Adam Cooney’s three-goal debut against Sydney on Saturday has Essendon very excited about what’s to come from the AFL veteran.
The former Western Bulldog stood out in black and red at ANZ Stadium, his 60-metre torpedo after the quarter-time siren among the highlights of the dramatic 12-point loss.
Bombers football manager Neil Craig said Cooney had played ok during the pre-season, but thought he “took another step” in round one.
“He brings a point of difference to our midfield with the way he plays,” Craig told 3AW on Sunday.
“He has some real – and I’m talking serious – running power that can really spook the opposition when he starts to the receive the ball.
“He’ll be a very important player for the footy club.
“It’s like most players when they change clubs, they get a bit of a refresh in their thinking just because it’s a different environment.
“So we’re looking forward to Adam continuing that form.”
Speaking on Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy Show, Cooney said he’d needed a fresh start after having “disagreed on a few things” with the coaches at the `Dogs at the end of last season.
The 29-year-old said he felt, in a way, unwanted by the club.
“But it goes both ways – I probably wasn’t performing as well as what I should have last season. I was inconsistent and that reflected in the team,” he said.
“I thought that if I wanted to get the best out of my career that a change was needed.
“I had a few meetings with some other clubs and decided after I met with Essendon and Hirdy (coach James Hird) that that’s the place I wanted to be.”
Hird on Saturday labelled the 2008 Brownlow Medallist’s performance “brilliant” in what were unfavourable conditions in the wet.
“In his first game for Essendon, it shows we’ve recruited a very good player,” he said.
“You can probably say the conditions weren’t ideal for Adam, so on a dry day we’re pretty excited about what we’ll get.”