Senior coach Ben Rutten is back from isolation and will coach again on Sunday. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Senior coach Ben Rutten spoke to the media at the NEC Hangar on Wednesday, as the Bombers prepare for their Easter Sunday clash with Fremantle at Marvel Stadium.

Here are four key takeaways from his media conference.

1. Stringer to miss, Cox + Cutler available

Midfielder-forward Jake Stringer will not be available to take on Fremantle this weekend due to a hamstring injury, but there are some positives on the selection front.

Rutten is hopeful defender Tom Cutler and midfielder Nik Cox have will be available for selection after dealing with health and safety protocols and an ankle injury respectively.


“He’s (Stringer) got a bit of a hamstring strain, so he won’t be available this week and we’ll keep building him up to make sure we’re going to set him up for the rest of the season,” Rutten said.

“Cox and Cutler, we think will be back and get through a couple of training sessions and be back available for selection.” 


2. Smith back to his best

Devon Smith put his best foot forward to win back a spot in the starting 22 after an impressive display as the Dons’ round four medical sub.

In a half of footy, Smith accumulated 12 disposals, four tackles and an important goal, with Rutten plauding his No.5’s pressure and intent in a tight contest.

“He (Smith) shifted a bit of the momentum for us and the intensity around the ball,” Rutten said.

“We knew Dev could bring that and I thought it was a good second half from him. He had a real difference and impact on the game.”

Devon Smith made a big impact as medical sub against the Crows. (Photo: AFL Photos)

3. Redman’s heroics

Mason Redman had his best performance of 2022, collecting 19 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a career-high seven inside 50s against the Crows.

The 24-year-old earned praise from Rutten, who said his match-saving mark in the dying seconds was the finishing touch on an impressive display.

“It was a really nice cap-off to a really good game from ‘Redders’,” Rutten said.

“He’s been building towards that, and I thought he had a consistent four-quarter performance.

“I think that little last moment, we had some breakdowns up the field to be able to allow it to get down there, but for Redders to be able to do that in an important moment in the game capped off a really solid effort for him.”

4. Jones to play minutes

For the first time since Essendon’s pre-season practice game against the Western Bulldogs, key forward Harrison Jones will hopefully don the sash this week in the VFL.

Jones has worked his way back from an ankle injury, and Rutten hopes some game time in Essendon’s state league side will hopefully be a solid platform for the 21-year-old to launch into an AFL comeback.

“I think he’ll play some minutes this week,” Rutten said.

“He’s got a couple of training sessions to get through but he’s progressing nicely, and we're hoping to get him some game time in the VFL.

“He’s absolutely an important player for us, long-term player for us, and hopefully we can build him up back to his best.”