Boak ‘will play’, Heppell out but Bombers debutant flagged, Goodwin on Gawn role
Travis Boak stays in the Port side despite an injury scare, Ben Brown returns potentially impacting Max Gawn, while Dyson Heppell is ruled out with a Bombers rookie flagged for a debut.
Ins: Butters, Clurey, Brown
Outs: Farrell (inj), Frederick, Bonner, vandenBerg, Sparrow
Relevant holds: Bergman, Boak
Relevant possible subs: Frederick
Port coach Ken Hinkley confirmed in the morning that Zak Butters (AF $616k SC $501k M/F) would return. He also offered reassurance on Travis Boak (AF $730k SC $513k MID) who went in for a scan on Monday.
Hinkley said: “Travis Boak is fine. He is a professional. He looks after his body. He went in for scans and the scans came back fine. He will play.”
Ben Brown (AF $451k SC $268k FWD) is in for Melbourne and it was asked if that may impact the role of Max Gawn (AF $800k SC $605k RUCK).
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said: “We’ll continue to share the ruck load… Max still provides us a target forward of the ball, there will be times when Luke’s (Jackson) down there & Max’s down there.”
Essendon coach Ben Rutten was asked about mid-season draftee Sam Durham (AF $170k SC $102k D/M), stating they felt he was AFL-ready when they picked him up.
Rutten said: “He is (in the mix). He’s played a few games for us and is looking better and better. We like what he brings. Physically he’s got some strong traits, uses the ball well, it’s about finding the right time.”
One Bomber who won’t play this week is captain Dyson Heppell (AF $693k SC $512k D/M*). Rutten said: “He had a little thumb operation this morning, so he won’t play this week. Hopefully it’ll just be a week.”
Rutten was asked about the progress of the injured Dylan Shiel (AF $722k SC $548k MID). He said: “We just want him to get back and training with the group. He’s a couple of weeks away from that. We feel confident that he’ll be able to come back in and compliment our group.”
Freo coach Justin Longmuir also insisted Nat Fyfe (AF $629k SC $505k M/F*) will play this round amid speculation about his shoulder.
Matthew Nicks, David Teague, Leon Cameron, Chris Scott and Adam Simpson are all scheduled to speak to the media, while we’ll get the Thursday teams.