Bombers running out of key forwards


Recruit Zac Clarke shapes as the most likely candidate but he too is battling to prove his fitness and overcome injury after suffering a corked calf. Clarke is still the most likely like-for-like player to be looked at but calf injuries notoriously linger in older players.

It is possible the Dons will be forced to consider altering their structure and play an extra small or mid-sized player forward of the ball. Aaron Francis has been used behind the ball for the past two seasons.

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At least the most important key forward at the club, Joe Daniher, is fit again and in outstanding form.

Orazio Fantasia is certain to come back into the side after being a late withdrawal with illness but the Bombers are likely to make more than one change to give them a further forward option.

Brown has only kicked seven goals in his five games this season but he has been structurally important for the Bombers.

Star midfielder Devon Smith is being managed for his knee injury and is still a chance to play against the Cats.

The encouraging news on Smith was that scans revealed no tear or new injury to his knee which has long required management.

The soreness he is suffering is in a different part of the knee than has caused him pain in the past but there was nothing on the scans to indicate the source of that problem.

He has long had a “grumbly knee”, even at Greater Western Sydney, and so he has had to be managed. The Bombers had rested him from the North Melbourne game two weeks ago due to the number of short breaks they had had between games to start the season but the knee pain flared again in his return game on Anzac Day.

He is being monitored this week and the club will make a further assessment when he returns to running this week. He has not yet been ruled out for the Geelong game this week but while he will be closely monitored and needs to prove his fitness later in the week the club will be conservative in playing him.

Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.

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