Ramanauskas back for Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ramanauskas back for Bombers

12/06/2003 07:43:10 PM Comments (0)

Essendon's Adam Ramanauskas is back for the Bombers' AFL clash with the Kangaroos on Friday night, nine weeks after surgery to address a cancer scare.

Ramanauskas last played in the loss to Carlton on April 11 before undergoing surgery to remove a tumour in his shoulder that was discovered to be benign.

It was thought he would miss just a couple of games, but the surgery was more invasive than initially envisaged.

Such had been his showings on the training track and his eagerness to be available for the 100th game of mate Jason Johnson, the Dons decided to gamble on putting Ramanauskas straight into the AFL without the benefit of a hit-out in the reserves.

"He has trained very well for the past three weeks and we think he can do a job for us tomorrow night," assistant coach Mark Harvey said on the club's website.

"I also think his return will be good for the team as well. He is a 70 or 80 game player now and he is also the type of player we have been missing.

"It really is great to have him back in the team and it will give the boys a real lift for what is an important game.

"He is also pleased to be back for Jason Johnson's 100th game that would never really count for much when you weigh up whether he plays or not but it is a nice bonus - they are good friends."

The Kangaroos, coming off the highs of last week's poignant and triumphant return of Bali bombing victim Jason McCartney in a farewell appearance, will now discover the dangers of taking on an emotionally-stirred opponent.

Less sentimental, but perhaps more important for the Bombers was the return of star backman Dustin Fletcher from an ankle injury for his first match since round six.

However captain James Hird did yet feel ready to return from a series of calf injuries that had blighted his season.

Ruckman Steven Alessio - dropped for last week's loss to Sydney - was recalled, with Joel Reynolds, Rob Forster-Knight and Ted Richards making way.

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