Sam Draper in action during the match between the Western Bulldogs and Essendon at Marvel Stadium in round five, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

ESSENDON coach Brad Scott has confirmed ruckman Sam Draper will play against Collingwood on Anzac Day, with the Bombers welcoming their selection headache ahead of the blockbuster clash.

Tall forward Peter Wright is free to take on the Magpies on Thursday after a month-long suspension, but it's left Scott with a dilemma regarding who should drop out of the side.

The Bombers could well go in with talls Wright and Harry Jones in attack alongside medium forwards Kyle Langford and Jake Stringer plus two ruckmen in Todd Goldstein and Sam Draper, who Scott confirmed would retain his place.

"No, he's in," Scott said of Draper. "It's more a matter of how we shuffle ... he's a vital member of our team."


When asked whether retaining both ruckman and adding an extra tall was on the table for Thursday's match, Scott said: "Yeah, definitely".

"I should know better than to look at the weather forecast in Melbourne a week out. It just keeps changing all the time. So that'll come into play as well in terms of what we do there.

"This is a bit of an art this week in terms of what can it look like, how do we want to structure up. But I can tell you, I'm extremely pleased to have that option available."

Wright has missed the past four games due to a suspension for rough conduct, but Scott is confident there is a silver lining to come from his time on the sidelines.

"He's done a power of work," Scott said.

"He's always impressed me with his professionalism, but he's approached this block as almost like a mini pre-season block.

"I doubt there's a better-prepared player going into this round of football than Peter Wright.

"He's just worked extremely hard, been able to work on all elements of his game and he's obviously in peak condition going in.

"So that doesn't guarantee performance, but in terms of his prep, he's ready to go."

Peter Wright in action during Essendon's FL training session at The Hangar on April 9, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

In Wright's absence, young key forward Jones has stood up, booting seven goals and averaging seven marks across the past four games to solidify his spot.

"Because (Jones) has got huge capability, people have probably looked for him to play at that high level," Scott said.

"But since I arrived at the club, he's just had injury issues, he's had an inability through injury to have any continuity of training.

"In my first pre-season, he did 11 per cent of our pre-season training load, and no-one can perform on that preparation.

"Whereas this pre-season, he's done everything. He hasn't missed a beat. His professionalism has gone (up). He's worked really closely with Peter Wright, the way he prepares for games, the way he's prepared in the preseason.

"There's no secrets as to why he's performing well, it's all based on his prep."

The Bombers will assess Dylan Shiel's training form before deciding whether to turn to the fit-again veteran for his first AFL appearance of the season after strong VFL form.

"He's obviously a high-level player," Scott said.

"He's done a fair bit of work. Has he done enough? That's what we have to get to the bottom of."