Daniher ruled out for the rest of the season in huge blow to Bombers

Key forward Joe Daniher will miss the rest of the season due to ongoing oestitis pubis problems, with surgery the most likely outcome. Essendon and Daniher made a joint decision to sideline the 25-year-old after symptoms returned in recent weeks, with an operation to be confirmed after further consultation with specialists. Daniher has played just four games this season after making a shock return on Good Friday against Essendon having missed most of 2018. His absence will be a devastating blow to the club who are desperate to qualify for…

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Wells set to play, De Goey in doubt

The Pies are poised to make two changes at selection on Thursday night, with Tom Langdon (knee) and Travis Varcoe (suspension) to be replaced by Wells and Madgen. Wells, 34, hasn’t played at senior level since round 12 last year when he succumbed to an ankle injury. The Pies’ oldest player had a delayed start to the season and spent several weeks in the VFL building match fitness. Madgen, who played a handful of games last year, will help fill the defensive void left by Darcy Moore (ankle) who along…

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Who are the current AFL premiership favourites?

This week on The Age Real Footy Podcast, Caroline Wilson, Jake Niall and Michael Gleeson debate whether it is Collingwood or Geelong who can claim outright favouritism for the premiership at this stage of the season. And it’s not just the Pies and the Cats in the conversation. Richmond are winning without some big names, West Coast only have three losses so far this season and they aren’t yet at their best, and GWS have the chance to prove themselves on the big stage of the MCG this weekend. Also…

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Andrew Fifita endorses Matt Lodge for NSW

Fifita said his close friend had been doing a number of things off the field to turn his life around, including volunteering at soup kitchens. “I just know how hard he has worked, just the little things in the public which no one sees, but us family members see what he does,” he said. “The coaching he does … he travels down from Brisbane to Penrith comp just to run water when he’s home.” Having stood by Lodge during his return to NRL, as well as his time in rehabilitation,…

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Dallin Watene-Zelezniak set to split with Penrith Panthers

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has likely played his last game for Penrith after he was granted permission to negotiate with rival clubs. Watene-Zelezniak wants out of the Panthers after he was dropped from the NRL side to face Parramatta on Thursday. The Eels are seeking a centre and are prepared to immediately accommodate the Kiwis captain if he can gain a release. Wests Tigers could be another option due to his strong connection with coach Michael Maguire, who made him captain of the New Zealand national side. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is poised to…

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Brad Fittler’s strongest indication yet that Nathan Cleary will keep NSW spot

“He’s not setting up a lot of tries but he’s still kicking OK. He runs the ball a lot. He supports a lot. He does a lot of those effort areas that I think are desperately important in big games like State of Origin. “While everything is awful out there at Penrith, and it’s not a lay down misere he’s going to play for NSW, he’s doing most of the things I look for in players. I think he got some tools out of last year’s Origin that he didn’t…

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South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett warns Sam Burgess over penalties

It was a throwback to when Bennett publicly lambasted Burgess for giving away too many penalties after England had lost to Australia in a Four Nations clash in 2016. Asked whether Bennett had jolted him for his display against the Raiders, Burgess said: “He gave me a serve at half-time in front of the team and that was it. He gave me a serve at half-time in front of the team and that was it Sam Burgess “He said if I give another one away I’m off the field and…

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Penrith Panthers’ Nathan Cleary can have his own NSW Origin ‘pick me’ moment if he backs himself

Same message for him tonight: back yourself. There’s no James Maloney because of suspension, so the whole team is on Nathan’s shoulders. He can form a great combination Maloney’s replacement, Jarome Luai, who he played a lot of junior football alongside. I can’t separate Cleary, Reynolds and Walker heading into the final round before Freddy picks his Blues team for the Origin opener against Queensland at Suncorp on June 5. Defensively, I really like Nathan. That right side will have Queensland guns Kalyn Ponga and Cameron Munster sniping away all…

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Dylan Walker opens up on ‘dark days’ during court case

“There were some dark days with it, we just had to lean on each other,” a tearful Walker said. “I’m so lucky to have that loving partner and baby. It’s tough, it doesn’t reflect me as a person, what I do on the field. “I just want to be the best person I can be. The best father, the best partner. The hatred [from fans] is there. “I was relieved, I was happy. It was such a big moment on that day, for that to come the right way was…

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Groin injury may sideline Joe Daniher

Star Essendon forward Joe Daniher has been added to the club’s injury list amid fears he’s had a recurrence of a groin injury that derailed his 2018 season. Daniher has played just four matches for the Bombers this season, making a surprise return to the AFL as a late call-up for Essendon’s round five match against North Melbourne. Joe Daniher has a suspected recurrence of a groin injury.Credit:AAP The 25-year-old took to the field during last Saturday’s win over Fremantle but reports emerged on Wednesday that he had aggravated his…

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