Essendon to face selection headaches with return of Four key Bombers

With Mason Redman, Ben Hobbs, Xavier Duursma, and Sam Draper all expected to be available for Sunday’s match against West Coast, Essendon should have a substantial advantage in the starting lineup.

That is, assuming the VFL talent, which coach Brad Scott is happy to support, doesn’t push them out.

Sam Draper, a ruckman, is now well enough to make a full ccomeback after recovering from two surgeries in the off-season: a groin operation and a recent knee surgery.

Mason Redman’s small hamstring strain after the close loss to Gold Coast allowed the team to treat him more cautiously heading into a risk-free return.

Earlier this year, Ben Hobbs was unlucky to be left out of Dreamtime at the ‘G until two or three weeks before the severity of his calf problem was disclosed. Once more, the return versus the Eagles is risk-free thanks to the bye.

Xavier Duursma, who returned from a quad strain for his first game since Round nine, should finally fit right into the wing he made his own at the Bombers.

Brad Scott verified each person’s availability after everyone breezed through the main Thursday session. Even while he wouldn’t give names, the Essendon coach hasn’t ruled out the possibility of some of the team’s in-form reserves stopping the AFL returnees.

Scott disclosed, “(There’s) some others pushing up from VFL as well.”

“I doubt I would tell you if I knew. In actuality, though, I’m still unsure.

“We definitely have selection dilemmas.”

Saad El-Hawli, a mid-year acquisition, impressed with four goals and 27 disposals in Carlton’s Round 11 VFL match, but he has since been sidelined and will need surgery.

In that same game, midfielder Xavier O’Neal racked up 33 disposals, but ruckman Nick Bryan was unstoppable with 22 disposals and 39 hit-outs.

In the three-point victory, Nate Caddy kicked three important goals and clinched six markers with his 13 disposals.

Zach Merrett, the captain, is one player who will undoubtedly be chosen. He has been one of the many victims of the trendy tagger in recent times.

Despite his impressive effort, he was limited to just 21 disposals in the loss against Carlton, as Blue Alex Cincotta maintained a close eye on him.

The Bomber coach supports his captain in responding to the spotlight by relying on his defensive presence and his ability to change roles as needed to have the greatest possible influence on games.

Scott described his skipper as someone who “just continues to ply his trade with excellence.”

“In my opinion, he is the best defensive pressure midfield player in the league.

“You can curb his influence one way but you can’t curb his influence every way.”

The Bombers are still confident in their returning players, but they are aware of the same predicament at West Coast, who are eager to exact revenge for their close home loss to Essendon earlier this year and are welcoming back skipper Oscar Allen this week.

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