Rioli in doubt for Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rioli in doubt for Bombers

16/03/2005 06:37:50 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy has refused to carry unfit players into the coming AFL season after confirming skilful Dean Rioli was battling a back injury.

Sheedy said Rioli had suffered a back spasm at training earlier this week and would struggle to be fit in time to play Melbourne in the Dons' round one clash on March 26.

Up to six members of the Bombers' best side have been ruled out or are in doubt for the start of the season.

Full-forward Matthew Lloyd (broken arm) and Richmond recruit Ty Zantuck (suspension) will definitely sit out the opening clash, while Dean Solomon (knee), Mark Johnson (shoulder) and David Hille (calf) are also yet to prove their fitness.

Sheedy said Rioli, who has played 85 games in six injury-prone seasons, would not be risked.

"He hurt his back at training and he's struggling a little bit at the moment," Sheedy said.

"But if he's not fit enough to play I'm not going to play him. I want to pick a fit side."

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