Shiel injury relief for Dons

May 28, 2019 1:35 pm in by

ESSENDON has finally had a win on the injury front with Dylan Shiel a chance to play against Carlton after scans revealed the star midfielder avoided a hamstring tear.

Shiel and Jake Stringer were unable to play out last week’s loss to Richmond and looked certain to join a lengthy injury list that includes Joe Daniher, Devon Smith and Orazio Fantasia.

But the news wasn’t all bad for the Bombers, who are 12th with an underwhelming 4-6 record, ahead of Sunday’s clash with the last-placed Blues.

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“Jake’s (injury) is a run-of-the-mill every day hammy, so he’ll miss a couple of weeks, and Dylan is a bit different in that the scan doesn’t show a tear, which is great,” coach John Worsfold told reporters on Tuesday.

“So he’s not ruled out this week but he’ll obviously have to prove his fitness.

“He pulled up sore, there’s no tear there so it doesn’t rule him out, but we won’t put him into a game if he’s a high risk getting that tear … he’ll have to pass certain parameters.”

The encounter with Carlton is a critical one for Essendon and Worsfold, who has come under mounting criticism as his side has struggled to live up to pre-season hype.

The Blues only managed two wins last year on their way to collecting the wooden spoon and one of them was against the Bombers.

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A repeat on Sunday at the MCG would be a huge hit to Essendon’s finals hopes and give critics like club legend Matthew Lloyd more ammunition.

Lloyd has urged the club to look at other coaching options for a team that he believes has underachieved this season, Worsfold’s fourth at the club.

The veteran coach doesn’t begrudge Lloyd his opinion but argues his first year, in 2016 when his team was decimated by doping bans, doesn’t count and 2017 can’t be considered a normal year either even though they made the finals.

“Last year was really my first year,” Worsfold said.

“I would say it’s pretty hard to count 2016 and in 2017 we had a totally different focus in reintegrating players back into the game (after their bans were over).

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“So last year was our first crack at it.

“Overall, in my three years at Essendon we’ve played in the finals once and just missed the finals once. This year we’re aiming to play finals.”

Essendon’s finals chances suffered twin blows recently when Daniher (groin) and Smith (knee) were ruled out for the rest of the season. Both are set to undergo surgery on Tuesday.

© AAP 2019