Essendon ruckman Matthew Leunberger is facing a stint on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury during last Sunday’s JLT clash with Geelong. The injury opening the door for rookie listed Shaun McKernan to force his way into the Bombers line-up for the round 1 blockbuster clash against Hawthorn.
Essendon’s rucking situation
With Tom Bellchambers racing the clock to be fit for the beginning of the season, the rucking situation at the Bombers is less than ideal. John Worsfold was upfront earlier this week when discussing the current ruck dilemma.
“We are a bit light on there. McKernan battled on pretty well. Obviously, it’s not ideal. He (McKernan) has done it before. A couple of years ago he carried the ruck a fair bit and even though he didn’t get as many opportunities last year he still did OK.”
Shaun McKernan’s last chance
Shaun McKernan is expected to be promoted to the senior list. He knows this is most likely his last chance saloon at AFL level. The 26 year old has only played 49 AFL games in total since being drafted by Adelaide. McKernan was pick 28 in the 2008 draft.
So far so good
The ex-Crow did his chances of a senior call up no harm with his performance on Sunday. Shaun McKernan finished with 21 disposals and was able to go forward and impact the scoreboard with 3 goals. Most importantly his centre square work was competitive with 19 hit-outs and eight clearances.
It is not ideal to get an opportunity at the expense of injury to a teammate. But sadly, that is often the nature of life on the rookie list. Now it is up to Shaun McKernan to prove his AFL days are not finished.