Stringer pushing to take on Swans

July 3, 2019 4:10 pm in by
Essendon star Jake Stringer (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

ESSENDON’S Jake Stringer is closing on an AFL return after a frustrating injury- enforced absence, the mercurial forward a chance to take on Sydney at the MCG on Saturday.

Stringer hasn’t played since the Bombers’ win over Hawthorn on June 14 when he suffered a heavy blow to his right shin.

Initial fears he had suffered a break were allayed, but the 2015 All Australian’s attempts to return to the field have been thwarted by the onset of soreness as he’s increased training loads.

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“It was one of those injuries where he was pretty sore post-game, but he was thinking ‘Don’t rule me out next week’,” said coach John Worsfold on Wednesday.

“He quickly realised after three or four days he wasn’t going to get up.

“He couldn’t quite put the full body weight through it for longer periods but it’s coming along.

“… He’s done some running earlier in the week and is feeling pretty good so he’ll do some training today as part of assessing where he’s at.

“He’s a chance to be selected this week.”

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Stringer’s availability would be a huge boost for Worsfold as he ponders an injury-enforced change to his on-field structure for Saturday’s game against the resurgent Swans.

Essendon’s delight at their stunning last-minute win over GWS has been tempered by the loss of No.1 ruckman Tom Bellchambers, who will be sidelined for six weeks with a calf injury.

The ruckman’s departure in the second quarter forced a reshuffle, with Cale Hooker the hero with two goals, including the winner after switching from defence, and Shaun McKernan impressing after he was thrown into the ruck.

Worsfold could go with McKernan in the ruck again or look to former Fremantle big man Zac Clarke, who has managed three senior games since the Bombers offered him a chance to revive his AFL career.

“Zac’s been great in terms of understanding the role that he’s been playing for us this year,” Worsfold said.

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“He’s fit, available and ready to go.

“If selected we’re confident he’s going to perform well for us.”

The Swans have their own issues in the ruck with Callum Sinclair sidelined after a dislocating a shoulder in the win over Gold Coast.

© AAP 2019