AFL News: Dogs make Libba comeback call after concussion dramas, Swans star faces lengthy bump ban


Western Bulldogs star Tom Liberatore has been given the green light to return to AFL action next month despite twice collapsing on the field this season.

Liberatore has been sidelined since round eight, when he suffered his latest concussion in a series of concerning incidents.

The 32-year-old “underwent extensive specialist consultation” in recent weeks and has been medically cleared to make a comeback.

“We have continued to be very diligent and thorough in our processes for assessing and managing Tom following his most recent concussion in round eight,” the Bulldogs’ head of sports medicine Chris Bell said.

“This has involved specialist review and opinion to help guide his return-to-play planning.

“In some great news, after some reassuring results, we have devised a structured return-to-play plan that, if everything goes well, will see Tom returning to play across the next two to three weeks.”

Liberatore’s clearance comes less than a week after Bulldogs draftee Aiden O’Driscoll was forced into premature retirement because of concussion, without playing an AFL game.

The Bulldogs have also confirmed dashing defender Jason Johannisen is expected to miss up to five weeks with a hamstring injury sustained at training last week.

Fellow backman Ryan Gardner will be sidelined for at least three months because of a wrist injury.

“Ryan innocuously punched a footy, which ruptured a key structural ligament in his wrist,” Bell said.

“This injury will not heal with conservative management, with Ryan needing surgery to reconstruct the damaged ligament.

“We will confirm Ryan’s rehab plan following the surgery, but expect him to miss at least the next three months.”

Meanwhile, Collingwood star Jordan De Goey is at risk of missing Friday night’s clash with Fremantle in Perth – but not because of concussion.

De Goey’s head hit the turf in the final term of Collingwood’s four-point win over Adelaide on Saturday, leading to questions about whether the star midfielder should have been allowed back on the field.

But De Goey has been cleared of any delayed concussion symptoms, with a sore groin now his only issue.

The Magpies say De Goey will be further assessed this week after experiencing “awareness in his groin” during the win over Adelaide.

De Goey was playing his first match back after missing two weeks with a groin injury.

Beau McCreery (concussion) and Brody Mihocek (hamstring) are a chance to return against the Dockers.

Fremantle are hopeful ruckman Sean Darcy (calf) will be given the green light to return, but goalsneak Michael Frederick will miss through concussion. 

Essendon confirmed on Monday night that midfielder Darcy Parish would miss three games with a calf strain.

Parish was a late withdrawal from Sunday’s win over North Melbourne after waking up with a sore calf, and scans on Monday have confirmed the extent of the damage.

The 26-year-old will miss games against Richmond, Gold Coast and Carlton, before returning after the bye to face West Coast on June 23.

Parker in strife for VFL bump

Experienced Sydney midfielder Luke Parker is facing a possible suspension of five or more matches over the heavy bump that landed a VFL opponent in hospital with facial injuries.

Parker, who has been unable to break into the AFL ladder-leading Swans’ senior side since recovering from injury a month ago, ran past the ball and made contact with Frankston’s Josh Smith last Friday night.

The Swan’s actions were graded as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact at Monday’s VFL match review.

Under VFL guidelines, a base four-match sanction could have been offered.

But the league is set to argue for a penalty of at least five matches after sending Parker directly to the tribunal.

The Sydney Swans might be flying at the moment but the club, and veteran Luke Parker, are at the centre of the latest bump controversy. @NathanJCurrie #9News

— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) May 20, 2024

AFL football operations manager Josh Mahoney said Parker’s bump was the sort of incident the league was working to eradicate.

“We are trying to do everything we can to protect the head,” Mahoney told the AFL website.

“We understand there are some collisions in our game but any time we can prevent an incident from occurring where there is an incident involving a high contact or concussion, we are trying to make those changes as much as we can.”

Former Swans co-captain Parker missed the start of the season with a broken arm and has played four VFL matches on return.

The 31-year-old veteran of 283 AFL games is now set for another stint on the sidelines, while Smith faces a lengthy recovery period after sustaining multiple facial fractures in the incident.

Meanwhile, Essendon forward Harrison Jones is set to miss the annual Dreamtime match against Richmond after being handed a one-match ban for rough conduct over a sling tackle on North Melbourne’s Zac Fisher.

Port Adelaide vice-captain Zak Butters received two fines totalling more than $13,000 after being charged with rough conduct on Hawthorn’s Lloyd Meek and wrestling with Jack Ginnivan.

Butters’ penalties can be reduced to a total of $8125 with early guilty pleas.

The rough conduct charge was his third of the season.

Ginnivan was also fined for wrestling and can accept a $1250 fine.

North Melbourne’s Paul Curtis was fined $1250 for tripping Essendon’s Ben Hobbs and Port Adelaide’s Willem Drew was fined $2500 for rough conduct on Hawthorn’s Jai Newcombe.

with AAP

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