Sam Draper runs with the ball during a training session at The Hangar on February 17, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

RUCK dynamo Sam Draper is set to partner Todd Goldstein for the first time after being cleared to return in Essendon's bumper clash with Sydney.

But Bombers coach Brad Scott won't guarantee selection for Darcy Parish after the gun midfielder recovered from a hamstring injury.

Essendon has been patient with Draper, 25, after he had surgery in September on a groin injury that ruined the second half of his 2023 season.

But after playing three VFL practice matches, Draper only needed to complete Wednesday's main training to earn selection for Saturday night's SCG showdown with Swans recruit Brodie Grundy.

"Drapes is certainly right in the mix on the back of a conservative long-term rehab," Scott said.

"And based on last year, we really missed him. We were determined that once we get him back, we've got him back for good.


"But he's certainly done everything in his power to make himself available this week. So provided he trains well, I suspect we'll pick him.

"My only two cents' worth is let's do everything that we can to get him back to the Sam Draper that we know and not just try and rush to get him back because he makes our team look better on paper.

"So it's about getting him back to his best and as long as that takes is as long as it takes.

"The way that he's looked and he's played now three VFL games, which has frustrated him, because he feels like he's ready to go. So that's the attitude I want – him to (be) chomping at the bit."

Essendon ruckman Sam Draper at Bombers training on January 22, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Parish trained on Wednesday after missing Essendon's win over Hawthorn on Saturday.

"I expect he'll be made medically available," Scott said.

"It'll come down to more of a coaching decision rather than a medical decision, which is the way we'd like it.

"The medical team rule players out but they don't rule players in. So if he's medically available and trains well, he'll play."

Darcy Parish in action during Essendon's AAMI Community Series clash against Geelong on March 1, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Scott is pondering whether to keep Archie Perkins in midfield after a breakout performance against the Hawks, especially against Sydney stars Isaac Heeney and Chad Warner.

"It'll depend on whether Parish is available or whether we choose to pick him," Scott said.

"There's options through that dynamic in there, but we couldn't have been happier with Perks' performance last week. He's a very flexible player. 

"I perhaps unfairly likened him to Isaac Heeney, referencing the position they play – very good forwards but clearly very good midfielders as well. So he'll play the role that he and we think is best for the team."

Mason Redman (suspension), Zach Reid (hamstring) and Matt Guelfi (calf) are all sidelined.

Scott indicated versatile tall Nik Cox could settle down back in Reid's absence. Jayden Laverde is no guarantee to earn a recall, while midfielder Ben Hobbs could return.