Essendon will take a cautious approach with their recovering players for Friday’s first pre-season hitout against St Kilda.

Jordan RidleyPeter WrightBen Hobbs, and first year draftee Nate Caddy will sit out of the practice match at RSEA Park, however are all expected to be available for Friday week’s Community Series Match against Geelong.

Wright and Ridley have been active in main training in recent weeks and will ease their way back into competitive games, while Hobbs nurses a minor shoulder knock and Caddy is sore from an awkward landing in a marking contest at training last week.

Defender Jake Kelly reported hamstring awareness after the Bombers’ training session last Wednesday and will sit out the opening pre-season match as a result.  

Sam Draper has integrated into main training after ticking all the boxes in his return from a groin injury, but won’t play Friday as he continues to build his preparation towards the start of the season.


The 25-year-old participated in match simulation over the weekend alongside midfielder Dylan Shiel, who has made major strides in his recovery from the foot injury that sidelined him throughout 2023.

Kaine Baldwin is in the early stages of rehab from a stress fracture in his foot, while youngster Tex Wanganeen has made inroads in his recovery from foot surgery at the end of last season, gradually increasing his weight bearing conditioning in recent weeks.