Bombers hopeful of triple comeback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers hopeful of triple comeback

By Roger Vaughan 26/05/2003 07:06:34 PM Comments (0)

The signs were mixed, but Essendon is hopeful its three best players will be fit for Sunday's must-win AFL match against West Coast.

Captain James Hird was given the night off and full-back Dustin Fletcher moved okay, but not at top pace, while full-forward Matthew Lloyd trained well.

Essendon took its training to the outer eastern suburbs, training in front of several hundred fans at Yarra Valley Grammar school.

The Bombers badly need Hird, Lloyd and Fletcher back if they are to have a chance against the in-form Eagles.

"Two might get up, maybe three....Hird at one stage was really going to miss with another injury when he actually got that injury to his veins," Sheedy said of Hird's blood clot scare last week.

"That just bites you on the bum, at least it's helped him overcome another injury he had.

"We're pretty keen to have the three back this week - this is a vital game for us, to be able to keep our top-eight position alive.

"It's going to be a round-10 final for Essendon."

The Bombers have been without Hird, Fletcher and Lloyd for the last fortnight because of leg injuries.

It was feared last night Hird had deep vein thrombosis, which could have ended his season, but the clot was not that serious.

Fletcher ran at the start of training, but did not take part in drills near the end of the session.

He damaged ankle ligaments in the round-six loss to Fremantle and has not played since.

Lloyd was forced out a fortnight ago with a thigh injury and Hird also suffered a corked calf three weeks ago.

Mark Mercuri, who was concussed in Friday night's loss to Port Adelaide, is expected to play this weekend.

Fellow midfielder Joe Misiti only had a light training run but is also expected to be ready for the Eagles.

He and Mercuri will be needed to help combat one of the best midfield rotations in the league.

"We'll put our best eight out there, because they'll play their best eight through the midfield," Sheedy said.

"They'll play Jones and Embley (on the) wing, half-forward and throw in (Ashley) Sampi.

"Probably the only bloke they don't throw in is that little fella (Phillip) Matera - he just goes down to the goalsquare and plays like a short full-forward.

"If we play anywhere near our potential - and that's what we've got to do - we can match some of those players in the midfield, not all of them, possibly.

"If we can pull something out of the fire, we might do very, very well in that area."

Sheedy added key defender Aaron Henneman, out of the league side for a year with various injuries, would resume in the AFL this weekend after recovering from a groin problem.

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