In today’s AFL briefing, your daily wrap of footy news:
- Magpies refuse to take risks, especially with De Goey
- Seedsman becomes latest AFL player to retire because of head trauma
- Essendon hopeful Draper and Stringer can be recalled for Giants clash
De Goey, Hill out of Lions clash
Collingwood’s injury list continues to grow, with Jordan De Goey and Bobby Hill ruled out of Friday night’s top-of-the-table clash with the Brisbane Lions.
But Magpies coach Craig McRae said the club was taking no risks, with De Goey in particular, who would have potentially played this weekend if it was a grand final.
De Goey suffered a deep glute strain in Friday night’s win over Geelong, while Hill left the track early on Wednesday with “hamstring awareness”.
“We are anticipating that [De Goey] will be right [for round 24], but it is a risk versus reward situation,” McRae said.
“How much do you want to take a risk? If it was a grand final, we’d be pushing hard for all of them to play, to be honest. We’re not in that situation right now. We’ll look after those guys.”
Young defender Jakob Ryan will make his debut on Friday night, with veteran Steele Sidebottom a certainty to return after missing the win over Geelong with a foot complaint.
But with Nick Daicos, Darcy Moore and now De Goey on the sidelines, Collingwood are missing arguably their best three players in a match that the Brisbane Lions must win to maintain their spot in the top two.
John Noble passed a fitness test on Wednesday after injuring his ankle late in last Friday night’s win over the Cats and will play against the Lions.
Ryan was drafted with pick 28 in last year’s national draft, and impressed during his first pre-season to the point where he featured prominently in Collingwood’s practice matches.
But the Pies have had a fairly healthy run in the medium defender department, with Jack Crisp, John Noble and Isaac Quaynor playing every game this season, and Oleg Markov proving the go-to replacement for running backs.
The 18-year-old Ryan has played 14 matches in the VFL this season and averaged 19.6 disposals and five marks, and played his best game in round 14 against the Swans, amassing 29 touches and seven marks to go with nine coaches votes.
“He has been in great form for a number of weeks now. We’ve had him as emergency a few times,” McRae said.
“He is a young South Australian lad who will be a crowd favourite with his haircut.
“It is exciting to give someone an opportunity at this time of year. He gets it through reward, playing above the level at VFL.”
With Moore, De Goey and Hill sidelined, and Ryan and Sidebottom to come into the Pies side, McRae’s selection panel still has one more decision to make. Jack Ginnivan played well as Collingwood’s sub against Geelong and looks likely to fill the void left by Hill, leaving the likes of Mason Cox, Ash Johnson, Fin Macrae, Reef McInnes and Josh Carmichael as potential substitutes for Friday night.
Concussion ends Crow’s career
Paul Seedsman is the latest AFL player to retire because of head trauma, having battled concussion-related symptoms for almost two years.
Seedsman, the Adelaide Crow and former Magpie, has called time on his career after an independent medical concussion panel advised he no longer play contact sport.
After a superb 2020 season when he played a career-high 22 games and was third in the Crows’ best and fairest, Seedsman suffered a head knock during the 2021 pre-season, one so serious he was unable to add to his 132 games across 13 seasons. His 83 games with the Crows included the losing 2017 grand final to Richmond.
He has spent the past two years on the Crows’ inactive list, and the 31-year-old still cannot exercise properly or concentrate on regular daily tasks.
“It’s always hard letting go of something you still want to do, and every part of me still wants to play,” Seedsman said.
“But I’ve had time to digest that I can’t, and I’m comfortable with that, I don’t stew over what-ifs, I try and look at getting myself healthy.
“I’ve been able to get back to enjoying watching footy again, and that’s what has also made this difficult because I see the club going in a strong direction. I’d love to help them get to the next stage, but now I will enjoy watching them for years to come.”
Seedsman’s announcement came in the same week former Swans defender and former No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin retired, having also taken the advice of the AFL’s concussion panel. Hawthorn ruckman Max Lynch quit the game last month because of ongoing concussion issues.
Crows coach Matthew Nicks said Seedsman, a fourth-round draft selection by the Magpies in 2010, had endured a difficult time.
“Understandably, it’s been a very difficult, and at times frustrating, period for Paul and his family following his injury.
“But the way he has conducted himself speaks to the class of the person and footballer he is,” Nicks said.
“Paul came to us after nearly 50 games with Collingwood and took his game to a new level in the Crows’ guernsey, and in 2021 not only was he one of our best players, but he was recognised as one of the best in the competition on the wing.
“While we are disappointed for him that he did not get to add to his games tally after that, we are all immensely proud of what he was able to achieve and grateful for the role he has played in helping guide our young group forward.”
Draper, Stringer push for Bombers recall
Essendon coach Brad Scott said his Bombers are relishing the prospect of a mini-elimination final against Greater Western Sydney, and hope to have three prime movers back for the trip north.
Ruckman Sam Draper, forward Jake Stringer and robust midfielder Jye Caldwell trained on Wednesday, and are in calculations to return for a clash that will shape the finals hopes of both teams with two rounds in the season-proper remaining.
Scott said he was “expecting” the energetic Draper to play. The power ruckman has been sidelined because of a hip issue, but has ramped up his training loads, and is now pain free. He has not played since round 13.
“He has had a good, long, slow build up, and we are really happy to have him back in main training. Assuming … he looks like the Sam Draper we know and love, then he should play,” Scott said.
Stringer, a dynamic forward and midfield extractor when fit, has been managing a foot complaint, and has not played since round 19.
“He was close [last week] but … to my eye, he just didn’t look like he was at 100 per cent. He is better again this week,” Scott said.
Scott was confident Caldwell, who was subbed off against West Coast a fortnight ago because of a hip complaint, and did not face the Kangaroos last weekend, will return.
Midfielder Dylan Shiel (foot) is also working his way back, Scott adding he was “very close” to a senior call up.
The Bombers (ninth) and the Toby Greene-led Giants (10th) are behind the eighth-placed Western Bulldogs only on percentage, ensuring this Saturday twilight clash at Giants Stadium will be “high pressure, high stakes”, as Scott said.
“These opportunities don’t come around very often. We have been working really hard since October last year to improve. We talk about our development focus which is still really strong, but everyone knows the equation in the last two weeks,” Scott, who has added defensive grunt to the Bombers in his first season at the club, said.
“At the start of the year, I think if a lot of people said we would be in contention at round 23 to play finals, people would have probably been happy with that.
“We are not living in our own little vacuum where we don’t know the circumstances, so we know it’s a big game, we know there is a lot riding on it, and we are really relishing that opportunity to play in a game like this.”
The Bombers have been further buoyed by having Dale Tapping back in the fold. The highly respected assistant coach went public in March with his diagnosis of myeloma, a type of blood cancer affects white blood cells in the bone marrow. Tapping will join the team in Sydney.
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