AFL team news, whispers, updates for Round 23, 2022

In what’s been a horror news week for the Bombers, a fairytale return looms for a veteran defender.

Plus there’s mixed news at the Dockers, while North could re-call its top draftee.

Get the latest Round 23 selection news and updates in AFL Team Whispers!

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Amid a tumultuous week for the club, ESSENDON could make a fairytale selection and name veteran Michael Hurley for the Richmond clash.

Hurley, a dual All-Australian defender, hasn’t played since Round 18, 2020 due to a debilitating hip issue.

However the key-position Bomber now played five games at VFL level, including 14-disposals, eight-mark performance against Werribee on the weekend.

Midfielder Ben Hobbs, who was the unused medical sub last week, could also come into the side as several changes loom following the 84-point loss to Port Adelaide.

Merrett candidly opens up on Dons ‘mess’ | 01:25

RICHMOND will be without triple premiership midfielder Jack Graham for Saturday night’s match against Essendon, while he’s “questionable” for the club’s elimination final.

Graham has dealt with a turf toe-type issue for most of the season, but felt “some awareness and soreness”, according to Richmond physical performance manager Peter Burge, on the outside of one of his feet before being subbed out of Sunday’s win over Hawthorn.

“(That) caught us by surprise a little bit, and we had some scans on Monday, which showed he’s got a little bit of a stress issue, a stress reaction, in his third metatarsal,” Burge said.

“Jack’s in a moon boot at the moment and he’ll be offloaded for seven days. It’s on the minor end of stress-type injuries, so we’re hopeful that in the back-end of next week we’ll be running again.

“In terms of the finals series, he’s certainly, at this stage, questionable for the first final, but we’re optimistic that we’ll have him in a position where he’ll be hopefully training and available to play that week.”

Retirement-bound Shane Edwards (ankle) and Thomson Dow (concussion) are expected to be available this weekend.

FREMANTLE could welcome back superstar skipper Nat Fyfe for Saturday’s must-win clash against the Giants in Canberra.

The dual Brownlow Medallist has spent the past three weeks recovering from a hamstring injury.

But coach Justin Longmuir said if Fyfe got through training on Wednesday unscathed, he’d be “a good chance” to return for a game before the Dockers’ finals campaign.

But Longmuir conceded leading goalkicker Rory Lobb was “touch and go” to face the Giants due to a shoulder injury.

“He’s obviously a bit sore but we’re treating this game as the most important game of the year so we want to put our best team out there and give it our best chance of winning,” Longmuir said.

“He was subbed out of the game and was a bit sore in a couple of areas.

“We’ll see what he does at training and decide what his plans for the weekend are after that.”

Plus there’s fresh concerns over Griffin Logue, who left training early on Wednesday due to a leg complaint.

With Matt Taberner expected to return in finals, Josh Treacy still coming back from a virus and first-year player Jye Amiss only one game into his WAFL return, the Dockers could enter Saturday’s game thin on key-position stocks.

The GIANTS will be without Tanner Bruhn (concussion) and Lachlan Keeffe (groin) to face Fremantle, but could get both Tim Taranto and James Peatling back from concussion protocols.

Ruck Braydon Preuss faces a fitness test after missing last week’s loss to the Bulldogs due to a shoulder injury.

Yze firming as the Giants next coach | 02:05

NORTH MELBOURNE could lift itself off the bottom of the AFL ladder with a final-round win over Gold Coast, but will have to do so without captain Jack Ziebell, Jed Anderson and most likely Jaidyn Stephenson.

Ziebell had surgery after hurting his AC joint, Anderson has entered the AFL‘s concussion protocols, while Stephenson sustained a heavy hit to his back in the third quarter last Saturday weekend and is also set to miss the final game.

However the Kangaroos could re-call No. 1 pick Jason Horne-Francis, who responded to his shock demotion to the VFL with 29 disposals, nine clearances and six marks against Coburg.

“He wasn’t able to implement his recovery protocols to the level which needed to be done and that’s a rule we have got for our whole footy club. They were the consequences for Jason last week,” Roos caretaker coach Leigh Adams said on Wednesday.

“We had a really good, honest chat about it last week, he understood where we were coming from. He went back and had a really solid game. His attitude has been fantastic.

“He’ll be right in calculations to come back in to the team this week. Not certainly … he’ll be thereabouts because his game and his attitude was great on the weekend.”

GOLD COAST is unlikely to have gun small forward Izak Rankine available for Saturday’s match against North Melbourne.

Rankine hasn’t trained this week after suffering a shoulder injury during the Suns’ loss to Geelong last weekend, placing him in major doubt for the match against the Kangaroos.

Suns coach Stuart Dew said Rankine, who’s weighing up a multi-year offer from the Adelaide Crows, would likely need surgery during the post-season.

“If he’ not right, he’s not right,” Dew told reporters on Wednesday.

“In terms of whether it’s his last game or not, that’s hypothetical.

“We know he‘s got a decision at the end of the season but I think the main part is all that external stuff is not going to come into the decision of whether he plays or not.

“If he‘s fit to play, he plays, and, if the risk is too great, player’s welfare comes first.”

The Suns will also be without Sam Day (knee), Nick Holman (back) and Rory Atkins (concussion) for the clash against North.

Rankine doubtful for Round 23 clash | 01:06

GEELONG will have to find a replacement for superstar forward Jeremy Cameron for Saturday’s clash against the West Coast Eagles.

Cameron suffered a low-grade hamstring strain during the final quarter of his side’s win over Gold Coast. It’s the same leg in which he suffered three hamstring setbacks in 2021.

Rhys Stanley will also miss the match due to an adductor strain, with fellow ruck Jon Ceglar and fringe big man Esava Ratugolea in the mix to replace Stanley.

Veterans Mitch Duncan and Isaac Smith should also come back into the side after being managed against the Suns.

WEST COAST star Andrew Gaff is in doubt for the trip to Geelong after limping off the training track on Tuesday.

Gaff was seen favouring his left foot while speaking to medical staff during the club’s session.

The Eagles are already set to be without superstar ruckman Nic Naitanui, who’s battling soreness in the final rounds of the season, but forward Willie Rioli is in the mix to play, while Bailey Williams would likely come in for Naitanui.

They’re also expected to regain Tim Kelly and Jai Culley from suspension for Saturday’s clash at GMHBA.

Small defender Jamaine Jones could still take his place in the side against Geelong, despite being subbed off against Fremantle with a back issue, but Jake Waterman (knee) is less likely.

Cameron sidelined with hamstring strain | 00:36

Dan Hannebery is one of three ST KILDA players trying to prove their fitness for Sunday’s showdown with Sydney as he fights for his AFL career.

But defender Jimmy Webster is out of the Swans clash after suffering a hamstring strain in last week’s 15-point defeat to Brisbane.

Hannebery, 31, is out of contract at season’s end after scattering only 17 games across four seasons at St Kilda since his high-profile trade from the Swans.

Soft-tissue setbacks have marred his time at Moorabbin but he showed he still has something to offer when fit with an impressive 27-disposal, one-goal outing in his first game of the year three weeks ago.

An ankle injury a week later against Geelong was Hannebery’s latest problem and caused him to miss the Lions game but only needs to negotiate the Saints’ main training session on Thursday to return.

Josh Battle (cork) and Tom Highmore (hand) are in the same situation, but the Saints have ruled out Jack Billings (back), Paddy Ryder (calf), Dan McKenzie (calf) and Oscar Adams (back).

Hannebery took a significant pay cut this season in the last of his four-year deal to help clear salary cap space and in an acknowledgment of the fact he had underdelivered because of injuries.

It’s believed the one-time star midfielder wants to extend his career into next season but his best chance may be on a rookie deal.

SYDNEY appears settled at selection, with one of the AFL’s shortest injury lists and most players in strong form.

Swans ruck recruit Peter Ladhams looms as a potential finals wildcard after returning through the VFL in the past fortnight after breaking his right thumb. But Tom Hickey has enjoyed an outstanding couple of weeks, while Sam Reid continues to serve as the relief ruckman and has kicked more than a goal a game this season.

Swans great Josh Kennedy (hamstring) is still a few weeks away from resuming full training and seems long odds to be a part of the club’s finals campaign.

Port looking to avenge Showdown loss | 01:48

— with NCA Newswire

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