Davey excites Bombers, uncertainty around Stringer
Essendon livewire Alwyn Davey Jnr is in the mix for a round-one AFL debut against Hawthorn, but there is still no firm time frame on Jake Stringer's return from injury.
Stringer, who has a hamstring issue, was the only player missing from the Bombers' forward line in Friday's 35-point practice match defeat to St Kilda, in which they managed just three goals.
The explosive 28-year-old is progressing in his rehabilitation ahead of the date with the Hawks on March 19.
"He's coming along nicely," Essendon assistant coach Daniel Giansiracusa said on Friday.
"In terms of time frame, I'm not sure, but he's out on the track and doing some running.
"He'll join in with skills as the weeks go on."
Davey was one of the Bombers' goal-kickers against St Kilda in their final practice match, roving a pack and snapping the first major of the day.
The 19-year-old father-son recruit, whose twin brother Jayden joined him at the Bombers through last year's draft, had seven touches in the first term and was lively throughout the first half.
Giansiracusa did not guarantee Davey a spot in the side against Hawthorn but said the Bombers have been thrilled with the youngster's progress.
"He's been pretty exciting ... one our fans can definitely get excited about," Giansiracusa said.
"The opposition definitely know when he's around.
"The challenge with a younger player is how long he can do it for but so far every post is a winner for him.
"We're definitely really excited about what he's been doing so far."
Fellow forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has some work to do as he plots his comeback after a year out of the game.
The 29-year-old had six disposals and three tackles against St Kilda, and missed an early set shot at goal in blustery conditions.
"It's a challenge for any player to be away for that long but I think we're seeing great signs and we'll continue to see that, so he's not far away," Giansiracusa said.
"If he can continue to tackle and chase down opposition - we know what he's like around goal, he doesn't need too many opportunities - he's showing that for us and hopefully he continues to improve."
Essendon are sweating on the result of scans on Jye Caldwell's left ankle after he was helped off the field during the third quarter on Friday.
The midfielder played no further part in the practice match.
"With these scans, you never know what pops up ... but we're hopeful that he should be ok," Giansiracusa said.