Bombers forced to blood teenage ruckman - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers forced to blood teenage ruckman

By Leonard Siragusa 19/08/2008 06:22:38 PM Comments (0)

With Essendon's ruck stocks decimated by injury, second gamer Tom Bellchambers will be forced to play as the team's No.1 ruckman against the Western Bulldogs on Friday night.

Bellchambers, 18, was picked by the Bombers in the pre-season draft earlier this year as a project player.

Although he made his AFL debut against Hawthorn in Round 11, he could not record a hitout and managed only four possessions for the game.

But the Tasmanian teenager will have to lift in his second AFL outing after Essendon coach Matthew Knights revealed fellow Tasmanian Jason Laycock would join David Hille (broken hand) on the sidelines with floating bone in his ankle.

"Tom is the third ruckman on our list so he is going to come into the team and play this week," Knights said.

"He is quite solidly built but he is a development player.

"He's going to get a chance to ruck against a really good ruckman in (Ben) Hudson and (Will) Minson does a little bit, so it's a great opportunity and he is going to have come ready to play."

While Knights said Mark McVeigh (knee) and Heath Hocking (soreness) could return against the Bulldogs, the Bombers injury crisis has plunged to new depths nearing the season's end.

Luckless runner Courtenay Dempsey is another to join a long list, with a broken leg.

"We have 24 players available for selection this week which is just the way it is," Knights said.

"They are the cards you're dealt and the 22 that run out have to represent the club well on Friday night."

Knights confirmed retiring veteran Jason Johnson would play against the `Dogs after getting through the past two games with the club's VFL side Bendigo.

"It's been a bit of a journey for Jason this year with his calf injury so it's a pleasure we're pleased to be able to put Jason back in the side this week," he said

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