John Worsfold says his hands are tied when it comes to the training regime of Essendon’s 12 banned players but he’s confident they will use their time in exile wisely.
The players, led by skipper Jobe Watson, along with up to five other players now with other clubs who were suspended for their part in the Bombers’ 2012 supplements program are reportedly set to begin training together this week.
The group rejected an offer by three-time premiership coach Mick Malthouse to oversee their physical conditioning while they serve their bans, with Worsfold unable to confirm reports former Essendon player and assistant coach Sean Wellman will fill that role.
The Bombers coach spoke to reporters on Thursday morning but deferred to the AFL Players Association when asked about the purported return to training of the group.
“I’m absolutely confident that they’re pretty intelligent guys – they’re all extremely talented footballers – they’ll know what’s going to be right for them,” Worsfold said.
“They have got other experts that will guide them … I’m not allowed to have any role in that but I do have 100 per cent confidence that they’ll all be okay.”
The AFLPA faces the difficult task of trying to plot a way forward for the banned players, who are all coping with their suspensions differently, as well as the group as a whole while attempting to maintain some level of privacy in the face of intense media interest.
“We are currently working with each individual player to ascertain their needs for this year and training is one of those items,” an AFLPA spokesperson said via a statement.
“Training requirements are different for each and every player.
“We’re not able to confirm the details of a proposed training program.”
Worsfold said he would not have had any issue with Malthouse, his mentor at West Coast, playing a part in the group’s training program but added the subject hadn’t been discussed with him.
“That never came across (to) me … that would have been done with the players and the players association,” he said.
“That’s the process of how everything works and we’ve got full trust that, via the players’ association, the players themselves and their managers that they will map out whatever their season is going to look like.”