ESSENDON coach John Worsfold says all signs point to suspended skipper Jobe Watson continuing to play football after his suspension ends.
After Bombers midfielder David Zaharakis told radio station RSN on Thursday morning that he was unsure whether Watson will want to resume his career, Worsfold believes the Essendon captain will play in 2017.
"I know Jobe's training at the moment, with a view to continue playing footy," Worsfold said at Melbourne airport as the Bombers flew to Adelaide for Friday night's clash with the Power.
"I can't really comment any more on what he's thinking, other than what I know he's doing."
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Earlier on Thursday, Zaharakis said he was uncertain about Watson's plans.
"I honestly don't know," he said.
"Jobe and (Brent Stanton) are a bit older and (it's a question of) whether they want to come back."
Worsfold said Essendon's 1-1 start to the season would make the banned players miss playing even more.
Twelve current Bombers stars, including Watson, Dyson Heppell and Michael Hurley, are suspended until November.
The Bombers come into Friday night's meeting with the Power off a 13-point win against Melbourne last weekend, after some pundits had tipped them to not win a game in 2016.
"All the way through this, the players have had awesome support around them," Worsfold said.
"In terms of them missing playing footy, I've got no doubt they feel (a range of emotions), but I think they will be OK.
"I've been in contact with most of the guys at various times, not only since the season started but leading up to the season."
Former North Melbourne key defender Nathan Grima is available for senior selection.
"(Grima's) fit and ready to go now, but both James Gwilt and Michael Hartley performed really well last week," Worsfold said.
"He's not at his peak fitness, but he would be able to get through a game."
James Polkinghorne is in full training, and Worsfold said he is not far away from playing.
Polkinghorne had been struggling with a calf injury.
Shaun McKernan kicked six goals in a VFL practice match against Richmond last Friday before rolling his ankle.
"(McKernan's) not playing this weekend. We're hopeful that he'll be up and available next week," Worsfold said.