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Grounded Bombers keep piling up

21/07/2008 07:46:10 PM Comments (0)

Essendon's massive AFL injury toll could limit the Bombers to just 25 fit players to choose from for Saturday's clash with arch-rival Collingwood at the MCG.

There are currently 18 grounded Bombers on the club's injured list, after Andrew Welsh (concussion), Angus Monfries (ankle) and Jay Neagle (ankle) were hurt in the four-point loss to Richmond last Saturday.

If that is not enough to make coach Matthew Knights gnash his teeth, speedy midfielder Andrew Lovett still has one game to serve of a club-imposed suspension.

Welsh is a chance to play the Magpies and fullback Dustin Fletcher could resume after an ankle injury, but if those two are sidelined again, that will leave the Dons with only 23 senior players to pick from.

Essendon can boost that number to 25 if they promote rookies Danny Chartres and Dean Dick this week, having already elevated Rhys Magin and Jarrod Atkinson to replace players on the long-term injured list.

Young players Darcy Daniher (back) and Courtenay Dempsey (leg) could also return to football this weekend, but will not vie for senior selection given they have been out for lengthy periods.

Essendon announced that long-term fitness guru John Quinn was leaving the club to "pursue other career opportunities".

Quinn joined the club at the start of the 1999 season and would stay with the Bombers until the end of the season, said Essendon chief operating officer Travis Auld.

Meanwhile, Richmond star Matthew Richardson is hopeful of returning to play the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night after overcoming a hamstring injury.

Richardson has sat out the past two games.

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