Essendon could welcome back star midfielder Andrew McGrath in Sunday's clash with Gold Coast at GMHBA Stadium.

The 23-year-old joins returning captain Dyson Heppell, Andrew Phillips and Brayden Ham as inclusions to an extended bench, while last week's unused medical sub Archie Perkins has been named on the half-forward flank.

Should McGrath be named in the final team on Friday, it will mark his first game at any level since suffering a PCL injury against Richmond in round 12.

Returning captain Dyson Heppell on the track this week. (Photo: AFL Photos)

The Bombers have opted to manage Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, ending the small forward's run of 115 consecutive games.

General manager of football Josh Mahoney said McDonald-Tipungwuti needed a "reset" to recapture his best form.

“Unfortunately, Anthony has been struggling away from football, and as a result it was determined it was in his best interest that he misses this weekend’s game,” Mahoney said.

“In recent days, we all came together to develop a plan to best support him moving forward and this will include a heavy training block over the next 10 days to get him back to the fitness levels that saw him impacting games in the early stages of the year. This will be an important reset for him and as always, Anthony has our full and utmost support.”

Essendon will name its final 22-man team at 5pm AEST on Friday.


Backs: Jayden Laverde, James Stewart, Tom Cutler
Half-backs: Mason Redman, Jordan Ridley, Nick Hind
Centreline: Dylan Shiel, Zach Merrett, Sam Durham
Half-forwards: Devon Smith, Aaron Francis, Archie Perkins
Forwards: Jake Stringer, Peter Wright, Will Snelling
Followers: Sam Draper, Darcy Parish, Dylan Clarke
Extended interchange: Martin Gleeson, Dyson Heppell, Nik Cox, Matt Guelfi, Alec Waterman, Andrew Phillips, Brayden Ham, Andrew McGrath

In: McGrath, Heppell, Perkins, Ham, Phillips

Out: McDonald-Tipungwuti (managed)

Last week's medical sub: Perkins (not used)