Essendon coach John Worsfold has rejected suggestions Devon Smith wasn't ready for an AFL recall after the tough midfielder suffered another knee injury.
The Bombers were unsure of Smith's prognosis after Collingwood prevailed by four points in an enthralling Anzac Day game at the MCG.
Smith spent time in the Essendon rooms during the third quarter, re-emerged with his right knee heavily strapped then was pulled from the game during the final term and watched on from the bench with his knee iced.
The Bombers' reigning best and fairest winner had been held back from last week's win over North Melbourne to help manage a persistent knee issue.
But Worsfold insisted Smith had been fit to play in the Anzac Day game, despite being well down on his usual impact prior to requiring treatment.
"Why wouldn't he have (played)? He was absolutely 100 percent fit and felt the best he had this week more than any other week," Worsfold said.
"If there was any week where he shouldn't have played, it was maybe the first four rounds if you're talking about how he's feeling.
"Something has happened to his knee but we're not sure yet. I'm guessing it's not the same issue because they're saying they don't really know what it is - if it was the same issue they would just say that it was his cranky knee."
Small forward Orazio Fantasia was a late withdrawal after failing to overcome an illness but should be available to face Geelong next Sunday.
Spearhead Joe Daniher delivered an outstanding four-goal performance in his second game back from a year-long injury absence.
Worsfold said the Bombers' medical staff had given Daniher the green light to back up off a four-day break from the Good Friday win over the Kangaroos.
"All of that happened professionally by smarter people than me and hard work by Joe," Worsfold said.
"He performed his role today really well."