Bombers’ key ruckmen in doubt for Cats clash

Essendon's Andrew Phillips could face a suspension after a high bump against Adelaide on Sunday.

Essendon's Andrew Phillips could face a suspension after a high bump against Adelaide on Sunday. Photo: AAP

Essendon may be forced to take on AFL heavyweights Geelong without their two best ruckmen as Andrew Phillips faces possible suspension over a high bump on Adelaide’s Reilly O’Brien.

Phillips will come under scrutiny after electing to bump O’Brien and catching his direct opponent high in the dying stages of the Bombers’ 18-point win on Sunday.

The result set up a monster fifth-versus-eighth clash with the Cats at GMHBA Stadium next round.

But a ban for Phillips, coupled with Sam Draper’s ongoing battle with a hip injury, could mean eight-game ruckman Nick Bryan is thrust into the Bombers’ ruck role.

Replays showed Phillips appeared to make contact with his shoulder to O’Brien’s chin, though the Crows’ ruckman was not seriously hurt.

“We want our ruckmen to shepherd and I haven’t looked at in detail on whether he got him high or not but the impact didn’t look huge,” Bombers coach Brad Scott said.

“We’ll let the MRO take care of that.”

On Sunday, GWS defender Nick Haynes was handed a one-match ban for a dangerous tackle on Hawthorn’s Josh Ward.

Ward’s head appeared to bounce off the ground after Haynes grabbed his left arm and dragged him down to the turf.

The incident was assessed as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact, drawing a one-match suspension.

Unless Haynes successfully challenges the ban, he will miss Saturday’s crunch clash with Adelaide.

Port Adelaide’s Sam Powell-Pepper can escape with a $2000 fine for a forceful front-on contact charge.

Gold Coast’s Charlie Ballard was fined $3000 for tripping Port’s Zak Butters, while Melbourne’s James Jordon received a $1000 hit to the hip pocket for careless contact with an umpire.

Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis is facing a ban of at least three weeks after being sent straight to the tribunal for his high bump on Sydney’s Jake Lloyd.

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