Brent Stanton says he’s open to playing a different role in 2017.

The Bombers veteran has made his name as a midfielder throughout his 248 game career, but spending more time across half-back or half-forward could be on the cards.

“I’ve certainly tried a few different roles over the pre-season, and I think every player has,” Stanton told SEN.

“That’s being able to adapt to the game with reduced rotations now – a lot of different players are going to have to play a lot of different spots, whether that’s rotations through half back or half forward.

“It’s just a matter of being able to keep yourself out there and engaged in different positions to help the team.” 

Stanton is Essendon’s third greatest disposal winner ever, behind Tim Watson and Dustin Fletcher.

A strong season could see him top that list by the year’s end.

“I’m feeling pretty good at the moment, the body is holding up pretty well," he said.

“There is going to be a few challenges along the way in terms of getting back into full training day after day – we trained throughout the year (2016) but it’s a whole different ball game when you’ve got to back up each day.

“Ten years ago pre-season was all about running and fitness, now it’s all about football and body combat – so we’re feeling pretty good at the moment that we’re up to scratch in that area.”

Stanton's durability has been a feature throughout his career.

Between 2006 and 2015, he played at least 20 games each season.

A year away from the game provides a unique platform from which to launch his 2017 campaign.

Stanton is aware there are some added risks, but is confident he’ll be as prepared as he can be when the season begins. 

“Throughout the year (2016) we were fit enough but the instant decisions you have to make in your change of direction, your body is not used to that,” he said. 

“So you probably find the guys might have a little bit sorer groins for two or three days, so they might not train fully on the Wednesday after a Monday session but by Friday they’re back to normal.

“Everyone is at a high risk of doing an injury, especially because everyone has had ten weeks off, it’s just that we’ve had a little bit longer.

“But at the end of the day, the programs are that good that you should be able to come back in and play at a high level.”

Stanton is reaching the final stages of his 14th pre-season and said it was ‘refreshing’ to return to a Club that had made significant progress. 

“I definitely walked in, in late October, and it felt like a whole new environment which was exciting as a player coming back in,” he said. 

“It was fresh, it was open discussion – we’re becoming a self-driven football club … the coaches will direct you in a certain direction, but it’s up to you where you want to take your career from there. 

“It has been refreshing.”

Dons’ greatest disposal winners

Tim Watson – 6,100

Dustin Fletcher – 5,932

Brent Stanton – 5,644

Garry Foulds – 5,403

Joe Misiti – 5,164

Terry Daniher – 5,101

James Hird – 5,075

Jobe Watson – 4,934

Gary O’Donnell – 4,832

Simon Madden – 4,611