Essendon has potentially received a massive boost ahead of its Anzac Day blockbuster with the inclusions of star players Zach Merrett and Jake Stringer to an extended squad.

Both were named in the 26-man squad ahead of Monday’s game, with the final 22 to be named on Saturday.

Stringer could play after missing two weeks with a hamstring strain, while Merrett is poised to make an incredible return after missing just three games from a syndesmosis injury.

Kaine Baldwin is also in line for a recall, following a five-goal performance in Essendon's VFL loss to Port Melbourne on Sunday.

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VFL Rd 4 | Baldwin's five

Kaine Baldwin stands tall with five goals in Essendon's VFL loss to Port Melbourne.

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The powerful forward has been named on an extended bench alongside Nick Bryan, who could play his first AFL game of the season and second overall after a strong fortnight in the VFL.

Ruckman Andrew Phillips is the only confirmed omission at this stage after suffering a hamstring strain in last week’s clash with Fremantle.

The Bombers and Magpies will contest the 27th edition of the Anzac Day blockbuster from 3:20pm on Monday. Click here for a match-day guide and purchase your ticket here (be quick, tickets are limited).


Backs: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Jayden Laverde, Jake Kelly
Half-backs: Mason Redman, Jordan Ridley, Dyson Heppell (C)
Centreline: Sam Durham, Ben Hobbs, Nik Cox
Half-forwards: Nic Martin, Jake Stringer, Jye Caldwell
Forwards: Andrew McGrath, Peter Wright, Matt Guelfi
Followers: Sam Draper, Darcy Parish, Zach Merrett
Interchange from: Nick Hind, Dylan Shiel, Alec Waterman, Archie Perkins, Nick Bryan, Devon Smith, Kaine Baldwin, Tom Cutler

In: Merrett, Stringer, Baldwin, Bryan

Out: Phillips (hamstring)

Last week's medical sub: Cutler (used)