Essendon coach Ben Rutten says Cale Hooker isn’t any certainty to be on the AFL membership subsequent 12 months regardless of the versatile veteran main the Bombers’ goal-kicking this season.
Turning 33 in October, Hooker is out of contract on the finish of 2021 and can qualify for unrestricted free company.
The 218-game stalwart has been a vital a part of the Bombers’ surge to finals rivalry throughout Rutten’s first season as head coach.
Hooker has kicked 32.22 from 17 video games – tied for many targets with Bombers small ahead Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (32.13).
He has additionally been beneficial in nurturing rising ahead Harrison Jones and offering assist for low season recruit Peter Wright.
“There’s in all probability not certainty about it simply but, however there is definitely been good dialog and good dialogue with Cale all through the entire 12 months, as I (have) with lots of gamers,” Rutten stated.
“I believe Cale’s been taking part in a extremely vital function for us all through this season.
“He is had some inexperienced guys in and round him and I believe his affect and his capability to permit Jonesy to do what he is been in a position to do that 12 months, and likewise to have the ability to assist assist Pete, and Cale has been in a position to have some actually important affect in some video games as properly.
“We have to weigh all of that up and work with Cale as properly.
“It is a large choice for each events to have the ability to proceed on and we’ll be sure we do what’s finest for him and the footy membership.”
Hooker has managed simply 5.5 from his previous 5 video games however will once more be a central determine within the Bombers’ plans as they tackle fellow finals contenders GWS on Sunday at a venue nonetheless to be decided.
In the meantime, midfielder Andrew McGrath’s slim possibilities of returning this season have virtually definitely been extinguished by his enforced stint in isolation.
The midfielder is sidelined by a knee damage sustained in the course of the Dreamtime sport in June and was thought-about an outdoor likelihood to play a job within the Bombers’ finals push.
However McGrath’s go to to a Tier 1 COVID-19 publicity web site – he was one in all a bunch of AFL gamers and workers who attended the Wallabies’ rugby union worldwide towards France in Melbourne final week – has hampered his rehabilitation program.
“He is a extremely constructive, upbeat man, so he is dealing with that in addition to anybody might,” Rutten stated.
“He is going to have the ability to discover a method to maintain his conditioning as much as some degree, however definitely not precisely how we would prefer it if he was in our program.
“He is nonetheless bought a brace on his knee and he is nonetheless in these early phases of his restoration, so there will be a little bit of a value when it comes to his return.
“However when it comes to that last date, he is nonetheless a little bit bit restricted about what he can do anyway, so hopefully we do not lose an excessive amount of floor there.”