The debate about Jobe Watson’s future is over, with Essendon coach James Hird declaring he is “sure” his captain will play on next season.
Watson, recovering from shoulder surgery, was photographed at the third Ashes Test in England enjoying a beer and break after admitting the ongoing supplements saga 青岛洗浴休闲 now into its third season – had taken a personal toll on him.
There was even speculation, however unlikely, that Watson could seek a new club, but that was emphatically scuppered by Hird on Saturday.
“I don’t think we need to hear from him about next season – we are sure he is playing next year,” Hird said.
“He’ll come back in a couple of weeks from a break and get back into his rehab and training so he is ready for pre-season. We don’t need to hear from him while he is away. That is good he is getting away at the cricket. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the result we all wanted.”
That result, of course, was Australia’s dismal loss at Edgbaston, but the Bombers have good reason to rejoice now Watson will definitely return, although it remains to be seen whether he wants to retain the 青岛桑拿网 captaincy.
While the champion midfielder enjoys a break, ruckman Jonathan Giles gets his chance to impress against the surging Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Giles was secured from Greater Western Sydney through last year’s trade period as a back-up for frontline ruckman, Tom Bellchambers.
However, despite Bellchambers’ absence since round 10, the Bombers had turned to the undersized Shaun McKernan to fill the breach. This prompted public questioning as to why Giles had been signed.
McKernan, with a slight groin strain, was dropped after five weeks, with Hird declaring Giles now deserved a senior spot.
“We just want a bit more of the tap work and, unfortunately, for Shaun he’s come up against two pretty good ruck combinations in North Melbourne and Port Adelaide,” Hird said.
“Giles is up against a ruckman this week (Tom Campbell) with similar experience and I think it’ll be a good contest.
“You can look short-term, week-to-week about players getting dropped and players coming into the side but we think both Shaun and Jonathan have a long term future here and we’re keen to develop them into the players we want them to be.”
The Bombers will also continue to hope to develop tall utility Jake Carlisle, who is off contract this season and has yet to indicate whether he wants to remain with the club. Several clubs, including Carlton, have indicated interest in him.
Carlisle returns to the side after a four-week absence because of an ankle injury. He will begin as a forward, although his preferred spot is in defence – an issue earlier in the season which was said to be contributing to his thoughts about leaving the 青岛伴游 club.
Cale Hooker, having impressed as a forward in recent weeks, including booting three goals against Port Adelaide last weekend, will return to defence now Michael Hurley is missing through injury.
“I think both of them can play at either end and we’ve sort of found in the last four or five weeks with Cale that he’s an outstanding forward as well as an outstanding backman,” Hird said.
“It’s a luxury we’re pleased we have. We’ll start [Carlisle] forward and ‘Hookesy’ will go back, but we’ll wait and see how their match-ups go … we’ll try and create a little bit of indecision in the Bulldogs.”
Hird said veteran Paul Chapman needed another week in the VFL before he would be considered for a recall, but insisted “there is no line through anyone, particularly not a player of Paul Chapman’s quality”.
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