pretty early on in the season.”