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Fitness tests for Dons' tackle machine, speedy forward

Gun mid turns back on big Vic offers, forgotten Pie to return Riley Beveridge brings you the day's football news

ESSENDON star forward Orazio Fantasia and best and fairest Devon Smith will need to pass fitness tests in order to line up against Geelong on Sunday at the MCG.

Smith failed to play out last week's four-point loss to Collingwood due to knee pain, but the club said it was not related to his chronic knee issues. 

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"Dev was managed the week before Anzac Day and went into the game feeling good," Essendon physical performance manager Justin Crow told the club website. 

"He got sore in the third quarter in a different part of his knee. We had that scanned and there's no major issue there.

"We're really just keeping tabs on him, day by day, and seeing how quickly he can improve from that soreness from the Anzac Day match." 

The Bombers will be desperate to get Fantasia – who was a late withdrawal from the round six loss with a virus – back in the side to face the ladder-leading Cats.

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"He's obviously had blood tests and been checked, he's improving day by day, but we'll be tracking him through the week and hoping he can train in our main session," Crow said. 

Ruckman Zac Clarke is an outside chance to return after two weeks on the sidelines with a badly corked calf, while forward Mitch Brown won't face his former club after fracturing his wrist against Collingwood. 

"He's got a fracture in the distal part of his radius, which is part of his arm down near the wrist," Crow said. 

"He'll be wearing a guard, he'll be able to join in some aspects of training in the final week of his rehab, but we're expecting him to miss three weeks." 

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Other Bombers sidelined include:

  • Marty Gleeson, whose time on the sidelines with a broken cheekbone has been revised to a further month
  • Forward Jayden Laverde, who strained his hamstring in the VFL and will miss 2-3 weeks
  • Rookie Tom Jok, who has bone bruising in his knee and is expected to be out for a week or two
  • James Stewart, who returned to running on Wednesday as he recovers from a groin injury

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