Jayden Laverde has fully re-integrated back into main training. (Photo: Essendon FC)

Two of Essendon’s key defensive pillars have hit the ground running for the 2024 pre-season. 

Backs Jordan Ridley and Jayden Laverde have slotted into full training after completing successful recoveries from respective quad and thumb injuries.

Essendon fans will be excited to see young key defender Zach Reid bolstering the Bombers’ defensive training stocks, with the former pick No.10 enjoying a full run at pre-season after overcoming back and a hamstring injury last season.

Zach Reid is in full flight this pre-season. (Photo: Essendon FC)

After also recovering from a back stress fracture and ankle reconstruction, forward Harrison Jones has enjoyed a return to modified training with the 22-year-old expected to enter full training in the next week. Similarly, utility Nik Cox is enjoying a carefully monitored build into pre-season as he strengthens the ankle joint that troubled him for much of last season. The former pick No.8 is progressing through a strong running block, and has begun a gradual integration into training. 

Forwards Jake Stringer (foot) and Peter Wright (foot) and new recruits Ben McKay (knee) and Xavier Duursma (hip) are all currently on modified running programs and will re-join main training in the coming weeks. 

Ruckman Sam Draper is continuing his rehabilitation from off-season groin surgery and targeting a return to full training in January.

Speaking to Triple M on Monday, Draper said he’s putting “a lot of time into his body” as he aims to build into having an uninterrupted 2024.  

After undergoing post-season foot and knee surgery, midfielder Dylan Shiel is tracking towards a return to full training in late February.  

Ruckman Nick Bryan is continuing his recovery from a thumb injury while on a modified training program, with the 203cm tall to return to full training before Christmas.  

Key position tall Sam Weideman will re-join main training in January as he recovers from an achilles problem that flared at the backend of last season. 

Young forward Tex Wanganeen underwent an operation on a navicular injury in his foot at the end of the 2023 season and is progressing well with his conservative rehabilitation program. The 20-year-old in the early stages of a long rehab program, with the view for Wanganeen to commence running in mid-December, before reintegrating into training in February.