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Star mids set to return

Rd 5 | Worsfold post-game Senior coach John Worsfold, alongside James and Jack, spoke to the media following our round five Good Friday win over North Melbourne.

Essendon is set to regain star midfield pair David Zaharakis and Devon Smith for next week's massive Anzac Day clash with Collingwood.

The Bombers will enter the contest on a three-game winning streak after a 58-point belting of North Melbourne on Good Friday.

And they appear likely to welcome back best and fairest winners Zaharakis and Smith for the game after both missed against the Roos due to knee injuries.

Zaharakis spent time in hospital this week with a knee injury after an infection to a gash he sustained in last week's win over Brisbane and was a late withdrawal against the Roos, replaced by debutant Brayden Ham.

Smith was ruled out as part of the on-going management of a chronic knee issue he arrived at Essendon with after six seasons at Greater Western Sydney, in the first game he has missed since crossing to the Bombers. 

Although the Bombers' turnaround is short – they play the Magpies next Thursday at the sold-out MCG in the biggest home and away game of the season – Worsfold expected both to be available.

"Zaharakis should be OK. [It came] down to today for him. He had a run today and just couldn't quite hit top speed," he said after beating the Roos.

"Possibly if this game was tomorrow he might've been right, certainly a day after that, so we're really confident.

"And Dev's good. [Missing] today was part of his overall plan around the workload he's had. He trained this morning and moved well." 

In further promising signs, key forward Joe Daniher made his first appearance for the Bombers since round seven last year and booted two goals.

Daniher came into the Bombers' line-up from outside of their named 26, and the AFL will fine Essendon for adding him after not being an emergency.


But Worsfold said some late concerns with Zac Clarke's calf meant the Bombers had to rush their spearhead back.

"Zac Clarke had a cork in his calf from last week and trained on Wednesday to give him some extra time. The rest of the squad trained on Tuesday," he said.

"Zac got through what he had to do, but the docs think his calf may have bled a bit more again after that training session.

"Yesterday (Thursday) he didn't do anything because he had trained on Wednesday, so he just observed our last light jog, but he woke up and rung the docs and said 'my calf is really sore and sore to walk on'.

"We got him into the club to get him properly assessed and after that happened about 10:15am, he was ruled out by the docs."


Daniher had a solid return, gathering 10 disposals, five marks and kicked two goals, including one in the final term from 60 metres out.

"I thought he played his part for us," Worsfold said.

"He came in to play as a target forward and to do a little bit of ruck work, and I was really pleased with the way he got through that."