ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Sam Draper of the Bombers celebrates a goal during the round five AFL match between Essendon Bombers and Melbourne Demons at Adelaide Oval, on April 15, 2023, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Essendon ruckman Sam Draper is understood to be nursing a hip issue that could keep him out of action for this weekend's clash with Fremantle.

Draper featured in Essendon's King's Birthday Eve win over Carlton n Round 13 but was substituted out of the match with the hip complaint, with a timely bye coming in Round 14 for the Bombers' big man.

Looking to extend their winning run to five straight games on Saturday against the Dockers, Essendon may have to enter the affair without their first-string ruckman.

According to The Age, Draper will be tested throughout the coming days to prove his fitness to face Fremantle, who themselves could welcome back star tall Sean Darcy from a hamstring injury.

Draper and ruck partner Andrew Phillips have provided fluidity to Essendon's middle and attacking thirds throughout the opening half of the season, with the former having 10 goals to his name along with career-highs for disposals and marks per game.

Essendon will finalise their squad for Round 15 on Thursday night and will venture to Western Australia ahead of their meeting with the Dockers at Optus Stadium.

Senior coach Brad Scott is likely to have midfielder Darcy Parish on his whiteboard for the first time since Round 8 in what would be an exciting boost for the Bombers as they look to continue their impressive 2023 campaign.

In their way will be a Dockers outfit that has struggled to recapture the form that saw them claim a finals win last year, with Darcy's pending return sure to be a welcome one for the 13th-placed WA club.

Fremantle could also have James Aish (concussion), Michael Frederick (ankle) and Will Brodie (ankle) available for selection for this weekend.

Saturday's game will take place at Optus Stadium at 5:25pm local time on Saturday evening.