Dylan Shiel is in the frame to return for the Bombers.
Dylan Shiel is in the frame to return for the Bombers.

AFL Barometer: Dons set to regain stars

ESSENDON expect to welcome back injured duo Dylan Shiel and Jake Stringer for their Friday night clash against Hawthorn.

Shiel and Stringer were injured in the club's Round 10 defeat to Richmond and missed the club's victory over Carlton.

The Bombers had the bye in Round 12, giving the pair extra time to recover before the club's crunch game against the Hawks.

Essendon coach John Worsfold said Shiel and Stringer were both in line to bolster the Bombers' side.

But he stopped short of guaranteeing young on-baller Dylan Clarke, who kept Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps to 11 disposals, would play.

"Our line-up will be based specifically around match-ups," he said.

"There's no guarantee we'll go with a tagger, but even then we still might find a role for Dylan Clarke."

Worsfold said forward Orazio Fantasia needed to "tick more boxes" to return from a quad injury.

TIGERS CONFIDENT MARTIN WILL FACE CROWS

Meanwhile, Richmond believe Dustin Martin will take on Adelaide on Thursday as the Tigers attempt to bounce back from a heavy loss for the third time this season.

Dustin Martin is under an injury cloud. Picture: Michael Klein
Dustin Martin is under an injury cloud. Picture: Michael Klein

The undermanned Tigers have 15 players on their injury list and must fly into enemy territory against an Adelaide side with only Tom Doedee (knee) and Tom Lynch (calf) unavailable.

Adelaide are not only in marauding form, they have ruckman Reilly O'Brien and forward Josh Jenkins in form in areas of weakness for the Tigers given their injuries.

Richmond football boss Neil Balme said Martin, who was hobbling after copping a cork on Friday night, was expected to train on Tuesday then play, with wingman Brandon Ellis (groin) also likely to be available after missing Friday night's heavy loss to Geelong.

But key defender David Astbury is likely to miss again as he battles a hamstring injury, with Jack Riewoldt, Toby Nankervis, Jayden Short and Kane Lambert still some weeks away.

The Tigers lost by 49 points against GWS in Round 3 and defeated Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval the following week.

Then in Round 7 they lost to the Western Bulldogs by 47 points and bounced back by knocking over Fremantle in Perth.

Balme said the Tigers were disappointed with their second and third quarters against the Cats.

"We would be very surprised if he (Martin) doesn't play. We haven't heard any discussion he won't be," he said.

"With Astbury they don't think we will take a risk on it, particularly with another week behind it. It hasn't responded as quickly as we would like.

"We will have to see how they respond tomorrow but we would be reasonably surprised if (Nick Vlastuin, hip) didn't get up.

"Our response this year has been really positive every game we have had. We have recovered a couple of times after being in tough positions."

Adelaide ruckman O'Brien has been in exceptional form, taking the honours against GWS veteran Shane Mumford last week and will believe he can get on top of Ivan Soldo.

Likewise, the Tigers will have to hold up in defence against Taylor Walker and Jenkins, with Ryan Garthwaite struggling to contain Tom Hawkins last week.

The Tigers could recall Nathan Broad if they need defensive cover alongside Garthwaite and Dylan Grimes, while Shai Bolton responded to his dumping with 11 tackles and 25 possessions in the VFL.

Tom Lynch celebrates a goal with co-captain Taylor Walker. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Tom Lynch celebrates a goal with co-captain Taylor Walker. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

ADELAIDE

Adelaide forward Tom Lynch has been ruled out of Thursday night's clash against Richmond due to a calf strain. Lynch withdrew from the side that toppled Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval after injuring his calf in the pre-game warm-up.

Crows science and medical services coordinator Steve Saunders said scans had confirmed a low-level strain, which meant Lynch would miss consecutive games.

"MRI has today confirmed the initial clinical assessment, that being of a low-level calf strain involving the central aponeurosis," Saunders said.

"Tom will be unavailable for selection this week as he commences treatment and rehabilitation. We will re-evaluate his progress at the end of the week and aim to make training progressions (to) prepare for the Geelong game after the bye."

Forward Jordan Gallucci suffered a cork but played out the game, so should be fine to face the Tigers while No.1 ruckman Sam Jacobs played a second game in the SANFL and will be back in the selection mix after a knee injury.

INJURIES

Tom Doedee (knee) season

Tom Lynch (calf)

BRISBANE LIONS

Captain Dayne Zorko was the only injury concern for Brisbane to come out of its disappointing loss to Carlton after he copped a knock to his hip in a marking contest with Sam Walsh.

Zorko appeared trouble by the knock but then returned to the field and then played out the match.

With a bye this week, he should be fine to face St Kilda in Round 14. Ryan Bastinac could be in line for a re-call after he was best afield in the club's NEAFL win against Gold Coast. Big man Oscar McInerney was another who impressed.

INJURIES

Dayne Zorko (hip) test

Marcus Adams (knee) 3 weeks

Zac Bailey (hamstring) 1-3 weeks

Jarrod Berry (knee) 5-7 weeks

Ryan Lester (groin) test

Ely Smith (foot) 5 weeks

Carlton hopes Marc Murphy could be back for Round 13 after recovering from a rib injury. Picture: Phil Hillyard.
Carlton hopes Marc Murphy could be back for Round 13 after recovering from a rib injury. Picture: Phil Hillyard.

CARLTON

"It's a good question. I probably should know that, shouldn't I?"

Don't expect David Teague to play doctor in his time in charge of Carlton.

Understandably, the Blues' caretaker coach has enough on his plate as he embarks on a three-month stint in the top job.

Teague admitted he didn't know what Lochie O'Brien's exact problem was after he limped to the bench in the last quarter against the Brisbane Lions and sat out the rest of the game.

"That's probably one of my growth areas, to bring this time of information to these meetings," he joked.

Marc Murphy? "I think Murph's close."

Liam Jones? "I'm not sure where Liam is."

"This week was just such a whirlwind week, I just said: 'Who's available?'.

"To be honest, going forward I'll be a bit that way. I know our medical and high-performance staff are excellent and when they're ready to go, they're ready to go."

INJURIES

Lochie O'Brien (leg) TBC

Liam Stocker (foot) TBC

Tom De Koning (knee) 2-3 weeks

Sam Docherty (knee) indefinite

Liam Jones (concussion) test

Mitch McGovern (ankle) test

Marc Murphy (ribs) test

Jarrod Pickett (knee) indefinite

Tom Williamson (back) 3 weeks

COLLINGWOOD

Collingwood enters their bye sitting second on the ladder with a 9-3 record, but coach Nathan Buckley is far from content.

While Buckley said his side took a "step in the right direction" against Melbourne on Queen's Birthday in a 41-point win, he said the coaches "haven't liked our last month".

"We've played some good footy this year, but it just hasn't been as consistent (as we'd like)," Buckley said. "We've still got a way to go."

The coach revealed after the win over the Demons that ruckman Brodie Grundy has been battling a neck injury which had put him in doubt for the match.

Asked how likely Taylor Adams (groin) and Jamie Elliott (hamstring) were to be available for the Magpies' Round 14 clash with Western Bulldogs after the bye, Buckley said it was too early to tell.

"They're both training really well," Buckley said. "They've had two or three weeks where they've got some pretty good load in and they're both looking forward to playing, they'll be pushing the docs pretty hard. Both of them are training through our break with the intent of putting their hand up."

INJURIES

Taylor Adams (groin) 1-2 weeks

Flynn Appleby (ankle) test

Dayne Beams (hip) 12 weeks

Lynden Dunn (knee) season

Jamie Elliott (hamstring) 1-2 weeks

Will Kelly (leg) 6-9 weeks

Tom Langdon (knee) 4 weeks

Nathan Murphy (ankle) indefinite

Sam Murray (provisional suspension) TBC

Daniel Wells (knee) 12 weeks

Jake Stringer could provide a boost for injury-hit Essendon after the byes. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Jake Stringer could provide a boost for injury-hit Essendon after the byes. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

ESSENDON

The Bombers will hope to regain prime movers Dylan Shiel and Jake Stringer from hamstring injuries when they tackle Hawthorn on Friday night.

The key pair were injured during the club's Dreamtime at the G loss to Richmond in Round 10 and missed their side's victory over Carlton last weekend.

Orazio Fantasia is the other Bomber who the club will assess this week after a quad concern kept him out in recent weeks. James Stewart has been close to returning from a groin injury but is likely to come through the VFL.

INJURIES

Joe Daniher (groin) season

Sam Draper (knee) season

Orazio Fantasia (quad) test

Kobe Mutch (hamstring) 2-3 weeks

Dylan Shiel (hamstring) test

Devon Smith (knee) season

James Stewart (groin) 1-2 weeks

Jake Stringer (hamstring) test

Rory Lobb could miss the rest of the season.
Rory Lobb could miss the rest of the season.

FREMANTLE

Fremantle has suffered a massive blow with ruckman Rory Lobb in danger of missing the rest of the AFL season after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot.

Just days after ruling out key defender Alex Pearce for the remainder of the campaign, the Dockers revealed Lobb would miss "an extended period" after injuring his right foot in last week's win over Collingwood at the MCG.

The Dockers have notset a timeline for Lobb's return but the injury is notoriously slow to heal.

Stephen Hill (quad) is the key Docker who has been on the sidelines set for a welcome return in coming weeks. The dashing wingman is yet to play a game this year due to calf and quad issues.

Pearce (ankle) and fringe midfielder Stefan Giro (knee) have been ruled out for the season, along with key forward Matt Taberner (foot).

In positive news, No. 17 draft pick Sam Sturt is close to playing again after battling concussion following a heavy collision in the WAFL in late April.

INJURIES

Sean Darcy (ankle) test

Hugh Dixon (hamstring) 2 weeks

Stefan Giro (knee) season

Stephen Hill (quad) 1-2 weeks

Shane Kersten (foot) TBC

Rory Lobb (foot) TBC

Alex Pearce (ankle) season

Aaron Sandilands (calf) TBC

Sam Sturt (concussion) 1 week

Matt Taberner (foot) season

Luke Valente (groin) 2 weeks

Esava Ratugolea hurt his hamstring in Geelong’s victory over Richmond. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith.
Esava Ratugolea hurt his hamstring in Geelong’s victory over Richmond. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith.

GEELONG

Patrick Dangerfield is convinced Geelong's recent hoodoo after the bye weekend holds no relevance this year given the restructuring of the Cats' team.

The Cats head to the break at 11-1 after an extraordinary start to the season.

"We understand it is there (the past history), we are not naive enough to just bury our heads in the sand," Dangerfield said.

"But it's just a different team we have this year. I look at that and say it might historically have happened, but this is a totally new unit, and that give me confidence.

"We've got to confront that (the bye), the only way to confront it is to prepare as best as we can."

The Cats are confident forward Esava Ratugolea (hamstring tightness) will be right to play immediately after the break.

INJURIES

Esava Ratugolea (hamstring) TBC

Nakia Cockatoo (knee) 6-8 weeks

Jordan Cunico (ankle) 6-8 weeks

Lachie Henderson (plantar fascia) 1-2 weeks

Sam Menegola (knee) 2-3 weeks

Quinton Narkle (hamstring) 3-4 weeks

Gold Coast’s Jordan Murdoch limps off the ground with a suspected ankle injury. Picture: Getty Images
Gold Coast’s Jordan Murdoch limps off the ground with a suspected ankle injury. Picture: Getty Images

GOLD COAST

Half-back flanker Jordan Murdoch's ankle injury was the key concern for Gold Coast out of their loss to North Melbourne.

The former Cat missed the last quarter against North Melbourne after limping off and will be under a cloud as the Suns prepare to face St Kilda.

Callum Ah Chee kicked two goals and was named Gold Coast's best in their NEAFL loss to Brisbane, while former Tiger Corey Ellis was another who impressed and would be a like-for-like replacement with Murdoch.

INJURIES

Jordan Murdoch (ankle) test

Ben Ainsworth (foot) 5-7 weeks

Josh Schoenfeld (knee soreness) test

Jack Bowes (quad) 8 weeks

Sam Collins (hip) 4 weeks

Pearce Hanley (quad) 3-4 weeks

Jarrod Harbrow (groin) test

Sean Lemmens (ankle) 5 weeks

Izak Rankine (hamstring) 1-2 weeks

Brad Scheer (hand) 1-3 weeks

Rory Thompson (knee) season

Harrison Wigg (knee) season

Aaron Young (knee) 2 weeks

Jackson Hately has starred in the NEAFL. Picture: Matt Loxton
Jackson Hately has starred in the NEAFL. Picture: Matt Loxton

GWS GIANTS

Has the time come for Jackson Hately to return to the Giants side? He could hardly have done more to press his case in the NEAFL and was GWS' winning possession-getter as its reserves defeated Sydney by 25 points.

Hately missed out on a late call-up after Toby Greene (calf) withdrew as Leon Cameron preferred Daniel Lloyd to the rising star.

Small forward Zac Langdon was another who shone in the NEAFL with three goals.

Defender Nick Haynes hurt his ankle in a marking contest and will be the key concern this week along with Greene.

INJURIES

Toby Greene (calf) test

Jye Caldwell (calf) 3 weeks

Aidan Corr (calf) 3 weeks

Jonathon Patton (knee) TBC

Tommy Sheridan (calf) 2 weeks

Zac Sproule (knee) 6-8 weeks

Callan Ward (knee) season

Lachie Whitfield (collarbone) 4 weeks

Chad Wingard has endured a frustrating first season at Hawthorn. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty Images.
Chad Wingard has endured a frustrating first season at Hawthorn. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty Images.

HAWTHORN

The Hawks shape as one of the most intriguing teams to watch in the run home. Are they trying to rebuild on the run or will they bottom out?

Al Clarkson unashamedly is looking to the future but wins against Essendon and Sydney in the next two weeks would probably put Hawthorn back in the eight.

Chad Wingard won't feature in either clash - he's still listed as "TBC" on the club injury list after suffering a second hamstring injury, but Jarryd Roughead is available and willing if needed.

INJURIES

Grant Birchall (calf/knee) indefinite

Ben McEvoy (ankle) 2-4 weeks

Darren Minchington (hamstring) test

Tom Mitchell (broken leg) indefinite

Tim Mohr (dislocated knee/ACL) season

Ryan Schoenmakers (calf) test

Jack Scrimshaw (knee) 3-5 weeks

Chad Wingard (hamstring) TBC

Steven May will be key for the Demons. Pic: Michael Klein.
Steven May will be key for the Demons. Pic: Michael Klein.

MELBOURNE

For the first time this season, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin feels like there's genuine selection pressure.

The Dees are starting to get some players back from injury and Kade Kolodjashnij, Jordan Lewis, Corey Wagner and Jay Kennedy-Harris all had strong games in the VFL.

Clearly, Melbourne desperately needs to fix the midfield-forward connection issues which have destroyed its season, so anyone who can hit a target will be front of mind.

The Dees will have the bye this week before they meet Jesse Hogan for the first time since his departure to Fremantle.

The match-up against Steven May will be must-watch, given Melbourne effectively swapped one for the other in the trade period.

INJURIES

Tim Smith (ill) TBC

Neville Jetta (knee) 6-8 weeks

Corey Maynard (concussion) 1 week

Jake Melksham (foot) 4-6 weeks

Aaron Nietschke (nee) season

Harry Petty (knee) test

Joel Smith (groin) 4-6 weeks

Aaron vandenBerg (ankle) 6-8 weeks

Guy Walker (shoulder) indefinite

Shaun Higgins was ruled out of North Melbourne’s clash against Gold Coast before half-time.
Shaun Higgins was ruled out of North Melbourne’s clash against Gold Coast before half-time.

NORTH MELBOURNE

North Melbourne turned to its young guns to fill the midfield void left by Shaun Higgins' shoulder injury on Saturday and is facing an extended period without the silky midfielder.

Tarryn Thomas, Luke Davies-Uniacke and Jy Simpkin stepped up in Higgins' absence, impressing interim coach Rhyce Shaw.

Brad Scott's replacement flagged Higgins would be scanned on Monday to determine the extent of his injury. "It doesn't look good, but we will have to assess that," Shaw said.

Skipper Jack Ziebell underwent a concussion test after a heavy hit from Jack Martin but played on.

INJURIES

Shaun Higgins (AC joint) TBC

Aaron Hall (knee) TBC

Majak Daw (pelvis/hips) indefinite

Ben Jacobs (head/neck) indefinite

Jamie Macmillan (calf) 1 week

Tom McKenzie (back) TBC

Dom Tyson (calf) 1-2 weeks

Ed Vickers-Willis (knee) season

Will Walker (knee) indefinite

Tom Wilkinson (ankle) 4-5 weeks

Sam Wright (ankle) 2-3 weeks

Tom Rockliff could line up for Port Adelaide. Picture: AAP Image/David Mariuz.
Tom Rockliff could line up for Port Adelaide. Picture: AAP Image/David Mariuz.

PORT ADELAIDE

While most AFL clubs' VFL affiliates matched their bye, Port was fortunate to play a SANFL game against Sturt - the perfect vehicle for Ollie Wines and Charlie Dixon to make their returns from injury.

Both shone, with Wines picking up 32 disposals and 10 tackles and Dixon kicking five goals in his first game for nine months. Will he come straight into the senior line-up? 

Willem Drew (29 disposals) Peter Ladhams (46 hit-outs) also impressed while Tom Rockliff is expected to be available for Port's clash against Fremantle, a game that will be crucial in deciding placings at the bottom end of the top eight - something we didn't expect to be saying at the start of the season.

INJURIES

Brad Ebert (concussion) 1-2 weeks

Sam Hayes (glandular fever) 2-3 weeks

Jake Patmore (knee) season

Tom Rockliff (hamstring) test

Jack Trengove (leg) 2-3 weeks

Jack Watts (leg) indefinite

Richmond is facing more time without key defender David Astbury. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith.
Richmond is facing more time without key defender David Astbury. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith.

RICHMOND

Can Richmond hang around the top eight long enough to stay in touching distance of the top four until a final seven-match stretch of matches at the MCG?

Right now it needs to stem the bleeding against Adelaide away next Thursday night with the reality its injury list might get longer rather than shorter.

Dustin Martin should play despite a corked leg, but there is an injury cloud over Nick Vlastuin (hip) and Damien Hardwick suggested on Friday night David Astbury (hamstring) and Brandon Ellis (groin) might only return after the Round 14 bye.

In the VFL on Saturday Shai Bolton had 12 tackles and Nathan Broad performed strongly, so they will both come into the mix against the Crows.

But can the Tigers eke out enough wins until Jack Riewoldt, Toby Nankervis and Kane Lambert return after that bye?

Given the way Geelong taught them a football lesson in the last three quarters on Friday night with little resistance, that is a valid question.

INJURIES

Nick Vlastuin (hip) test

Dustin Martin (corked leg) test

David Astbury (hamstring) test

Brandon Ellis (groin) test

Luke English (shoulder) 4-6 weeks

Kane Lambert (achilles) 2-3 weeks

Oleg Markov (illness) test

Callum Moore (ankle) 6-8 weeks

Toby Nankervis (adductor) 4-6 weeks

Marlion Pickett (finger) 8-10 weeks

Alex Rance (knee) season

Jack Riewoldt (PCL) 4-5 weeks

Jack Ross (ankle) 4-6 weeks

Jayden Short (elbow) 3-4 weeks

Dan Hannebery makes a successful comeback from injury in the VFL.
Dan Hannebery makes a successful comeback from injury in the VFL.

ST KILDA

The Saints gave their players some time off after the Shanghai disaster, and fixtures against Gold Coast (away) and Brisbane (hope) give them the chance to reboot a stalled season.

Skipper Jarryn Geary won't be back for a while, but Blake Acres should be available and top draft pick Max King is closing on an AFL debut after building form in the VFL.

Dan Hannebery played his first game of the year for Sandringham last week (the VFL side also had the bye this weekend) and picked up 24 disposals in three quarters.

"I'll get a solid week of training in and reassess in the next week or two," Hannebery told the Saints website. "My gut feel is at least another one or so games in the VFL, but we'll wait and see."

INJURIES

Blake Acres (ill) test

Logan Austin (shoulder) indefinite

Jack Bytel (back) season

Jake Carlisle (back) 3-5 weeks

Jarryn Geary (leg) 8-10 weeks

Jack Lonie (knee) 3-5 weeks

Jonathon Marsh (ill) test

Paddy McCartin (concussion) season

Daniel McKenzie (ill) test

Lewis Pierce (concussion) test

Dylan Roberton (heart) season

Sam Rowe (shoulder) test

Jack Steven (mental health) indefinite

Jimmy Webster (hand) 2-3 weeks

Josh Kennedy is in line for a return. Pic: Getty Images
Josh Kennedy is in line for a return. Pic: Getty Images

SYDNEY

Sydney hopes to regain several key players including Josh Kennedy after their Round 13 bye, although their win against West Coast did come at a cost.

Irishman Colin O'Riordan suffered concussion after a heavy tackle from Willie Rioli, Jackson Thurlow was on the end of a hefty bump from ruckman Nathan Vardy and veteran Jarrad McVeigh suffered a thigh injury.

The week off should have O'Riordan and Thurlow in the mix for Round 14, however McVeigh will be touch and go.

INJURIES

Colin O'Riordan (concussion) test

Jarrad McVeigh (thigh) TBC

Jackson Thurlow (head) test

Harry Cunningham (quad) 3-5 weeks

Robbie Fox (ankle) 1-2 weeks

Kieren Jack (hip) 2-3 weeks

Zak Jones (hamstring) 1-2 weeks

Josh Kennedy (knee) 2-3 weeks

Matthew Ling (foot) 4-6 weeks

Jack Maibaum (knee) season

Sam Naismith (knee) TBC

Nick Smith (hamstring) TBC

Durak Tucker (knee) indefinite

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui is getting closer to returning from a knee injury. Picture: Michael Klein.
West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui is getting closer to returning from a knee injury. Picture: Michael Klein.

WEST COAST

While forwards Liam Ryan and Jamie Cripps were assessed during the game, West Coast got out of Sydney without a major injury worry.

The Eagles have been confident skipper Shannon Hurn will shake off a hamstring strain to be back by Round 14, while the pending return of key defender Tom Barrass will be a huge boost.

West Coast had long targeted the period after its Round 13 bye to welcome back Nic Naitanui and he cannot return soon enough after Callum Sinclair got the better of Nathan Vardy and Tom Hickey.

INJURIES

Shannon Hurn (hamstring) 1-2 weeks

Oscar Allen (ankle) TBC

Tom Barrass (foot) 3-4 weeks

Patrick Bines (hernia) TBC

Hamish Brayshaw (toe) test

Harry Edwards (foot) TBC

Fraser McInnes (shoulder) 1 week

Nic Naitanui (knee) indefinite

Daniel Venables (concussion) TBC

Francis Watson (shoulder) test

High-flying Hayden Crozier could return from a toe injury in Round 13 after Western Bulldogs bye. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images.
High-flying Hayden Crozier could return from a toe injury in Round 13 after Western Bulldogs bye. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Can the Dogs make a late-season push for the finals? The bottom end of the eight is incredibly tight and the talent is there, but a percentage of 88.7 is going to make it tough unless they can get on a serious roll.

A date with the buoyant Blues isn't as clear-cut as they might have thought, with the Dogs well aware of the impact of a coach sacking bounce after copping the Kangaroos in Brad Scott's last game in charge.

At least they're a chance to get a few players back including Hayden Crozier and Taylor Duryea.

INJURIES

Hayden Crozier (toe) test

Taylor Duryea (hip) test

Dale Morris (knee) test

Fergus Greene (shoulder) TBC

Mitch Wallis (ankle) TBC

Josh Schache (concussion) test

Lukas Webb (ankle) 6-8 weeks