Young ‘Dons have to switch off on AFL trip

It’s a brutal pre-season test, far tougher for many young AFL players than a gut-busting time trial or a muscle-blasting weights session.

Can he live without his technology?

New Essendon coach John Worsfold will gleefully pose that question when he and the club’s first- to fourth-year players head to the Northern Territory for a training camp.

Worsfold confirmed the players will have to switch off their electronic devices as the Bombers build team spirit and spend time with local communities.

“It’s very hard to engage these young guys when there’s anything in terms of wifi floating through the air,” Worsfold said.

“There will be some rules regarding that – there will be withdrawal symptoms … that will challenge them.

“But a lot of it, I think they’ll really enjoy.”

The trip was starting late on Tuesday after the younger players had started day two of Essendon’s pre-season with a time trial.

Worsfold has made it clear from the outset that he is determined to quickly drag the club out of its supplements saga funk and aim for the top four in the next three years.

“They were okay for first day up, but plenty of room for improvement,” he said of the time trial.

“There are going to be some pretty good targets set for these guys over the next six weeks.”

One immediate plus for Worsfold’s new regime is that Essendon will have a strong hand in the November 24 national draft.

In the provisional draft order, the Bombers have picks four and five as well as 24 and 25.

But Worsfold noted nothing is guaranteed, pointing to Fremantle recruiting Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe at No.20.

“You never know where picks are going to end up and Nat Fyfe is that great example,” he said.

“But generally, our top two picks are kids who could impact on field fairly quickly – whether it’s next season or the season after.

“Longer-term – three years-plus – we would expect all four high draftees will be good long-term players for the club.”

Essendon also finalised their coaching group on Monday when Worsfold’s old West Coast teammate Guy McKenna was confirmed as one of his assistants.

“I don’t know if I trust him, we’ll have to wait and see,” Worsfold said with a grin.

“I’ve obviously played my whole career alongside `Bluey’, but we’ve gone different paths the last 12-13 years.

“It’s always nice to have some people when you start at a new workplace that you know pretty well.”

Worsfold pointed out he and assistant coach Mark Harvey also spent more than four years coaching against each other in Perth when he was in charge of the Eagles and Harvey led Fremantle.

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