Former Lion Jack Redden has become the second West Coast recruit to be axed this season, while key defender Mitch Brown has been given the chance to ignite his stalled AFL career.
Redden was among four exclusions for Thursday night’s clash with Essendon at Domain Stadium.
The 25-year-old had played all 13 games for the Eagles since crossing from Brisbane at the end of last season.
But his inconsistent form, which included a 16-possession effort against Brisbane a fortnight ago, has cost him his spot in the side.
Redden’s axing comes after fellow recruit – former Sydney speedster Lewis Jetta – was dropped twice earlier this season.
Forward Josh Hill (illness), Fraser McInnes (omitted) and Jonathan Giles (omitted) also come out of the side.
Ruckman Scott Lycett, who was dropped back to WAFL ranks a fortnight ago following a late-night drinking session, was recalled, while Brown, Patrick McGinnity and Jackson Nelson were the other inclusions.
Essendon made just one change, replacing Patrick Ambrose (back) with Matt Dea.
The inclusion of Brown ahead of 2014 club champion Eric Mackenzie was an intriguing selection decision from Eagles coach Adam Simpson.
Mackenzie has struggled to regain form since missing all of last year with a knee injury.
The 28-year-old was dropped following the club’s round-11 loss to the Western Bulldogs, and he’ll spend another week in the WAFL after selectors opted to bring back Brown instead.
Brown, who also underwent a knee reconstruction last year, was sidelined for the first half of this season after rupturing a tendon in his finger.
Simpson said the decision to leave Mackenzie in the WAFL for another week was all about helping the defender regain confidence in his reconstructed knee.
“I think that’s the thing that everyone works through in their first year back, and not many players just come back in and go straight back into it – not key position players. We’ve got to give him a bit of patience,” Simpson said.
“(The game) has changed a bit since 2014. So we’re trying to get him some form.
“There’s some things to work on there.”