A GROUP of banned Essendon players have started their training program under the watchful eye of Bombers premiership player and former assistant coach Sean Wellman.
Seven suspended Bombers, and Western Bulldog Stewart Crameri, gathered at Melbourne's St Bernard's College on Monday morning.
Captain Jobe Watson and midfielders Dyson Heppell and Brent Stanton were among the group to be put through their paces by Wellman, who was reportedly joined by fitness coach David Buttifant.
Key defender Cale Hooker, midfield pair Ben Howlett and Heath Hocking and ruckman Tom Bellchambers made up the remainder of the group at St Bernard's.
The players involved were put through a running program, in which Wellman also participated, before getting out the footballs and doing some skills work.
Buttifant's counsel was part of the plan coach Mick Malthouse put forward to the banned Bombers in his offer to coach the group during their season-long absence.
The players knocked back Malthouse's offer and have instead asked Wellman to lead them in their organised training during their absence.
Wellman was an assistant coach at Essendon alongside James Hird but left the club at the end of 2013 and has been working as a mortgage broker.
He led the Bombers' defensive group during his three years there and had previously coached at the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne.
Under ASADA's rules there are strict guidelines on who can coach the players during their suspensions. A majority of the banned players can return to their clubs in September.