Dons draw on ’84 ahead of Hawthorn clash; Police probe into Tarryn Thomas closed


All but two of the 23 surviving members of the back-to-back flags have accepted the Bombers’ invitation to mark the grand final victories over bitter foe the Hawks. It remains one of the competition’s most storied rivalries.

Essendon’s players celebrate their 1984 VFL premiership.

Essendon’s players celebrate their 1984 VFL premiership.Credit: The Age Archives

“There’ll be a fair few of them,” Scott said. “It’s just one of the great parts of football, like long after you’ve retired and stepped out of a coaching role. It’s time to reflect. Every single Essendon function, meeting, coterie group event I go to, Terry Daniher’s there.

“He’s just one example of a player through that period who’s still incredibly supportive of our club. We love that, and he’ll be there amongst others on Saturday.”

Scott faces a difficult call at selection on inspirational ruckman Sam Draper, former skipper Dyson Heppell and veteran midfielder Dylan Shiel after all three got through training.

Draper, who underwent groin surgery over the off-season, is firming for a start after getting through training on Wednesday. After an interrupted summer, Draper put his hand up for senior selection with two practice games in the VFL. He was in the black tops worn by the senior side in match simulation drills.

Sam Draper completed training on Wednesday to put his hand up for a start in round one.

Sam Draper completed training on Wednesday to put his hand up for a start in round one.Credit: Getty

“Sam’s had a really good block of full training – months not weeks now,” Scott said. “He’s played two games in the VFL and performed quite well last week. So he’s had a good ramp and a good build.

“He hasn’t played an AFL practice game yet but that was all part of the plan. He’ll train fully today and hopefully leave us with a difficult selection decision.”

Heppell and Shiel were both in the red of the reserves team, raising intrigue over their immediate future. Both missed the official practice match against Geelong, though Heppell took part in the match simulation against St Kilda last month.

Darcy Parish’s injury leaves the door ajar for Shiel, who had foot surgery last year.

“He’s been lighting up the track,” Scott said. “We’ve got some excited coaches, particularly midfield coaches. He hasn’t played a practice game … but he is an experienced player who he’s been around a long time, so if there’s anyone that could do it, it’s probably him.”

Experienced recruits Todd Goldstein, Jade Gresham, Ben McKay and Xavier Duursma are all expected to make their debuts for the Dons, but Scott said young gun Nate Caddy had missed too much training to be ready for round one.

Scott reiterated it would take time to create the club culture needed to set the Dons up for sustained success.

“The supporters I talk to understand that and they don’t want short term sugar hits and they don’t want unfulfilled promises,” Scott said. “They want us to build a really stable solid base so that we can be regular contenders against the best teams.”

Police probe into Tarryn Thomas is closed

Roy Ward

The police investigation into former North Melbourne midfielder Tarryn Thomas has closed but could be reopened should the woman involved make a formal complaint.

Thomas was the subject of allegations earlier this year that he harassed a woman with Victoria Police launching an investigation which has since been closed after the woman chose not to proceed with her complaint.

“Police spoke with a 23-year-old Ormond man in relation to an investigation,” Victoria Police said on Wednesday.

Howe to return as Magpies eye response against Swans

Collingwood will welcome back veteran defender Jeremy Howe against Sydney as coach Craig McRae puts the heat on the reigning premiers to get back to basics.

Howe missed Collingwood’s opening-round loss to GWS with a calf injury but trained well in Wednesday’s main session and appears set for the Magpies’ return to the MCG on Friday night.

Jeremy Howe on the training track last month.

Jeremy Howe on the training track last month.Credit: AFL Photos / Getty Images

“We are confident he got through,” McRae said.

“It looks like we’re going to select him.

“We haven’t done that yet but probably more than likely we will select him then see how he pulls up tomorrow.”

Howe will bring important aerial presence, experience and leadership to Collingwood’s defence.

McRae lamented the Magpies’ failure to get the little things right in their loss to the Giants.

“We went through a tape and really concentrated on the things we can control,” McRae said.

“There’s a lot within our four walls, we thought we could do a lot better.

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“It’s amazing the little things that we just didn’t get right. Simple things, so simple, that we’ve just gotta get back to and have great pride in those little things.”

When asked to elaborate, McRae said: “Well you’d be amazed – we didn’t even man the mark. Can you believe that?

“People having set shots which means that those two [examples] in particular, they resulted in goals.

“It doesn’t take much in this game to give someone a little bit of a chance. So some of those little things are as simple as manning the mark.

“So we will get back to work on our fundamentals and in a couple of days’ time hopefully we’ll see all those things.”

McRae indicated midfielder Fin Macrae had forced his way into the side while Ash Johnson and Charlie Dean both appear likely to hold their spots.

The Magpies were also buoyed by Nathan Murphy’s return to some contact training on Wednesday.

There is still no timeline on the defender’s playing return after he was concussed in the grand final.

“It was really pleasing. Murph did his first contact work for this year,” McRae said.

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“He’s in a program that will see him, five, six weeks, whatever it takes, to progress back to play.

“But it’s a week-by-week and it’s a session-by-session thing.”

McRae’s presser was a day after big man Mason Cox received a reprimand from the AFL for a bizarre incident ahead of the Giants clash, when he pushed GWS ruck Shane Mumford out of the way to practice a ball-up.

“I got told that he ran through the opposition huddle like Dermott Brereton used to,” McRae said with a laugh.

“Then when I saw the facts, I thought, ‘Geez, that’s far from that’.

“So it’s important to get all the information, isn’t it? And then you can make an informed decision.”

AAP



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