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Injury blows for Bombers, concerns for Blues in finals race

Fellow ruckman Marc Pittonet (ankle) is still returning to full fitness and with forward-ruckman Levi Casboult (knee) yet to confirm his availability, the Blues faced the prospect of being without a key big man against the Suns.

The undersized Jack Silvagni was used as De Koning’s back up and then had to primarily take over the role. While he was thumped in the hitouts, he excelled around the ground to the point he was awarded nine coaches votes. Eddie Betts (ankle) faces a fitness test but Charlie Curnow said on Monday he had pulled up well from his return match and the Blues had made the right decision in recalling him.

Coach Ben Rutten alluded to a possible issue with Langford’s fitness when speaking to the media after the game on Sunday.

“He copped a couple of knocks throughout the game,” Rutten said.

Langford, who rotates between the midfield and forward line, had been a mainstay of Essendon’s side this season before his initial injury, averaging a career-high 21 disposals.

Jayden Laverde (shoulder) is also in doubt for the Dons’ game against the Western Bulldogs, having been substituted from the game against Sydney in the dying minutes, but has been cleared of serious injury.

Liam Jones and Charlie Curnow walk off the ground victorious after their win over the Saints.

Liam Jones and Charlie Curnow walk off the ground victorious after their win over the Saints.Credit:AFL Photos

Having fallen to 10th on the ladder after the weekend’s results, the Bombers face an uphill task to make the finals, especially with the ladder-leading Bulldogs to come in round 21. But the Dons have two more seemingly winnable matches in the last two rounds of the season: away to Gold Coast then up against Collingwood.

Essendon find themselves four points adrift of eighth-placed Fremantle but the Bombers’ percentage is better than that of any of the other teams vying to secure the last two spots in the eight.

Langord’s injury diagnosis was revealed as the AFL confirmed Essendon’s clash against the Western Bulldogs had been shifted from Friday night because it would have meant only a five-day break for the Bombers. Teams are allowed only one five-day break under the collective bargaining agreement, something the AFL is keen to debate when fresh CBA negotiations begin. The Bombers and Bulldogs will now meet on Sunday afternoon.

The Dogs could be boosted by the return of Adam Treloar from his syndesmosis injury.

The West Coast Eagles will host Melbourne on Monday night, meaning the Demons can finish their quarantine stint in Western Australia. The Richmond-North Melbourne, Carlton-Gold Coast and St Kilda-Sydney clashes will be held in Melbourne, while Collingwood will play for premiership points for the first time when they travel to Launceston to face Hawthorn.


ROUND 21 FIXTURE

Friday, August 6
Geelong v GWS Giants at GMHBA Stadium, 7.50pm AEST

Saturday, August 7
Carlton v Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium, 1.45pm AEST
Richmond v North Melbourne at the MCG, 4.35pm AEST
St Kilda v Sydney at Marvel Stadium, 7.40pm AEST
Adelaide v Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, 7.10pm ACST

Sunday, August 8
Hawthorn v Collingwood at UTAS Stadium, 2.10pm AEST
Western Bulldogs v Essendon at Marvel Stadium, 3.20pm AEST
Fremantle v Brisbane at Optus Stadium, 3.10pm AWST

Monday, August 9
West Coast v Melbourne at Optus Stadium, 6.10pm AWST (SEVEN)

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