Battle and Howard Cleared for Comeback as St Kilda Braces for GWS Final

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An anticipated elimination final sees St Kilda rejoicing, as Josh Battle and Dougal Howard are cleared to make their comeback. Battle braces himself to rejoin the side for the upcoming final against GWS, after a bout with the concussion protocols due to a lost round 24 match against Brisbane. Howard, on the other hand, whose wrist injury recovery isn’t an assurance of his play, due to Zaine Cordy’s impressive performance as his substitute.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Jack Hayes, the team’s crucial forward, is out for the season, due to a calf strain sustained during training last week, following a match with the Lions. A procedure for his knee is imminent, with the 27-year-old’s focus now shifting to a full pre-season.

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Acting football boss, David Misson conveys hopefulness about Seb Ross’s availability for the Giants’ clash as he recuperates from a hamstring strain. According to Misson, the pre-finals bye has been advantageous in fortifying the team’s list, and increasing player availability for the impending matches.

2022 initially seemed promising for Hayes after being chosen as an SSP selection from the SANFL, until a fateful ACL injury alongside foot and hamstring issues kept him away from senior level since last year’s round 6. Nevertheless, Hayes’s contract extends till the close of next year.

Misson expressed satisfaction in Hayes’s round 24 AFL return, however, his nonlinear recovery has raised concerns. Post the game, Hayes experienced soreness and a consequent calf strain during training.

Anthony Caminiti, a first-year forward, is also all set to exit the concussion protocols, making him available for Saturday’s match. In addition, Zak Jones (knee) and Dan McKenzie (calf) are nearly geared up for a full training return.

As a separate update, Sydney anticipates Tom Papley’s availability against Carlton on Friday night, after hamstring tightness benched him during round 24. Furthermore, Justin McInerney is in a race against time to return to fitness after a month-long absence, due to a calf strain. As per Swans’ head physio Damian Raper, Papley’s recovery process has been commendable. McInerney, having completed his calf strain rehabilitation, is back in full training and may face Carlton upon passing a fitness test.