North Melbourne defenders can sleep a little easier on Friday night after Sydney champion Lance Franklin was ruled out of Saturday night’s match against the Kangaroos.
The champion goalkicker who needs just 14 goals to reach the 1000-goal milestone has been managed as teams in the top eight prepare for the possibility that the pre-finals bye will be scrapped in 2021.
Sydney dropped Dylan Stephens and Jake Lloyd is injured with Braeden Campbell, Lewis Melican and Hayden McLean included. They play the Kangaroos, who selected Charlie Comben to make his debut.
Lance Franklin.Credit:Getty Images
After a frustrating run with injury, Franklin’s former teammate, Saints’ midfielder Dan Hannebery, will play his first senior game for a year when St Kilda play Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday.
The 30-year-old has worked hard to regain his fitness and showed how invested he is in the club when he renegotiated the final year of his four-year deal to play for less money in 2022.
He rejoins a team that needs to win to keep their slim top eight hopes alive with Max King declared fit after battling with an adductor injury late in the team’s win over Sydney last week.
They will meet a strong Geelong team with star forward Jeremy Cameron returning from a hamstring injury while Isaac Smith, Lachie Henderson and Mark O’Connor all return.
The Cats lost Gary Rohan to a hip problem, Zach Tuohy to a hamstring complaint while Jordan Clark, and Nathan Kreuger were dropped.
Richmond are unchanged for their must-win match against the Giants who will be without interim skipper Toby Greene after he was suspended for elbowing the Cats’ Patrick Dangerfield.
The Giants also lost Brent Daniels with a hamstring injury but recalled Josh Kelly after he was a late withdrawal against the Cats and Jacob Hopper is back from concussion with Shane Mumford, Jesse Hogan, Adam Kennedy and Daniel Lloyd included. Phil Davis was not picked.
Josh Bruce’s ACL injury has forced the Western Bulldogs to recast their forward line with Luke Beveridge also without Josh Schache against the Hawks after he hurt his knee against Essendon. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Anthony Scott are managed as Ed Richards was dropped.
Mitch Hannan, Cody Weightman, Lewis Young, Latham Vandermeer and key defender Alex Keath are back for the Bulldogs who have a deep list.
The Hawks’ Dylan Moore is out injured as the teams head to Tasmania.
Carlton talls Liam Jones and Harry McKay are out for the rest of the season, making way for Brodie Kemp to make his debut in Marc Murphy’s 300th game with Mitch McGovern also included.
The Blues travel to Port Adelaide with their coach David Teague under enormous pressure as the Power dropped Sam Powell-Pepper in a surprising move. Tom Clurey replaces injured defender Trent McKenzie.
Collingwood’s Jeremy Howe will miss the match against Brisbane Lions to be at the birth of his baby, but the Magpies get back Josh Daicos who has been missing since round 16. Isaac Quaynor is ill and John Noble has been dropped.
The Lions recall Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale and key defender Darcy Gardiner after their impressive win over the Dockers. Hard nut Mitch Robinson is injured and the barometer Rhys Mathieson was dropped.
Essendon recalled Dyson Heppell and Andy McGrath has been named in the squad for Sunday’s match over Gold Coast. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is being managed as the Bombers look to get him back in form if they make finals in a fortnight. He has kicked just two goals in his past four matches.
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