Essendon’s Brendon Goddard expects to return to full training after Christmas as the AFL star recovers from a calf muscle injury.
The Bombers’ reigning best and fairest winner had a conditioning session before his teammates on Wednesday training at the club’s new airport headquarters.
The utility also returned early from the team’s Colorado altitude training camp for his girlfriend, whose grandfather died.
The Colorado players came back on Tuesday and took part in the open training session before several hundred fans, part of Essendon’s pledge to be more accessible after their tumultuous year.
“I’m just managing my load now, and I will be back into full training post-Christmas,” Goddard told the club website.
Teammate Brent Stanton, who did not go to Colorado for family reasons, said he was focused on training and not the ongoing Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) investigation into the 2012 supplements program at the club.
Former world anti-doping boss John Fahey said last week that charges are coming, but Essendon chairman Paul Little vehemently denies that is the case.
“As you’ve probably heard a million times, it’s an ongoing process and we’ll deal with whatever comes our way when it happens,” Stanton said.
“We’re not too worried about it at the moment.
“We’re looking forward – it’s a brand-new season coming.
“It’s been a big year, but the boys have really grown in terms of the way they’ve handled themselves on and off the field.”
Mark Thompson was vocal during Wednesday’s training and Stanton said their interim head coach was upbeat about their prospects.
“He’s certainly alive and ready to go,” Stanton said.
“He’s very passionate about the way he wants his players to be able to play the game.
“He’s very excited (about) where the group is going.
“I certainly believe this group is going to improve pretty quickly in terms of the staff we have around us and the drive we have.”
Essendon also announced on Wednesday that Dyson Heppell’s brother Aaron was joining their VFL team.