Bombers have talls to go forward: Stanton
Essendon power forward Michael Hurley is set to miss three AFL games with a hamstring strain, the Bombers said on Monday.
Hurley broke down with a left hamstring injury in Saturday night’s 71-point loss to St Kilda while fellow key forward Stewart Crameri has another week of a two-game ban left to serve.
“Given Michael’s recent good form it’s disappointing to lose him at this point of the season,” Essendon’s football operations general manager Paul Hamilton said.
Ruck/forward Tom Bellchambers and former No.2 draft pick Scott Gumbleton, who hasn’t played a senior game since 2010, are in line for promotion for Saturday’s round-16 clash with 15th-placed Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.
Hurley has kicked 12 goals in Essendon’s past three matches.
The 22-year-old missed three games earlier this season with a right hamstring problem and also had an injury-interrupted pre-season.
“It’s always disappointing to lose key players like that with Stu Crameri last week and now ‘Hurls’,” Essendon midfielder Brent Stanton said on Monday.
“You get fatigued and unfortunately soft tissue injuries happen all over the AFL.
“We just have to deal with that and keep moving on.
“Tom Bellchambers could go forward or even Scott Gumbleton.
“It’s a hard decision to make but we’re pretty fortunate that we have a few tall guys to come into the side.”
Adding to Essendon’s woes, midfielder Heath Hocking has been offered a two-match ban for rough conduct against St Kilda’s Lenny Hayes.
The Bombers have slipped two places to sixth following their third loss in five games although, with three victories interstate already this year, confidence will be high against Port.
“We played them earlier on in the year and they really took it to us inside the contest. We’ve got to take care of that again,” Stanton said of Essendon’s 25-point home win in round two.
“Contested footy and our defensive side of our game is what we’re really going to base our game on this week.
“The confidence maybe is a little bit high as we have won three out of three this year (interstate against Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney and Fremantle).
“But we’ve got to focus on just the individual game.
“Whether we finish top four or top eight or out of the finals, we haven’t spoken about it.”© AAP 2013