ESSENDON coach John Worsfold says Geelong premiership player Mathew Stokes was "awesome" in his first game for his new club, and he believes he will only get better when he reaches full fitness.
Stokes collected 28 touches, 11 contested possessions, three inside 50s and three score assists in the Bombers' 105-point loss to West Coast in their last NAB Challenge match on Sunday at Domain Stadium.
Worsfold was ecstatic with Stokes' performance. He was also pleased with his other Geelong premiership player James Kelly given he had struggled with an illness midweek.
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"Stokes I thought was outstanding," Worsfold said.
"Kelly was a bit rusty. He was working into it. He was crook early in the week. We didn't see him for three days.
"We needed to get him out there but it was going to be a big test of his energy levels flying over here for the game in those temperatures after being bed-ridden for a couple of days.
"But being the professional he is, he was ready to go. He prepared himself as well as he could.
"But Stokes was awesome. No doubt he will build on that over the next month/six weeks probably."
Worsfold was also delighted with the performance of Joe Daniher in the thumping loss.
"I thought Joe Daniher was our best forward by a fair way," Worsfold said.
"Joe's an impressive young player. He's still a young developing key forward. It's exciting to see where he's heading with his career."
Worsfold said it was important for his side to look forward to round one rather than focus on the negative of heavy consecutive losses in the Bombers' last two NAB Challenge games.
"I said to them, let's look forward to our next game," Worsfold said.
"You don't want to start dreading it. We are really looking forward to round one of the season.
"To throw everything into it and see how we go."
He said Ryan Crowley, Matthew Leuenberger and Nathan Grima would all be in contention for the Bombers' round one match against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Worsfold said James Polkinghorne is the only top-up player who would not be ready for selection in round one.
Joe Daniher's progress is a real plus for Essendon. Picture: AFL Media