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Watson back for Bombers

John Salvado 02/03/2011 05:56:51 PM Comments (0)

Essendon will welcome back skipper Jobe Watson for Friday night's AFL pre-season Cup semi-final against St Kilda.

Watson was rested for the quarter-final victory over Melbourne but is one of several notable inclusions to take on the Saints at Etihad Stadium.

Heath Hocking, David Zaharakis, Kyle Reimers and Sam Lonergan are also back for the Bombers, with evergreen defender Dustin Fletcher, Alwyn Davey and Travis Colyer among those to be rested.

St Kilda decided not to risk forward Sam Gilbert, who pulled up sore from last weekend's big win over Geelong.

The Saints are light-on for fit ruckmen, but have otherwise named a strong team including skipper Nick Riewoldt and vice-captain Lenny Hayes, both of whom played their first matches of 2011 last weekend.

Richmond key forward Jack Riewoldt will miss another week after jarring a knee at training a fortnight ago.

But Tigers skipper Chris Newman and Brett Deledio will both suit up for the first time this year in Friday night's practice match against Hawthorn in Shepparton.

The Hawks are still without new captain Luke Hodge but are otherwise near full strength.

Fullback Matthew Scarlett is among the inclusions for Geelong in Friday night's practice match against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

Port's David Rodan makes a quicker than expected return following a second knee operation.

Ruckman Dean Brogan, Steve Salopek and Hamish Hartlett will all have their first competitive hit-out for Port this year.

Captain Nathan van Berlo (hamstring) is one of the few big-name Crows missing from the line-up to play Carlton at Visy Park on Friday, with Bernie Vince, Scott Thompson, Brett Rutten and Richard Douglas all coming back.

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