Stars return for Magpies, Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stars return for Magpies, Hawks

31/07/2008 07:28:13 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood have welcomed back ruckman Josh Fraser among four changes as they seek to arrest their flagging form in Friday night's crunch AFL match against Hawthorn at the MCG.

The Hawks, out to break their own two-match losing streak, have also been significantly boosted, regaining former skipper Shane Crawford and injury-prone superboot Stuart Dew.

The Magpies, on the verge of the top four a fortnight ago, could drop out of the eight if they lose to the Hawks, after defeats to North Melbourne and Essendon in the past two rounds.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse suggested the high number of players that had been absent through injury, including Fraser, who missed the past five rounds with a knee problem, had contributed to the form slump.

"We've lost a ruckman who for all intents and purposes played his best game in the State of Origin (Hall of Fame Tribute) game and now will come back into the side," Malthouse said.

Fraser spent the past two rounds playing in the VFL before satisfying club medical staff he was ready to ruck again.

Also coming in for the Pies were Ryan Lonie, for what will be his first senior game of the year after a series of soft tissue injuries, and youngsters Tyson Goldsack and Alan Toovey.

Ruckman Cameron Wood was dropped to make way for Fraser, along with midfielder Ben Johnson, while pacy running player Rhyce Shaw was forced out by a back injury and veteran defender Shane Wakelin will be rested.

Wakelin's absence leaves Collingwood with an inexperienced defence to take on the talented Hawthorn attack, which includes star talls Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead.

Crawford returns after two weeks on the sidelines battling knee tendonitis, while Dew has missed the past four games with a hamstring injury.

The Hawks were forced to omit Michael Osborne (corked buttock) and dropped Travis Tuck.

Essendon and Melbourne have both lost key forwards for Saturday's MCG meeting.

The Bombers will be without Scott Lucas (back), replaced by Andy Lovett, who returns from a club-imposed suspension, while the Demons will be missing Brad Miller (hamstring).

Melbourne also dumped youngsters Nathan Jones and Michael Newton, with Brad Green, Austin Wonaeamirri and Paul Wheatley all back from injury.

Top-placed Geelong regained tagger Cameron Ling - from the facial fracture inflicted by Fremantle's Dean Solomon in round 15 - and defender Darren Milburn, from illness, for Saturday night's match against Richmond at Telstra Dome.

But the Cats, still without Gary Ablett and David Wojcinski, have lost dangerous half-forward Paul Chapman (hamstring).

The Tigers named an unchanged side, after last weekend's thrilling win over Brisbane.

The Lions made four changes for their crucial clash with North Melbourne on the Gold Coast on Saturday night, dropping Robert Copeland, Tim Notting, Cheynee Stiller and Tom Collier.

Into the side came Colm Begley, Rhan Hooper, Albert Proud and first-game key position player Scott Clouston.

The Kangaroos made one change, dropping young ruckman Todd Goldstein, in favour of utility Leigh Brown.

Adelaide also made one change for their crunch encounter with Carlton at AAMI Stadium on Saturday, young tall forward Kurt Tippett making way for defender Kris Massie.

The Blues' only change was the return of Dennis Armfield, replacing tall forward Adam Hartlett.

Slumping Sydney lost star midfielder Adam Goodes (groin), as well as key forward Henry Playfair (hamstring), for Sunday's Canberra meeting with the Western Bulldogs.

But full-back Leo Barry and running defender Nick Malceski returned from injury to their 25-man squad.

The `Dogs, also looking to get back on track after two straight losses, have lost Dylan Addison to a knee injury in the only omission from their squad so far.

St Kilda regained ruckman-forward Justin Koschitzke from suspension, but have lost full-back Max Hudghton (calf) for Sunday's Telstra Dome meeting with Port Adelaide.

The Power's stocks are dwindling, with captain Warren Tredrea (shoulder) and Steven Salopek (Achilles) out for the season and Troy Chaplin (ankle) also sidelined.

Port's focus on the future was signalled by the naming of three untried players - Mitch Farmer, Nick Salter and Ryan Williams - in their squad.

Fremantle and West Coast both regained their captains for Sunday's derby clash at Subiaco, Matthew Pavlich back from a knee injury and Darren Glass from a thigh problem.

But young Dockers ruckman Robert Warnock will undergo shoulder surgery on Friday and miss the rest of the season.

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