MASON Redman went from hospital to best afield within a week, with Essendon coach Ben Rutten praising his defender's performance against North Melbourne on Sunday.
The attacking half-back was substituted out of the Bombers' tight loss to Collingwood last week and coughed up blood post-game after a heavy landing from a marking contest.
But a week later he was a key playmaker in the Bombers' 48-point win over the Kangaroos, which was the club's fourth win from its past five games in an end-of-year form spike.
BOMBERS V KANGAROOS Full match details and stats
Rutten said Redman, who is a free agent next season, had needed late clearance to be available to face the Roos before he gathered 32 disposals, 10 marks and kicked a long goal.
"He ended up in hospital to get cleared of anything substantial or serious, which he was. And then it was a bit about comfort level throughout the week so he was very quiet throughout the early part of the week. He did enough in our main session to feel confident and we probably still needed final sign-off yesterday for him," Rutten said post-game.
"To come out and perform the way he did was really pleasing."
The Bombers were without star midfield trio Darcy Parish (calf), Andrew McGrath (health and safety protocols) and Dylan Shiel (hamstring), but managed to kickstart plenty of their attack from defence as they recorded their highest score of the year – 17.12 (114) – against the likely wooden spooners.
"As a result of losing some territory and field position from clearance we were putting our backs under a bit of pressure and then had to move the ball the length of the ground," Rutten said.
"It's not the ideal way we want it but the way our backs stood up [was great]. There were some huge efforts from (Brandon Zerk-Thatcher) and I thought Redman's 120-minute performance was pretty impressive for us and he's been doing a lot of that throughout the course of this season."
Kangaroos counterpart Leigh Adams was pleased with much of his team's efforts through the game but frustrated by its inability to make the most of its play.
"The game was looking the way we want but a little bit of a combination of our fundamentals of being able to finish our work and connection forward of centre probably hurt us," he said.
Cam Zurhaar kicked four goals for the Kangaroos while former Magpie Jaidyn Stephenson was at half-back and found 34 disposals as the third-leading disposal winner on the ground. But Adams said with Aaron Hall expected to return next week from health and safety protocols, he was unsure how the Kangaroos' half-back line would set up.
"We like to have at least one guy who can really attack off the back half and without having Aaron Hall in there tonight we thought we needed Jaidyn down there. He'll find the ball no matter what from an offensive point of view but what he's been doing really well back there is defending as well when he has to," Adams said.
"Last week he plays forward and we're not able to move the ball that well and get it into him, so it's something we'll have to weigh up whether it's him and 'Hally' back there or whether we just need one of them [in that role]. I've been really happy with his games off half-back."