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'He's been awesome': New Don making his presence felt

Dons' off-field addition set to spark change Cal Twomey and Matt Thompson bring you an update on the Essendon's pre-season

ESSENDON'S boom recruit Dylan Shiel has already had a significant impact on his new club with his knowledge, leadership and training standards.

Fellow Bombers midfielder David Zaharakis has likened the influence of the former Greater Western Sydney star to that of recently retired Brendon Goddard, who played an important mentoring role at the club in the last six years of his career after crossing from St Kilda.

Shiel, who was granted his wish for a trade to the Bombers on a six-year deal in October, has been so impressive that Zaharakis believes the 25-year-old could soon be elevated to the Dons' leadership group.

Shiel will wear the No.9 at his new club, the same number previously worn by Goddard.

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"When you come from an experienced program and you've got that knowledge and you are vocal, players look up to that and see that out on the track and respond to that, so 'Shiely' could definitely be in the leadership group and we (might) see that outcome in the next couple of weeks," Zaharakis told reporters during the club's training camp at Ocean Grove, near Geelong, on Wednesday.

"He's like 'BJ' (Goddard) when he came here. He's come from a successful program (and) he's got a wealth of knowledge of what works at a footy club.

"We said to him straight away, 'Mate, we don't want you to be quiet; we want you to give everything you've got, talk up in meetings, don't be shy even though you are a new player, and don't feel like you want to be that guy that says everything that we want you to'.

"He's been awesome for us ... (and) he's explosive out on the track and it's awesome to see up close."

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In more welcome news for the Bombers, key forward Joe Daniher was back running as he battles to overcome the osteitis pubis that derailed his season. Zaharakis reinforced that a "cautious" approach would be taken with the big left-footer.

Following Goddard's departure, Zaharakis is now the most experienced player on the club's list with 187 games.

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There is great hype surrounding Essendon after landing big-name recruits in successive years, but Zaharakis, who admitted "frustration" at not yet playing in a finals win, insisted the club would focus on process rather than outcome.

However, he enthused that the current crop of Bombers were "the most committed and dedicated group that I've seen to their craft, and that's a very good sign".

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The midfielder, who turns 29 in February, again spent two weeks of his off-season training at altitude in Boulder, Colorado, and this time took with him a group of teammates that included Orazio Fantasia, Kyle Langford and Shaun McKernan.

Emerging inside midfielder Langford, recently turned 22, said he'd benefited greatly from the gruelling trip and had added some bulk and strength, and planned to return there next year.