ESSENDON faces a forward line reshuffle as injuries mount to its goalkicking ranks, with the Bombers considering sending defender Cale Hooker into attack.
The Bombers will be without Jake Stringer, their leading goalkicker from the past two years, for at least eight weeks after last week's syndesmosis injury in his ankle.
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They are already without spearhead Joe Daniher indefinitely – the club wouldn't put a target on his return to scratch match level from his groin injury – meaning they will go into Saturday night's clash with North Melbourne with Shaun McKernan shouldering the key position load inside-50.
Coach John Worsfold said the Bombers have discussed shifting backman Hooker, who booted 41 goals in 2017, into attack as well as Aaron Francis, who is expected to be available after missing last week's win over Collingwood with back spasms.
"We will consider those things," Worsfold said on Thursday.
"We've had some preliminary discussions around that. We've talked through all the different options we've got. Francis is not an option until he gets through full training (on Thursday) and once we know that we're better armed with making those decisions."
Athletic tall forward James Stewart, who had to serve a 14-day COVID-19 quarantine period after being deemed a close contact of Conor McKenna, has been ruled out of AFL selection this week.
Daniher is making progress in his recovery from his ongoing osteitis pubis problems that have plagued him since 2018 and has recently been doing the majority of training with the main group.
However, the club remains reluctant to put any timeframe on when the 2017 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian forward will be ready to take the field again, even in a scratch match.
"He won't play this week so that's as much information as I can give you on Joey at this stage," Worsfold said.
"He's enjoying his training program at the moment and coming along well."
Essendon will regain star midfielder Zach Merrett from suspension for this week's clash with the Kangaroos at Metricon Stadium.
Worsfold said the Bombers hadn't discussed the prospect of playing away from Victoria for longer than the next five weeks after the state's return to lockdown.
"We haven't talked about that at all," he said.
"We're focusing on that's immediately ahead of us and what we do know. There's so many unknowns and I personally find it a waste of time to start thinking about things that may or may not happen."