Essendon Football Club can confirm Zac Clarke is a late withdrawal from the side set to face North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium this afternoon. 

Joe Daniher has been named to replace Clarke, after the ruckman sustained a calf bleed overnight.

General manager of football Dan Richardson said the late change was an unavoidable situation.  

“After presenting fine during the week, Zac suffered a secondary calf bleed overnight and in consultation with our medical team this morning, we’ve subsequently had to rule him out of the clash with North Melbourne,” Richardson said.

“We notified both North Melbourne and the AFL as soon as possible and we thank them for their understanding. 

“It was our intention for Joe to play in the VFL this week.

“With injuries to McKernan and Stewart, structurally for our side today, we had to look at the key forward position so the decision was made.

While unavoidable, the club accepts the AFL’s ruling on this decision and the financial sanction it will impose as a result."