Essendon have ruled out key forward Jake Carlisle for Saturday night’s AFL elimination final against North Melbourne because of a hamstring injury.
Carlisle missed last weekend’s final-round clash against Carlton with what had been described as a “one-week hamstring”.
But coach Mark Thompson says he always knew Carlisle would be unable to make a quick return for the cut-throat encounter with the Kangaroos, despite what the club’s medical staff had told him.
“He’s had a scan today and I think they’ve decided he’s going to miss one game, so he’s not playing,” Thompson told reporters on Monday.
“I haven’t seen the scan myself. They’re just saying there’s something there still … there’s damage there.
“So he’s not playing.
“When you have a scan and they say ‘he’s done a hammy’ and then ‘it’s a one-week hammy, we’ll test him Monday again’, I pretty much knew it was going to be two weeks.”
Carlisle’s absence means ruck-forward Tom Bellchambers, who came into the side last round, is set to hold his spot for the MCG clash on Saturday night.
Bellchambers would provide valuable ruck back-up for Paddy Ryder, allowing the latter to push forward and support Joe Daniher.
Ryder and Daniher kicked two goals apiece in Saturday’s draw against Carlton, a result which Thompson acknowledged was not a good dress rehearsal for an elimination final.
“You quickly forget about that and just look forward to the game coming,” he said.
“I know we’ll get the good Essendon. The players are just ready for it.
“They’ll be fine.
“The plan is to start well and play well all day.
“If it doesn’t happen, well the thing is we’ve got pretty good experience at coming back.”
Thompson said David Myers, who missed last week’s game because of illness, would definitely come back into the side this week.
“Apart from that, not too many (changes),” he said.
Mark Baguley was in no doubt despite a cut head last week.
“He’s pretty hard to knock out. He’s got a hard head,” Thompson said.
“He’ll pass the (concussion) test. He probably didn’t get a great score in the first place.”