Lloyd wants Clarkson to replace Rutten at Bombers, Cameron hamstrung, Fyfe close to comeback

Alastair Clarkson’s confrontational style is exactly what Essendon need to turn their AFL fortunes around, club legend Matthew Lloyd says.

Lloyd does not believe incumbent coach Ben Rutten will survive in the role as the Bombers’ hierarchy launches a late bid for the four-time Hawthorn premiership mastermind.

It comes after an external football department review was announced on Monday and amid changes at board level. David Barham has replaced Paul Brasher as president, with the latter one of Rutten’s biggest supporters.

The 39-year-old Rutten is nearing the end of his second year as Essendon coach and is contracted for 2023.

But his future in the role could be decided even before the external review, which Barham described as a “line in the sand moment” for the 150-year-old club.

Lloyd backed the push for Clarkson, who is already weighing up an offer from North Melbourne and has been in talks with GWS.

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“He’s the best candidate out there,” Lloyd said on Sportsday on Monday night.

“Alastair is quite a confronting person … to me, that is what this football club needs because they’ve made little minor adjustments but at the end of the day it doesn’t get the club anywhere.”

The findings of an internal football department review – the second of its kind in three seasons – were presented to the Essendon board two weeks ago.

It has since been decided that an external review is required.

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The Bombers’ board has been split this year between giving Rutten more time and making a change.

“That’s where I admire David Barham because I think he’s pushed and pushed and pushed,” Lloyd said.

“Now he’s become the president and I think he’s one of those ones that’s pushing for change and the external review.”

Asked if he thinks Rutten will remain in his role beyond this season, Lloyd said: “I don’t think he will, no. My opinion is, on what I’ve seen this year, I wouldn’t go with Ben Rutten next year.”

Essendon have famously not won a final since 2004, having claimed their most recent premiership four years earlier. Lloyd, the Coleman Medal winner in that premiership season, said he has been “frustrated for years” but has been buoyed by Barham’s appointment.

Jeremy Cameron of the Cats celebrates kicking a goal

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Cameron, Stanley under injury clouds

Geelong are racing against the clock to have two stars fit for the AFL finals, with Jeremy Cameron and Rhys Stanley both under injury clouds.

Key forward Cameron suffered a low-grade right hamstring strain during the final stages of last week’s big win over Gold Coast.

It is the same leg in which he suffered three hamstring injuries last year.

The minor premier Cats expect Cameron to be fit for their qualifying final in week one, with the 29-year-old having three weeks to recover from the setback.

“We chose to take a no-risk policy and decided not to have him return to the field,” Geelong medical and conditioning boss Harry Taylor said.

“Jeremy has assessed well, and scans confirmed low-level fluid consistent with a minor strain.

“We will track his progress through the week and he will be managed according to benchmark measures.”

The setback rules Cameron out of Coleman Medal contention.

The former GWS forward has kicked 59 goals for the season – three fewer than Charlie Curnow – and would have been a good chance to overtake the Carlton star at the top of the leaderboard with a big haul against lowly West Coast at GHMBA Stadium on Saturday.

Stanley will also miss the Eagles clash, having suffered a low-grade strain to his adductor.

“Rhys will begin a reconditioning program that we expect will have him available for selection for the first final,” Taylor said.

Back-up ruckman Jonathon Ceglar is in the frame to replace Stanley in the Geelong team, while Esava Ratugolea is also fit if required but has been playing as a key defender in the VFL.

Fyfe looks fine to return

Fremantle are a good chance to regain captain Nat Fyfe for Saturday’s important meeting with GWS in Canberra.

Fyfe is close to recovering from a hamstring injury and faces a test later this week, while Roy Lobb is in some doubt after being substituted out of last week’s derby win over West Coast.

“Rory’s been dealing with a few knocks and bruises through his chest and shoulder region, so he’ll be a test to play this week,” Dockers high performance manager Phil Merriman said.

“Nathan’s got to get through training on Wednesday, and if so, he should be available to play.”

The sixth-placed Dockers need to beat GWS and rely on other results falling their way in order to sneak into the top-four.

The Giants have lost Tanner Bruhn (concussion) and Lachlan Keeffe (groin) for their last game of the season, while Tim Taranto and James Peatling are likely to return from concussion protocols.

Ruckman Braydon Preuss faces a test after missing last week with a shoulder complaint.

Bobby Hill is a chance to play in the VFL on Saturday, having increased his training loads after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer at the start of June.

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