Morris back for Western Bulldogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Morris back for Western Bulldogs

By Sam Lienert and Guy Hand 16/09/2010 08:55:00 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt says he would love to go war with Steven Baker, but chances are he will not be playing an AFL final with him this season.

The feisty tagger, who has not played since his nine-match suspension against Geelong in round 13, was again left out for Saturday night's preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs.

The Dogs were boosted by the return from injury of valuable defender Dale Morris, in the only change made by any of the four remaining finalists.

Collingwood overlooked veteran defender Simon Prestigiacomo for Friday night's blockbuster against Geelong, despite the reliable stopper's recovery from a thigh injury sustained in round 20.

The Cats could not find a spot for running defender Andrew Mackie or ruckman Mark Blake, both regulars until they were dropped for last weekend's big semi-final win over Fremantle.

Baker's absence is a bad sign for his chances of playing again this season, even if their Saints reach the grand final, although he could still be a late inclusion after being named as an emergency.

Having served his ban over the last nine home and away rounds, he was a late withdrawal for the Saints' qualifying final against Geelong because of a toe injury.

Riewoldt said he and his teammates would love to have the 2005 best and fairest run out with them.

"From a player's point of view, I have played with him my whole career and he's a guy you'd love to go to war with," Riewoldt said.

"He would jump on a grenade for you, he's that sort of player.

"If there's a spot for him in the team he'd be welcome."

Coach Ross Lyon said Baker was respected, but there were risks with recalling a player for a final after a 12-week absence.

Given the risk of including him for a grand final after another week off would be even greater, Baker's season appears over barring a late change on Saturday night.

Prestigiacomo, 32, will also face a fight to make the Magpies' grand final side, should they beat the Cats on Friday night.

Collingwood stuck with 21-year-old Nathan Brown as their fullback, with the veteran not even named as an emergency.

Coach Mick Malthouse said Prestigiacomo was "24 hours to 36 hours off" being ready for selection and Brown had performed well.

But Prestigiacomo remained in grand final contention.

"If we win (against Geelong) he trains like anything on the Saturday and gets ready for the next game," Malthouse told the Seven Network's AFL Game day on Thursday night.

Midfielder Sharrod Wellingham retained his spot, with the club confident he has overcome an ankle injury sustained in the qualifying final thrashing of the Bulldogs.

The Cats named Mackie and Blake as emergencies.

Morris replaced bullocking forward Mitch Hahn for the Bulldogs.

His return is a huge boost, with the club initially counting him out for the rest of the season, after he fractured a vertebrae against Sydney in round 21.

His reliability and versatility in defence will be crucial, as a possible opponent for in-form St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt or one of the smaller Saints' forwards.

Morris has to get through another training session on Friday, but coach Rodney Eade was very positive.

"He trained yesterday and got through pretty well. We did some physical work with him and he didn't feel anything, which was good," Eade told SEN radio on Thursday.

He said defenders Brian Lake and Tom Williams and midfielder Ryan Griffen, who have been playing with injury, were in better shape than last week.

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