No way Birch comes back in this year. Been out for too long. Not based on anything other than 30 odd years of playing contact sport and following AFL. Has left his run half a dozen games short which is a bugger.
He needs to play one regular season VFL game to be officially available for all VFL finals. However, rules can be bent a la Cyril 2014. We had to pull out another Hawthorn player (was it Sewell) so Cyril could play that VFL GF.
However, if he was not ready by the finals round, it is probably too late anyway.
Hopefully half a VFL game in two weeks, one VFL Final or two or three then back in for the AFL prelim.
I am a massive fan of Birchall but would've thought he will need a VFL return to see if he's still at the skill level and pace of the modern game; only Cyril comes straight back into the side even if its a GF.
Said it in another thread, but if Birch can proves his fitness and comes back in, it’ll benefit us structurally in many ways.
Jarman has been really handy in defence but I think his return to the forward line is bound to happen if Birch comes back. Breust, Poppy and Jarman will regather some of that mosquito fleet form we had in the early rounds of the year!
Rememeber when he came back middle of last year after plenty on here said he was cooked and looked a million bucks?
Dudes skills have been sorely missed, a few guys have been fast tracked because of it, if we can get him back we reap those rewards
We should all be hoping he makes it back