Could the 550-day wait be over for Melbourne ruckman Jake Spencer?
The 27-year-old, who hasn’t played in the AFL since 30 August 2015, will certainly be hoping so after he was given notice last night of a possible return on Sunday.
Spencer, who has played 36 games in nine years at the Demons, was named in an extended match squad for the clash with Carlton at the MCG.
This follows a strong pre-season in which he presented the option to new coach Simon Goodwin of playing Spencer and the imposing Max Gawn as a two-pronged ruck combination.
The question at final selection tonight will be weather Goodwin believes he needs the two big men against the Blues pair of Matthew Kreuzer and Levi Casboult.
At least Spencer has put himself in the frame ahead of Round 2 of the Toyota AFL premiership which began Thursday night when Richmond beat Collingwood by 19 points.
Queensland pair Josh Smith and Jesse White were solid contributors in a beaten Pies side.
The consistent Smith had 19 possessions while White, had 11 disposals, two goals and four hit-outs after being given the opportunity to play as the back-up ruckman to Brodie Grundy ahead of Mason Cox in a smaller side.
In other Queensland news to emerge from Round 2 selections last night:-
Zac Smith faces an anxious wait similar to Spencer ahead of Geelong’s clash with North Melbourne.
A late withdrawal due to injury last week and without a hit-out in three weeks, he has to pass a final fitness test and survive the final selection cut.
Although the former Gold Coast Suns ruckman is considered the Cats’ No.1 ruckman after finishing 10th in the B&F last year the team’s excellent win over Fremantle in Perth last week and his disrupted preparation could prompt coach Chris Scott to go with Rhys Stanley against North ruckman Todd Goldstein.
Another Queenslander in precisely the same boat and part of the same ruck question is North’s Brayden Preuss.
He didn’t lose any friends on debut last week but, like Spencer and Smith, was named last night on an extended interchange bench ahead of final selection.
Ben Keays was omitted from Brisbane side to play Essendon at the Gabba Saturday night, joining Claye Beams and Archie Smith emergencies, while Nick Riewoldt and David Armitage will not play for St.Kilda against West Coast in Perth due to injury.
Brendan Whitecross was named as a Hawthorn emergency for their game against Adelaide in Melbourne on Saturday, and Sam Reid likewise for GWS against the Gold Coast Saturday.
By Peter Blucher