North drop three for AFL clash with Lions

North Melbourne have axed three players after their woeful 77-point loss to Adelaide in round one of the AFL season.

Ben Jacobs, Sam Wright and Ryan Bastinac will miss Sunday’s clash with Brisbane at Etihad Stadium.

Coach Brad Scott promoted key forwards Mason Wood and Ben Brown, plus former Richmond speedster Robin Nahas in place of the dumped trio.

The Lions will be without key defender Daniel Merrett (hamstring) and captain Tom Rockliff (broken ribs), while James Aish has been dropped.

Aish will come off contract at the end of this season and has been linked with a move back to his home of Adelaide.

Brisbane recalled Matt Maguire, Michael Close and Zac O’Brien.

Hawthorn confirmed triple-premiership player Grant Birchall would return on Sunday, with Jono O’Rourke to make his club debut.

The reigning premiers dumped Taylor Duryea from the side that thumped Geelong, while hamstrung midfielder Liam Shiels will be unable to take part in Sunday’s clash with rivals Essendon.

The Bombers will be minus defender Dustin Fletcher (groin) and utility David Myers shoulder), with former Saint James Gwilt and young gun Jason Ashby stepping up to the side.

Geelong will be without two of their prime movers against Fremantle on Sunday, with 2007 Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel joining Steven Motlop on the sidelines.

Bartel, knocked out in the Cats’ 62-point loss to Hawthorn on Easter Monday, has been ruled out due to concussion, while Motlop is serving a one-match club ban for disciplinary reasons.

Veteran Andrew Mackie, who missed Geelong’s season opener due to a quad injury, and midfielder George Horlin-Smith were promoted.

Fremantle made one change to the 22 that pipped Port Adelaide in round one, with Tendai Mzungu coming in for Tommy Sheridan (calf).

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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