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Essendon coach Mark Thompson worrying only about his own ruck stocks

Date

Daniel Cherny

You're out: Courtenay Dempsey has been sanctioned by his teammates.

You're out: Courtenay Dempsey has been sanctioned by his teammates. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Essendon coach Mark Thomspon said that he was not particularly relieved to hear that of Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer's long-term foot injury. The setback for Kreuzer means that both sides head into Sunday's night the MCG encounter with undermanned ruck stocks, Essendon missing sidelined duo Paddy Ryder and Tom Bellchambers.

Speaking ahead of the Bombers' clash with their traditional rivals Thompson said he had not contemplated that his team's losses would now be neutralised by the Blues' travails.

"We just look at ourselves, having Paddy out and Bellchambers out, it's not ideal, but at the same time it creates opportunities too because [Jake] Carlisle and Joey Daniher get time to move around the midfield and they were pretty good last week and we're hoping they get the ball around the ground this week as well."

Tough move: Initially surprised, coach Mark Thompson believes Dempsey will ultimately benefit.

Tough move: Initially surprised, coach Mark Thompson believes Dempsey will ultimately benefit. Photo: Pat Scala

Asked about how he would manage the respective ruck and forward time of Daniher and Carlisle, Thompson indicated that the right balance would be struck over the course of the game.

"We'll probably just wait and see who's doing better in the ruck and who's doing better forward. If someone's plucking 'em forward he'll probably stay forward, and if someone's doing well in the ruck he'll probably stay in the ruck. We'll see how it goes."

Thompson also outlined that the club would need to be careful not to burden talented forward Jason Winderlich, who is set to make his senior return against the Blues.

"He's a quality player, it's fantastic he's back. We're just really cautious, we're trying to get him [to play] 18 games for the year. If he plays 18 we'll win a lot of the games he plays in, that's how highly we rate him."

Winderlich, now a 12-year Bombers veteran, has had an extremely stop-start AFL career. He has been limited to just 18 games over the past three seasons having suffered an array of injuries.

Thompson says he was initially surprised to hear of his leadership group's decision to banish defender Courtenay Dempsey from the Bombers' AFL team.

Dempsey was on Thursday suspended indefinitely from Essendon's senior team and will instead play and train with the club's VFL team until further notice, for what the Bombers said was ''failing to meet the standards and expectations set by the playing group and football club''.

Thompson indicated that the decision was not primarily his own, and admitted his first reaction when approached by the leadership group was to think "oh, that's a bit harsh".

But the dual premiership coach believed that the sanctions would ultimately prove to be beneficial for Dempsey.

"We've got behaviours we want to keep to and if people go outside them at the moment, that's really noticeable," Thompson said.

"Courtenay's been fantastic, he knows, everybody knows when they're not on and I think it'll be a good thing."

Thompson reiterated Essendon's position that it was a range of factors that led to Dempsey being ousted.

"It's been a whole combination of things. He's not on time to things, it annoys people, it really puts people out, it's not one thing in isolation. He's been injured a few times because of it, he's just had a really interrupted pre-season. This will be a good thing for him."

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