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Bombers drop Lucas for Hawthorn clash

By John Salvado 05/05/2009 03:10:38 PM Comments (0)

Matthew Lloyd will lead a team of Essendon greenhorns into battle against Hawthorn on Friday after the on-field woes of fellow sharpshooter Scott Lucas became too serious to ignore.

Bombers coach Matthew Knights announced on Tuesday that the 31-year-old Lucas, a veteran of 262 games, had been dropped.

It will now be up to the 2000 premiership star whether he plays for Bendigo in the VFL or takes the coming weekend off.

"We just feel that in supporting Scott it's the way to go to release that pressure valve so he can go away, find some form and come back in form and see the real Scott Lucas again," said Knights.

"We think that as a club this is the best way to support him through the patch he's going through."

Playing mostly at centre half-forward, the two-time best and fairest winner has struggled to make an impact in six matches this season, kicking only four goals.

"Scott's really pragmatic and understanding," said Knights.

"He's been in football a long time and he understands the way it works and the way of the world.

"I'm sure he acknowledges his form hasn't been where he'd like it to be and that's a measure of the high standard he's played at for his whole career.

"He's disappointed, as anyone would be, but he'll go back and play really good football (in the VFL) and I'm sure he will be back sooner rather than later."

Knee and back injuries restricted Lucas to just nine games in 2008.

Youngsters Jay Neagle and John Williams are both in contention to replace Lucas up forward against the Hawks.

With ruckman David Hille, key defender Dustin Fletcher and midfielders Mark McVeigh and Andrew Welsh all on the injured list, Essendon will send a remarkably young side into battle against the reigning premiers at Etihad Stadium.

Skipper Lloyd will be the only player aged over 26, while utility Adam McPhee and midfielder Brent Stanton will be the only other Bombers to have passed the 100-game milestone.

And nowhere will the pressure be greater than on young key defenders Tayte Pears, David Myers and Cale Hooker.

They are in line to get the big jobs on last year's Coleman medallist Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead, whose haul of eight against Carlton moved him to the top of the 2009 goalkicking table.

"Blokes like Tayte Pears and David Myers are going to have the ride of their life," said Knights.

"We can only support them.

"Those other boys are brilliant players, Roughead and Franklin, and they did it on the big stage all last year and they won the ultimate so it's a good test for our young men."

Two of Essendon's other promising young backmen, Darcy Daniher and Michael Hurley, will resume in the VFL this weekend along with former Geelong midfielder Brent Prismall, who has recovered from a knee reconstruction.

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