AAP AFL

Bellchambers in mix for Bombers AFL return

By AAP Newswire

Tom Bellchambers' welcome return from injury has left finals-bound Essendon with more to ponder before Friday night's AFL clash with Collingwood.

The veteran ruckman was set to train with the main group on Tuesday, having been sidelined by a calf injury since round 15.

Coach John Worsfold expected Bellchambers to play this week but said the club was yet to decide whether that would be at senior level.

Last week's win over Fremantle ensured the Bombers will play finals, potentially handing them the luxury of potentially resting players for the final round of the home-and-away season.

Skipper Dyson Heppell and goalsneak Orazio Fantasia are among those that have been nursing niggles for a number of weeks.

Worsfold said any temptation to give players additional rest before next week's pre-finals bye would be tempered by the desire to continue building momentum.

"It's an option," Worsfold said of potentially resting Heppell.

"But it's around what's best for the player and the team this week, and what does that mean for them the following week or weeks after that.

"How do we best get the most out of all of our players for as long as we can?

"It's complicated and it's taking a lot of our time up at the moment, but it's a really important focus that we have to have."

The Bombers have made do with Zac Clarke during Bellchambers' absence but regaining their No.1 ruckman would provide a significant finals boost.

"He has been a key part of some of our best footy throughout the last couple of seasons," Worsfold said.

"He's been in really good form for us, so we would love to have him back in the team when he's ready to go."

Worsfold said they hadn't given up hope of David Zaharakis playing in September, although there is no way he will recover in time for their week-one elimination final.

The veteran midfielder will undergo ankle surgery after suffering syndesmosis damage during the win over the Dockers.