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AFL 2017 Round 20 - Essendon v Carlton

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 05: Orazio Fantasia of the Bombers (left) is consoled by teammate Cale Hooker after injuring his hamstring during the 2017 AFL round 20 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 05, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Gun Essendon forward Orazio Fantasia is unlikely to play again this season, with his right hamstring strain ruling him out until deep into September.

Fantasia is expected to miss up to six weeks. That timeline would see him return for a Preliminary Final if the Bombers advance that far.

They sit in eighth spot with a 10 – 9 record. 

The 21-year-old was hurt in the opening term of last Saturday's win against Carlton at the MCG. 

"It's a grade two plus, which means he's going to miss five-to-six weeks. Obviously we'll need everything to go right," high performance manager Justin Crow told essendonfc.com.au

Star Joe Daniher hurt his left knee in the same play but will train on Wednesday and is expected to be fit for Saturday night's clash with Adelaide at Etihad Stadium. 

"His knee hyperextended and sometimes when that happens, you can get some really bad injuries. Fortunately for Joe and us, he got away with it. He's a little bit sore in his knee but he was able to play out the game and he's looking pretty good this week," Crow said. 

It keeps alive Daniher's bid for a maiden Coleman Medal. His tally of 56 leads West Coast's Josh Kennedy by two.

Meanwhile, mature-aged rookie Ben McNiece will see a neck specialist early next week, when a decision will be made on whether he returns this season. 

He is doing non-contract drills at training. 

An ankle injury to Mitch Brown will keep him sidelined until the final round of the season.

"Mitch Brown's tracking along very well. He'll be available round 23 assuming that everything goes as planned from here," Crow said. 

Meanwhile, veteran James Kelly and youngster Andrew McGrath will face the Crows after being rested against the Blues.

Midfielder Zach Merrett is unavailable for selection after accepting a one-game ban for striking.