SDK ‘likely to play’ in R3, Nic Martin locked in, Hobbs debut flag, Beveridge reassures English’s no.1 ruck status

Geelong coach Chris Scott declared Sam De Koning is ‘likely’ to play in Round 3, while Essendon coach Ben Rutten confirmed Nic Martin’s return and Tim English’s number one ruck status was discussed.

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THURSDAY TEAMS

Ins: B.Smith, Amartey

Outs: B.Williams, Crozier, Sheldrick, McDonald

Emgs/possible subs: McComb

Aaron Naughton (AF $564k SC $386k FWD) was named after some worries about a calf cork, which could’ve forced a potential swing for Tim English (AF $717k SC $482k R/F) to go forward and Stefan Martin to lead the ruck duties.

Dogs coach Luke Beveridge spoke about English as number one ruck: “We feel Tim is really ready. His role has evolved, we’re doing it a bit differently with how we play the turnover game & how he sets up at stoppages… Last year when we lost Brucey, we needed Tim forward.”

Beveridge also offered some reassurances on the fitness of Marcus Bontempelli (AF $887k SC $651k MID) who had an ankle worry in Round 1 and was swung forward in Round 2.

He said: “He’s fine. That was more a strategic move (to go forward)… He carries niggles and discomfort with a great deal of resilience.”

Justin McInerney (AF $583k SC $411k D/M) was listed as a test for Round 3 but hasn’t been named. Sydney Head of Physiotherapy and Medical Services Damian Raper: “Missed last week with his knee sprain, he’s progressing well and will be a test in training this week.”

UPDATES

Geelong coach Chris Scott declared that Sam De Koning (AF $190k SC $123k D/F) is likely to play in Round 3 after clearing concussion protocols.

Scott said: “Likely (to play). He’s available. We are getting some players back so selection gets harder for us, but it’s likely he’ll play.”

The Cats coach also provided an update on Cooper Stephens’ (AF $190k SC $123k MID) chances of getting a game. He said: “Pretty close to being in the squad… We feel after the last two years, he’s been deprived of consistency in the VFL program. We’re determined to give Cooper a bit of a go at a decent lower-level competition.”

Essendon coach Ben Rutten declared Nic Martin (AF $266k SC $102k FWD) will play as well after coming out of protocols, while Dylan Shiel (AF $773k SC $361k MID) looks likely after a side strain. He said: “Martin will come back in. We need to see how Shiel goes in main training today before making the call on him.”

Essendon’s first pick in the 2021 Draft, Ben Hobbs (AF $266k SC $153k MID) is also in the mix to make his debut. Rutten said: “Hobbs is absolutely a chance (to make debut). He had a strong performance on the weekend and will be in the mix.”

Kaine Baldwin (AF $194k SC $123k FWD) was dropped after Round 1 but kicked three goals in the VFL last weekend. Rutten said: “We’re pleased with what Baldwin is doing but can’t forget he’s only four games back from a knee reconstruction. It’s a sign of his character to come back and kick three goals. We see him as a long-term player for us.”

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