ESSENDON star forward Peter Wright sent a brief scare through The Hangar on Wednesday after departing the Bombers’ extended match simulation session early due to a calf issue, but the issue is believed to be minor.
The reigning Crichton Medallist was assessed by medical staff in the opening minutes of the scratch match and is expected to undergo scans on Wednesday afternoon.
The club is confident the 26-year-old has only experienced tightness rather than a strain, and with a five-day break starting on Thursday, Essendon opted for a cautious approach rather than sending him back on the track.
Wright has banked a strong pre-season up until this point and has quickly become one of Essendon’s most important players after kicking 53 goals in 2022 to finish fifth in the Coleman Medal behind Charlie Curnow, Tom Lynch, Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins.
The 2015 No.8 pick has kicked 82 goals and played 43 of 44 games since moving to Tullamarine in exchange for a future fourth-round pick, after the Calder Cannons product failed to play a senior game in his final season at Gold Coast.
New Essendon coach Brad Scott put his players through a gruelling three-hour training session ahead of the break, with running, skills and boxing following the most comprehensive match simulation of the summer to date.
But the former North Melbourne coach has a few injury concerns to deal with ahead of the practice matches in late February and early March, particularly in attack.
Recruit Sam Weideman and key forward Harry Jones completed a running session away from the main group but are both expected to transition back into full training in February after interrupted starts to 2023.
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Weideman, who is hoping a fresh start will be as fruitful as the one Wright has enjoyed, joined the club from Melbourne in October and is dealing with a quad concern, while Jones is working his way back from an ankle issue.
Prized pick Elijah Tsatas is set to miss the start of the season after the 18-year-old underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
The No.5 selection in last year’s NAB AFL Draft had made an impressive start to his time in red and black before copping a knock at training last week, which could sideline him for at least a couple of months.
After managing only five appearances last year due to a Lisfranc injury, Nik Cox didn’t feature on Wednesday and is dealing with a back issue, but the 21-year-old is hoping to return to the main group after the break.
Fan favourite Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti continues to build his fitness ahead of round one after committing to return to the Bombers in November, just six months after his shock retirement from the AFL.
The 29-year-old played all four quarters on Wednesday and has completed most of the pre-season program under the guidance of high-performance boss Sean Murphy.
While McDonald-Tipungwuti has made strong fitness gains across the summer, the Bombers are still looking to get more conditioning work into the star forward after he walked away from the game last year before rediscovering his love for the game.
All-Australian forward Jake Stringer kicked a few goals in attack and missed a handful of other shots, while mid-season pick Jye Menzie is pushing for a spot in round one after looking dangerous inside 50.