North unchanged for AFL elimination final

Jarrad Waite and Scott Thompson have failed to prove their fitness, meaning North Melbourne will take an unchanged lineup into the AFL elimination final against Adelaide.

Geelong also did not risk key defender Lachie Henderson for the opening weekend of the finals, while Hawthorn speedster Billy Hartung has suffered another September blow.

The Kangaroos were hopeful that Waite (hip) and Thompson (adductor) would be back for Saturday night’s sudden-death clash at Adelaide Oval.

Waite’s continued absence ensures fellow veteran key forward Drew Petrie, who had only four possessions in round 23, stays in the lineup.

Petrie, Brent Harvey, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo will all leave Arden St when this season ends.

Henderson is recovering from minor knee surgery and he remains out of the side for Friday night’s qualifying final against arch-rivals Hawthorn.

The Cats made one change, recalling run-with midfielder Scott Selwood for Jed Bews.

Selwood’s assignment will be to try to nullify Hawks star Sam Mitchell.

Hawthorn regained key defender Ben Stratton (pectoral muscle) and ruckman Ben McEvoy (back) from injury, with Hartung and Marc Pittonet the omissions.

Hartung kicked two goals in the narrow round 23 win over Collingwood that secured Hawthorn’s double chance, but was unable to hold his spot.

The speedster admitted to feeling devastated when he was dropped for last year’s grand final.

Hartung was also left out of Hawthorn’s 2014 finals campaign.

Rain is forecast for Friday and that could mean a late change or two.

“We’ll pick a side we think can beat Geelong in any conditions and we’ll adjust accordingly both before the game and during the game if we need to, depending on how much rain comes,” Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said.

In other selection news, Adelaide regained stars Rory Sloane and Brodie Smith to face the Kangaroos.

The Crows dropped Ricky Henderson and Cam Ellis-Yolmen.

There is only one change for the all-Sydney qualifying final on Saturday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.

Two days after winning the Rising Star award, Sydney’s Callum Mills was recalled after a calf injury sidelined him for round 23.

He will return for Harry Cunningham.

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