Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield’s AFL comeback has been pushed back another week and St Kilda have suffered a double blow with Paddy Ryder and Brad Hill also ruled out of round 15.
The Cats insist Dangerfield has not had another setback with his calf injury and simply needs more time, ruling him out of Saturday’s huge clash with Richmond at the MCG.
The selection surprise comes after coach Chris Scott declared Dangerfield fit earlier in the week.
The 32-year-old has not played since hurting his troublesome calf for the third time this year on May 21.
“While we had been confident that Patrick would play on Saturday, the coaches and medical team had earmarked making a final call after Wednesday’s main training session,” Geelong football boss Simon Lloyd said.
“The decision has been made today to give him an opportunity to further build his football and training loads.
“We have been open this season in our tailored approach to players returning from injury and will continue with this approach for the long-term benefit and preparation of the team.”
Jack Henry, Gary Rohan and Max Holmes all return for the Cats against a Tigers outfit bolstered by the return of talisman Dustin Martin after illness.
Kane Lambert (hip), Trent Cotchin (shoulder) and Noah Balta (hamstring) will miss for Richmond, who have recalled Jack Ross and Ivan Soldo.
After a shock loss to Essendon last week, St Kilda’s task of rebounding against Sydney at the SCG got a lot tougher when Hill withdrew because of personal reasons.
Veteran ruckman Ryder has been managed, leaving Rowan Marshall to do battle with returning Swans tall Tom Hickey.
Captain Jack Steele is back for the Saints after four weeks out following shoulder surgery.
Cody Weightman has been named for the Western Bulldogs’ clash with Hawthorn on Friday night, less than a week after dislocating an elbow.
Jordon Sweet and Hayden Crozier replace Tim English (concussion) and Taylor Duryea (knee) for the Dogs against a Hawks side that has made six changes
Mid-season draftee James Blanck will debut alongside Mitch Lewis, Jarman Impey and James Worpel, who all return, with Sam Frost and Chad Wingard among those unavailable through injury.
Tim Kelly and Liam Ryan are back for West Coast’s Friday night meeting with Essendon, who have lost Andrew McGrath (adductor).
The Bombers also flew west without prolific on-baller Darcy Parish, who remains sidelined by a badly corked calf.
Fremantle have lost small forward Michael Walters to injury but regain spearhead Matt Taberner for the clash with Carlton’s undermanned defence, with Brodie Kemp called up to fill a hole in the Blues’ back line.
Sunday brings a feel-good story in a tough season for North Melbourne as Jackson Archer – the son of club great Glenn Archer – makes his debut against Adelaide in Hobart.
GWS duo Phil Davis (hamstring) and Tim Taranto (back) have been picked on an extended bench after overcoming injuries, with Kieren Briggs recalled to bolster a depleted ruck department against Collingwood.
The Magpies will be without Jordan De Goey, who has been granted personal leave amid the fallout from his mid-season trip to Bali, as they aim for a fifth consecutive win.
Travis Boak has been named to return for Port Adelaide in the crunch clash with Gold Coast.