Star Bomber Parish out of Saints AFL clash

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AFL battlers Essendon will face St Kilda without gun midfielder Darcy Parish, who has failed to overcome a corked calf.

Parish was substituted out of Friday's loss to Carlton after attempting to push through the injury suffered in the first quarter.

The 24-year-old's absence is a massive blow to the Bombers, who sit 16th at 2-10 ahead of Friday's clash with the sixth-placed Saints at Marvel Stadium.

"He struggled this week to get up, so no, he won't play for us unfortunately," coach Ben Rutten told reporters on Thursday.

"He copped the corkie basically the first centre-bounce of the game, I think he ended up playing about three quarters.

"We knew that was probably going to increase his risk of (not) getting up this week, but unfortunately he didn't quite get there.

"We're hopeful it's just this week. Corkies tend to pick up pretty quick once the bleeding stopped but didn't quite get there this week."

Parish will be replaced by Andrew McGrath, who has recovered from the adductor strain that forced his withdrawal from the Blues game.

Meanwhile Rutten had no regrets about labelling Jake Stringer's difficult return against Carlton as "poor".

"Jake's okay. I've got a good relationship with him. It's about getting him back to his best footy, which we know he can play," Rutten said.

"His back half of last year in particular I think we saw the consistent capacity of Jake.

"I understand he's missed a fair bit of footy this year. So we're going to help support him get back to his best, where we know he can get to and where we need him to."

Rutten said he'd spoken with Stringer since, but dismissed the suggestion he'd been too harsh in his post-match assessment.

"He was okay. He takes responsibility for that. No difference in expectation there. But that's okay, he'll bounce back," he said.

"I got asked a question about his game - I didn't go out of my way to talk about him. I didn't think it was too big a deal.

"Jake and I are good, we've got a good, strong relationship. It's about trying to get the best out of him."

Meanwhile, Devon Smith had a cleanout of his degenerative knee on Tuesday and will be out for "a period of time".

Rutten hoped Smith would return this season.

Kyle Langford and Will Snelling will return from hamstring and calf injuries in the VFL while Michael Hurley is closing in on a return to main training.

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