Orren Stephenson has been given a medical clearance to line up for North Ballarat Roosters against Essendon at Eureka Stadium on Saturday.
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The veteran ruckman has defied the odds to make himself available for the penultimate home and away round after suffering a depressed cheekbone fracture in the Roosters’ latest outing against Sandringham on August 6.
Selkirk Roosters coach Marc Greig said as long as Stephenson pulled up well from a full scale training session on Thursday night he would play.
He said Stephenson had been determined not to miss a game despite the setback and with a bye last round had the opportunity to achieve this objective.
Greig initially believed Stephenson, who had surgery to help repair the fracture, would not return before the last game of the season against Frankston.
Stephenson will wear a helmet to protect his face.
The Roosters have made just to the two changes for the Essendon clash.
Nick Weightman returns from East Point and Glen Coleman is back from the Ballarat Swans.
Weightman missed the Sandringham game with concussion, but impressed for East Point in the Ballarat Football League on Saturday.
Coleman will be making his second appearance for the season as 23rd player.
Cedric Cox returns to the North Ballarat Rebels after being 23rd man, while Coby Perry is being rested with hamstring soreness.
Essendon thrashed North Ballarat by 85 points in round two, with the Bombers having too much tall timber for an inexperienced Roosters.
Greig said with many changes in personnel since then and the experience gained throughout the season he was confident of a much different outcome this time around.
Roosters’ injury update: James Lukich (groin), Tom Taurau (nose), Shaun Lyle (abductor) season), Ben Lusby (ankle) season, Xavier Vearing (ankle) season), Louis Herbert (shoulder) season, Keegan Mellington (foot) season, Mitch Rodd (ankle) season
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