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Dons set for forward boost

BTV: SKINS Injury Update - Rd 9 With Physical Performance Manager, Justin Crow.
Jayden (Laverde) has fully training this week and we expect him to be available."
Justin Crow

Essendon is set to receive a goalkicking boost with three forwards expected to be available to return to the senior line-up for Saturday’s clash with Fremantle.

Club physical performance manager Justin Crow said versatile 23-year-old Jayden Laverde is on track after overcoming a hamstring strain that has kept him off the field in the last fortnight.

“Jayden’s fully training this week and we expect him to be available, assuming that all goes well, this weekend,” Crow said on the SKINS Injury Update.

Experienced Bombers Joe Daniher and Mark Baguley have trained well and are also in line to put their hand up for selection after taking time to rest and recover over the weekend.

Joe Daniher and Mark Baguley are fresh and ready to return to this week. (Image: AFL Photos)

The trio could add some much-needed life to the side’s depleted forward line, with the Bombers booting just 27 goals in the club’s winless last three weeks.

One forward who won’t be able to contribute on the scoreboard is Orazio Fantasia, with the club confirming on Monday that the dangerous forward is set for a stint on the sidelines.

Fantasia kicked four goals against Sydney last week, but Crow said the Bombers are likely to be without the 23-year-old until after the mid-season bye.

“Raz was kicking a ball during the game against Sydney and he’s picked up a quadricep strain, it’s an epimysial strain, which means it’s just the surface part of the muscle.

“We’ve set the prognosis at two to three weeks, it’s more likely to be three weeks, which actually means he won’t be available until after the end of the mid-season break.

“We’ll still be tracking him day by day and getting him going as quick as possible.”

Orazio Fantasia is unlikely to return until after the round 12 bye. (Image: AFL Photos)

2018 Crichton Medal winner Devon Smith is also under an injury cloud following knee discomfort against the Swans and Crow said a specialist appointment will shed more light on the issue.

“During the Sydney game, Devon had three sharp episodes in his knee in a different spot to what he’d had over the last couple of years with his knee having a PCL deficiency, which means the PCL isn’t present.

“He’s got a new lesion within the knee, so he will be off for a specialist opinion this week and we’ll be able to update further once we’ve got more direction from the specialist.”

Young midfielder Trent Mynott failed to play in the VFL against Casey on Saturday and he is once again not expected to take the field this week.

“Trent had some calf tightness early last week. When we eventually got a look at that, because it wasn’t improving, (we discovered) he’s got a minor calf strain on the outside of the muscle and he’ll miss another one to two weeks,” Crow said.

 

Fellow onballer Kobe Mutch (hamstring), key forward James Stewart (groin) and young Bomber Tom Jok (knee) remain on the sidelines, but the club could see at least three more Bombers stake their claim for selection next week ahead of the Dreamtime at the ‘G clash with Richmond.

Crow said key-position Dons Shaun McKernan (hamstring) and Mitch Brown (wrist), and defender Marty Gleeson (cheek bone) are all tracking well in their rehabilitation.

“Shaun’s back in full training this week, he won’t be available this weekend, but we’re expecting him to be available for the following match.

“(Brown and Gleeson), with their different fractures, are having a specialist review this week and then we’re hoping to get the good news that they’re both then available to play the week after this.

“Both of those will be doing as much training as they can this coming week.”

The senior Bombers take on Fremantle at 7:25pm on Saturday at Marvel Stadium, while the VFL side will take on Sandringham away from 2:10pm on Sunday.