Bombers drop Mercuri again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers drop Mercuri again

By Adam Cooper 04/09/2003 09:26:23 PM Comments (0)

Essendon has delivered a massive statement by dropping decorated vice-captain Mark Mercuri for Friday night's AFL elimination final against Fremantle at Subiaco.

Mercuri, a veteran of 17 finals and two premiership sides, was dropped for the third time this year to cap a disappointing season for the 1999 Brownlow Medal runner-up, now perched on 198 games.

Mercuri will this weekend ponder simulated match practice in Melbourne, but there were no such worries for Fremantle forward Jeff Farmer, who declared himself a starter for one of the most-hyped finals encounters of recent years.

Farmer went to hospital after hyper-extending his back in last week's derby, but is confident he'll line up in a forward pocket.

"I've pulled up OK," he told Channel Ten.

"Obviously the back is a little bit sore, but I think there is no reason why I shouldn't play this week."

Dockers coach Chris Connolly said Farmer and inclusions Trent Croad (ankle) and Shane Parker (thigh) would undergo last-minute fitness tests before the club's finals debut.

It was speculated Essendon might also drop veteran Joe Misiti, but he was named on the interchange bench.

But Mercuri, who gathered just eight disposals in last week's loss to Collingwood, was dumped for the third time in 11 weeks.

Collingwood and Brisbane both bolstered their defences for Saturday night's qualifying final at the MCG.

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