New-found confidence has been the key for Jordan Ridley. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Essendon has this week modified its training schedule to account for the AFL’s condensed fixture which sees the Bombers have a four-day break between rounds 11 and 12.

Facing Gold Coast on Wednesday night at Metricon Stadium, the Bombers will then head up the highway to the Gabba in Brisbane to face St Kilda on Sunday. 

“There’s been a big focus this week on recovery, beginning immediately after the game on Friday night (against GWS),” head of medical services David Rundle said. 

“We’ve had the good fortune of being able to use the Bond University High Performance Centre which has a number of hot and cold contrast baths and a swimming pool with the walking lane in it which has been helpful and we will continue to use these facilities over the course of the week.  


“The players obviously need to be particularly mindful of their extracurricular activities and being low-key. There’s been modification to the workload on the training track and our main skills session didn’t go for long as usual to try and assist in the management of the programs. 

“However, the volume is higher during a normal week of pre-season so we’re confident our players are feeling good and will be ready for the week ahead.”  

The club will go into Wednesday’s clash needing to make at least one forced change, with Jacob Townsend ruled out after suffering concussion during Friday night’s game against the GWS Giants.  

“Jacob sustained a heavy knock to the cheekbone early in the first quarter and following a head injury assessment he was deemed unfit to return to play. His face was significantly swollen after the game, and subsequently he had a CT scan which cleared him of any facial fractures,” Rundle said. 

“The main issue for Jacob this week is that he must follow the concussion protocols which unfortunately rules him out for the Wednesday game but provided all goes well he should be available for the round 12 game against St Kilda.”

Breakout star Jordan Ridley will be managed conservatively with the club’s medical department still yet to make a call on his availability for the round 11 clash. 

“Jordan sustained a heavy knock late in the game (on Friday). We took a conservative approach with him and he didn’t return to play. Given the short turnaround this week we’ll continue to be conservative with him with the view to potentially play him for the St Kilda game,” Rundle said. 

“The decision on whether he plays this Wednesday or not is yet to be made."

Meanwhile, Cale Hooker remains an outside chance to return to the senior side later this week as he nears a complete recovery from a calf strain.

Orazio Fantasia is also recovering from a calf injury, but less progressed than Hooker.

“Both are recovering from calf strains. Cale is progressing very well and starting to integrate back in with the main training group. He won’t be available to play on Wednesday and the decision about whether he plays on Sunday will be left until later in the week,” Rundle said. 

“Orazio has been a little bit slower to progress. He did sustain his injury a week after Cale and he’s not at the point yet where he’s available to train with the group.”

Pleasingly, star forward Jake Stringer is building his running loads following ankle surgery. 

Jake Stringer runs on the track on Monday. (Photo: Essendon FC)

“Jake is now five weeks since his ankle syndesmosis stabilisation surgery. He is progressing really well, and his foot and ankle strength has come a long way over the past week and he’s now up and running. How quickly he comes up will be determined by how well he responds to the increased running loads and we’ll continue to monitor that.”


Jordan Ridley Ribs Test for round 11
Jacob Townsend Concussion Test for round 12
Cale Hooker Calf Test for round 12
Orazio Fantasia Calf 1-2 weeks
Jake Stringer Syndesmosis 2-3 weeks
Jayden Laverde Syndesmosis 5-6 weeks
Patrick Ambrose Foot Indefinite
Lachlan Johnson Knee Indefinite
Joe Daniher Groin/Calf Indefinite
Dyson Heppell Ankle Indefinite
Tom Hird Foot Indefinite
Updated Tuesday, August 11