Wary punters abandon Freo
Zac Clarke. Pic: WA News

Essendon are poised to start favourites in Sunday's clash with Fremantle at Patersons Stadium after a stream of money for the Bombers turned the market on its head.

The Dockers opened as $1.65 favourites opposed to Essendon's $2.20, but the extent of Michael Walters' and Chris Mayne's ankle injuries saw the Bombers trim to $1.82 last night.

Fremantle had drifted to $2.

Essendon's selection contributed to the hype yesterday.

Originally thought likely to rest veterans Paul Chapman and Dustin Fletcher from the trip west, the Bombers named both in their team, with a final decision on whether they play likely today.

"We will see how Chapman is tomorrow morning as to whether he plays or not," Essendon coach Mark Thompson told the club website. "Fletcher and Chapman are still not over the line, but not out of the team either."

The Bombers added Leroy Jetta, Travis Colyer and Dylan van Unen to their side that flogged Carlton last Sunday night.

Mayne was ruled out yesterday, joining Walters and Garrick Ibbotson (dislocated shoulder) on the sidelines following the heavy defeat to Hawthorn last Friday night. They join Michael Barlow (knee) and Nat Fyfe (suspended) as observers.

The Dockers recalled Zac Dawson after serving a week's suspension and Zac Clarke will play his first AFL game for the season after a summer knee injury forced him back to the WAFL.

Colin Sylvia, Josh Simpson, Matt Taberner and Clancee Pearce were included on a seven-man interchange bench, alongside Nick Suban, Tom Sheridan and Jack Hannath.

TAB's fixed odds betting manager Ben Pomatti said there had been a steady stream of money for the Bombers throughout the week and that had only increased as more news of Fremantle's injury problems had emerged.

"It hasn't been anything huge," he said. "We have just been trimming them up as more money comes in. They would definitely not be a great result for us."

Meanwhile, Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley has told the club's website that he is no certainty to play on Jobe Watson, naming other midfielders Dyson Heppell, Brent Stanton and David Zaharakis as possible targets.

"I haven't played on Jobe for the past couple of times we've played Essendon," Crowley said.

"He's one of those guys that's really hard to stop getting the ball. He got away from me a bit a couple of years ago at home because he's so good on the inside."

The West Australian

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