Cats’ AFL veterans back, Roos drop Thomas

Geelong have regained Jimmy Bartel and James Kelly for Saturday night’s pivotal AFL clash with North Melbourne, while the Roos have axed goalsneak Lindsay Thomas.

Bartel will play his first game since round three after overcoming a knee injury and Kelly returns from an ankle injury suffered in round 11.

The veteran duo are joined by ruckman Dawson Simpson, with the Cats making three unforced changes.

Thomas is second on North’s goal-kicking list but has failed to hit the scoreboard in the past two games.

He departs the side along with Lachie Hansen (hip), Majak Daw (omitted) and Trent Dumont (omitted) for the encounter that could have big consequences for the finals’ aspirations of both sides.

Reigning premiers Hawthorn take on ladder leaders Fremantle on Sunday in the match of the round.

Both clubs have named extended squads, with the only confirmed change being the inclusion of Hawks’ ruckman Ben McEvoy at the expense of Jonathon Ceglar.

Adelaide will play their first game since the tragic death of coach Phil Walsh when they travel to Perth for Saturday night’s encounter with West Coast.

The Crows regain defenders Ricky Henderson and Jake Lever, while midfielder Riley Knight will make his debut.

Influential onballer Rory Sloane is out with his second fractured cheekbone of the season.

The Eagles have recalled Matt Rosa at the expense of youngster Liam Duggan.

Richmond have brought back ruckman Shaun Hampson to face his old side in the absence of the suspended Ivan Maric, while Carlton regain veteran pair Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Carrazzo for their Friday night clash at the MCG.

Young forward Troy Menzel is also in for the Blues, who have handed long-kicking rookie Tom Fields his AFL debut.

Embattled Essendon lost Jobe Watson to season-ending shoulder surgery this week and Adam Cooney to a hamstring injury, opening the way for Heath Hocking to play his first game of the season after overcoming a serious groin issue.

The Bombers take on Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday afternoon with veteran Heritier Lumumba and debutant James Harmes two of four unforced changes made by the Demons.

The Western Bulldogs lost four players to injury – including key back Jordan Roughead – ahead of their clash with Gold Coast in Cairns, but recalled Tom Boyd and Michael Talia.

Gold Coast have made five changes, with Rory Thompson and Jarrod Harbrow among the inclusions.

Key additions to other extended squads for the remaining Sunday matches include Stephen Coniglio for Greater Western Sydney and Paddy McCartin for St Kilda, while Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett are back for Sydney who face a Brisbane side boosted by the inclusions of Tom Rockliff, Daniel Merrett and Pearce Hanley.

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