AAP AFL

Bombers boosted by Hurley, axe five in AFL

By AAP Newswire

Essendon have been boosted by the return of star defender Michael Hurley, with John Worsfold wielding the axe, the under-fire coach making five unforced changes for the crucial AFL clash with Fremantle.

Hurley is back after four weeks out with a shoulder injury, with Adam Saad, Darcy Parish, Aaron Francis and Brayden Ham also in for Saturday night's encounter at Optus Stadium.

Worsfold, seeking a strong response after last week's humiliating loss to the Western Buldogs, dropped Dylan Clarke, Josh Begley, David Myers, Ben McNiece and Mark Baguley.

The Dockers have brought back Hayden Ballantyne for a farewell game, with Cam McCarthy also included, the pair replacing the axed Banfield and Jason Carter.

Second-placed Brisbane named an unchanged line-up for Saturday's huge encounter with ladder leaders Geelong at the Gabba, while the Cats brought in Mark O'Connor in at the expense of Sam Menegola.

In round 22's other top-four clash, Dustin Martin returns for Richmond, with Jake Aarts, Ivan Soldo and Marlion Pickett also included in an extended squad for Sunday's game against third-placed West Coast.

The Eagles added Chris Masten, Nathan Vardy, Josh Rotham and Jarrod Cameron to their squad which would be trimmed on Friday afternoon.

Adelaide will give two specialist ruckmen a try for the first time this season when they host Collingwood on Saturday, with Reilly O'Brien into the side and Sam Jacobs keeping his spot.

Paul Seedsman earns a recall against his old side to play his 100th AFL game, while the Pies replace Josh Daicos with John Noble.

Zak Butters and Ryan Burton are in for Port Adelaide, who need a win against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium to maintain their hold on eighth spot.

Despite kicking a record low score in last week's big loss to Geelong, the Roos made just one change, bringing in Sam Durdin at the expense of Mason Wood.

In his first game as Carlton's permanent replacement for Brendon Bolton, new coach David Teague included Matthew Kennedy and Paddy Dow for Saturday's encounter with St Kilda at the MCG.

Veteran Saints defender Nathan Brown came in to replace Nick Coffield, who dislocated a shoulder against Fremantle.

Kieren Jack is back for Sydney when they kick off the round on Friday night against Melbourne at the MCG.

Injured pair Steven May and Oscar McDonald are among the five changes made by the Demons, with Alex Neal-Bullen and debutant Kade Chandler two of the inclusions.

Josh Kelly, Matt de Boer and Harry Himmelberg headline GWS additions for Sunday's match against the Bulldogs at Giants Stadium, but Jeremy Cameron and Brett Deledio, who has announced his retirement, are injured.

Jarryd Roughead gets a chance to farewell Melbourne-based fans after being named in Hawthorn's extended squad to take on Gold Coast on Sunday at Marvel Stadium.

Jack Scrimshaw, Ben McEvoy and Jack Gunston were also added, with the Suns naming George Horlin-Smith, Jordan Murdoch, Brad Scheer, Peter Wright and Aaron Young on an extended bench.