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Essendon work harder, but will it be enough?

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How much can hard work be equated with success? Essendon will soon find out.

Desperate to again contend for a premiership, the Bombers pushed their players harder than in recent years during the pre-season. Perhaps realising their fitness wasn’t quite where it needed to be, the Dons decided to take things up several notches in their pre-season training.

Dejected: Essendon players had a horror start to the season last year, something they don't want to repeat in 2019.Credit:AAP

It coincided with a process of teaching the players a substantially different method of team defence, a focus since the appointment of former Richmond assistant Ben Rutten, whose ability to get the Dons defending in sync could go a long way to determining how far Essendon advance in 2019.

Injured forward Joe Daniher vouched for the more challenging pre-season.

“Definitely this pre-season, the boys have worked really hard to set ourselves up in a really good position to compete the whole year,” he told The Sunday Age in the lead-up to the Dons’ opening round clash with Greater Western Sydney on Sunday, a match he will frustratingly miss after being struck down with a calf ailment, having overcome the groin issues that wiped out much of his 2018.

The irony of Daniher’s fate in 2018 was that the Bombers’ resurgence occurred once........

© Brisbane Times