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Injury-plagued Bombers defender back in the running

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

AFTER an injury-interrupted past two years, Patrick Ambrose has set himself to recapture his place in Essendon's defence after winning the club's 'two-lap challenge' run on Friday.

The Bombers undertook two circuits of their Tullamarine headquarters, and Ambrose, who has managed just 17 games in the past two years, led the pack ahead of rookie Tom Jok and young midfielder Dylan Clarke.

The club split up the runners into two groups, with Darcy Parish, who is entering his fourth season at the Bombers, winning the second batch of players running the trial ahead of veteran teammate Mark Baguley.

The Bombers also ran the two-lap challenge in November, when the club's fitness staff pulled Ambrose and Jok out of the run due to their already renowned aerobic excellence.

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The run kick-started a long session for the Bombers, who had several key players training away from the main group.

Reigning best and fairest winner Devon Smith was among them as he is eased through the pre-season, Josh Begley continued his recovery from a knee reconstruction and Martin Gleeson also did some running as he works back from the foot injury that saw him miss all of last season.

David Zaharakis was expected to train fully but ran laps on the Bombers' second training oval and didn't participate in the two-lap challenge, while Conor McKenna also trained separate to the main group.

As reported by AFL.com.au on Thursday, key forward Joe Daniher was absent from training after being diagnosed with conjunctivitis.

Part of the Bombers' session included a drill that saw the players pinpoint passes to the top of the goalsquare when moving inside 50, with Fantasia's class and precision kicking a standout.

Club doctor Bruce Reid, who is battling cancer, was at the club to watch training.