Essendon coach John Worsfold expects stars David Zaharakis and Devon Smith to be fit for the Anzac Day showdown with Collingwood, adding more firepower to a team that thumped North Melbourne by 58 points at Marvel Stadium.
The Bombers have won three straight and are averaging 18 goals a game during their winning spell after a poor start to the season, and are now emerging as the finals threat they were expected to have been.
They were buoyed by the return of Joe Daniher on Good Friday, who finished with two goals, including a 65-metre bomb in the final term.
The Bombers were led by a dominant midfield and half-back line, with Dylan Shiel, Dyson Heppell and Zach Merrett providing drive and combining for 107 disposals.
Forward Orazio Fantasia booted four goals, prospering from a game plan built on taking risks and attacking.
Worsfold said Zaharakis (leg infection) had trained on Friday morning while Smith, rested because of a knee problem, would be available to face the Magpies on Thursday.
"Zaharakis should be okay … possibly if this game was [on Saturday] he might have been right, certainly a day after that," Worsfold said.
"Dev is good. Today was part of his overall plan around the workload he has had and he trained this morning [Friday] and moved well."
Daniher was a late inclusion, replacing Zac Clarke who had a calf bleed on Thursday night, leaving the Bombers, already without injured pair Shaun McKernan and James Stewart, short on marking talent.
Daniher had been due to return via the VFL on Saturday but instead was handed his first senior game since round seven last year. The popular forward had been sidelined with osteitis pubis and then through the pre-season after a kick to the calf from a teammate at training.
He said he had been preparing to play in the VFL when told on Friday morning he was playing that afternoon.
"I felt like the longer I went, the more comfortable I was out here," Daniher said.
Worsfold said Daniher had "played his part for us" and he was "really pleased" with how he had performed.
As he was not named in the original 22 or as one of four emergencies, industry sources say the Bombers could face a fine of up to $25,000.
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