ESSENDON defender Cale Hooker is prepared to move forward if the Bombers turn to him to replace injured star Joe Daniher.
But the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian backman, and best and fairest winner, looks set to be settled in defence when he rejoins the Bombers' line-up for their round two clash with Sydney next month.
Hooker missed the Bombers' tight win over Fremantle in round one with a hip injury, but after an elongated break, he is ready to take on the Swans at the SCG after the AFL released its next fixture block this week.
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"I'm not 100 per cent sure [where I'll play]. I'm happy to play either end and wherever the team needs me," he said.
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"I've been training as a defender a little bit in the pre-season so that's more likely, but the way seasons go, already there's been so many unexpected things, so you just have to be ready to adapt.
"Forward or back, it doesn't worry me."
The 31-year-old partnered Daniher in attack in 2017 and booted a career-high 41 goals, and has continued to play cameos near goal in recent years, including spectacular efforts in last year's last-gasp wins over Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast.
But with Daniher unavailable indefinitely, the Bombers aren't loaded with key talls, with Shaun McKernan and James Stewart the leading options. Hooker's marking strength, plus the abundance of key defenders, means his versatility could be used to assist Essendon.
The Bombers took part in their first contact session on Tuesday since resuming at the club last week.
Injured Bomber Joe Daniher out on the track this morning running laps as teammates begin first contact session. pic.twitter.com/OgWuEqmkCM— Callum Twomey (@CalTwomey) May 26, 2020
And while the main group enjoyed getting into some match-play, Daniher was running on the club's other training oval as he battles his ongoing osteitis pubis issues.
"He looks lean and when he can run and get out there it makes you feel better. It lifted the group seeing him running, and it looked like he was running," Hooker said.
Skipper Dyson Heppell remains in doubt to meet the Swans after having setbacks following his foot surgery in the off-season, but he trained well on Tuesday and hasn't been ruled out yet.
"He looked as sharp as ever," Hooked said.