Australian Football Hall of Famer Terry Wallace says Essendon’s depleted ruck stocks could force a positional shift for Shaun McKernan.
Standing at 198cm, McKernan’s strong marking ability makes him an important component to the Bombers’ forward line structure without injured star Joe Daniher.
But with recruit Zac Clarke failing to convince and Tom Bellchambers and Sam Draper sidelined through injury, the former Crow might have to assume the mantle as the No.1 ruckman if Clarke’s form doesn’t improve.
“It’s a conundrum for them because who’s the next best (ruckman)?” Wallace told SEN's The Match Committee.
“With the injuries that they’ve got at the moment you would say McKernan is, but do they need McKernan as the forward and the secondary ruckman?
“The only saving grace for Clarke was I thought his last 10-15 minutes (against Sydney) was ok. I thought he helped them get over the line.”
McKernan, 28, has booted 10 goals and averages 4.6 marks from his nine matches in 2019.
If Essendon are to get the better of North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, they will have to quell the influence of in-form veteran ruckman Todd Goldstein.
Goldstein is fourth in the competition for hit outs and third for ratings points behind Melbourne’s Max Gawn and Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy.