Essendon Coach John Worsfold expects his returning players to make a smooth transition back into the AFL fold.

The Bombers were back on the training track today for their first official session of the pre-season. 

Scores of fans were on hand as the ten returning players joined the Club’s second to fourth year players for a session lasting 80 minutes. 

“We’ve had a fair idea of how they’ve been tracking throughout the year and more so over the last month the boys have been coming in and doing some running.  I never had any real worries they were going to be behind,” Worsfold said. 

“Watching players come back from different long-term injuries where they miss pretty much a full season of footy is that they transition and get through no worries.

“There is every chance they’ll be playing their best footy late in the year.”

The returning players will join their younger teammates for the main training sessions over the next fortnight, before the rest of the playing group come back on November 21. 

“I always focus on where we’re heading and what we want to achieve,” Worsfold said. 

“This past 12 months we had a strong focus on what we wanted to achieve and I think we ticked a lot of boxes.

“Having ten senior AFL players back on the very first day when it’s normally the one to four year players has added a massive air of excitement.   

“Now we reset it all and it’s really exciting going forward for the Club and for the supporters who are the lifeblood of everything we do.” 

Reigning best and fairest winner Zach Merrett said the return of the players had provided a boost for the whole Club.

“They’re full of enthusiasm at the moment, which is rubbing off on us younger guys,” Merrett said.

“Langford, Laverde and Parish and those guys are just buzzing knowing they’re going to have the knowledge (passed on) by those older boys.

“Obviously they’re great players, but their leadership capacity as well to help the younger boys out will be fantastic.    

“Everyone is overjoyed at the moment and looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season.” 

Merrett was one of three players who were named Captain of Essendon throughout the course of last season. 

Jobe Watson was initially anointed the Club’s leader before Brendon Goddard assumed the role on the eve of the season.

When Goddard missed two games through injury late in the home and away season, Merrett filled the void.

Worsfold expects 2017 Captain to be announced in January. 

“We’ll spend a lot of good time training together, understand each other, see where we’re heading, where our team is at, what we believe we need in our figurehead as a Captain and our overall leadership group as well,” he said.

“The players will have the biggest say in what that’s going to look like in January.”