North Melbourne drop Thompson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North Melbourne drop Thompson

By Roger Vaughan and Leonard Siragusa 17/07/2008 07:52:11 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne have dropped key forward Nathan Thompson for the first time since he joined the AFL club.

Thompson has managed only two goals in his last four games and also missed rounds 11 and 12 because of minor knee surgery.

But the Kangaroos recalled Shannon Grant for Friday night's crucial match against Collingwood at Telstra Dome.

North handed Grant a one-game suspension for his drunken behaviour at a club golf day.

They also called up Corey Jones to replace Thompson and left out Blake Grima, which coach Dean Laidley confessed was a tough decision.

"It's pretty hard to tell one of the younger players, to tap them on the shoulder and say `you're out, even though you performed pretty well last week', to bring in a player like Shannon Grant," Laidley said.

"So that's something I've had to wrestle with the whole week."

Thompson joined the Kangaroos in 2005 and was the club's leading goalkicker in `05 and `06.

A knee reconstruction ruined 2007 and he had managed 24 goals in the opening nine rounds of this season.

But Thompson was kept goalless in the round-10 loss to Brisbane and he was then sidelined for two matches with his minor knee operation.

The Magpies are unchanged for the match, which is a must-win for the two teams - North are half a game outside the top eight and Collingwood are half a game outside the top four.

Geelong recalled midfielders James Kelly and Brent Prismall for Saturday's top-of-the-table clash against the Western Bulldogs at Skilled Stadium, replacing injured star duo Gary Ablett (ankle) and Cameron Ling (cheekbone).

Top Bulldogs midfielder Ryan Griffen and forward Scott Welsh will beef up their lineup, with Josh Hill and Cameron Wight making way for them.

Richmond star Matthew Richardson has not recovered from leg injuries in time for Saturday's match against Essendon.

The Tigers made no changes to the team that thrashed West Coast last Sunday, although key defender Will Thursfield was named as an emergency.

But Essendon have even worse injury troubles - they are down to 27 fit players.

Key midfielder Mark McVeigh is out for four to six weeks because of knee surgery, while Andrew Lovett must serve a club-imposed suspension.

The Bombers have recalled Ricky Dyson and Jarrod Atkinson.

Veteran Hawthorn midfielder Shane Crawford is again sidelined with his troublesome knee injury for Saturday night's match against St Kilda, but the Hawks have regained Chance Bateman.

Crawford has struggled for much of this season with his knee tendonitis.

The Saints regained Aaron Fiora and Adam Schneider for Jarryd Allen and James Gwilt.

Key Brisbane players Jonathan Brown (hip) and Simon Black (shoulder) were named for Saturday night's home game against West Coast, but Jed Adcock is out with a quad injury.

Bradd Dalziell will make his senior debut and the Lions recalled Jason Roe and Scott Harding.

Matthew Leuenberger (knee) and Troy Selwood are the other omissions.

The free-falling Eagles made five changes, announcing on Thursday that Adam Hunter (knee and shoulder) and Brett Jones (knee) will have season-ending surgery.

Eric Mackenzie, Chad Fletcher, Jamie McNamara, Scott Selwood and Brent Staker come into the side.

Daniel Kerr (suspended), Steven Armstrong and Michael Braun are the other omissions.

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