Stars back but Cotchin out in AFL teams

Lance Franklin, Matthew Pavlich and Jeremy McGovern are key inclusions this weekend but Richmond captain Trent Cotchin is a surprise omission from side to face Essendon.

Cotchin will sit out the must-win match against the Bombers with a back complaint as the Tigers look to keep driving their top-four campaign.

The inspirational skipper will be missing for the first time in two and a half seasons.

With their season on the line, Geelong have recalled Daniel Menzel after an incredible four years out with successive knee injuries.

When Menzel, 23, last played the Cats were two matches from hoisting a premiership cup in 2011, while against Collingwood they’ must win to keep their finals hopes alive.

He told the club’s website he was “feeling every emotion possible”.

“I still am extremely excited but I guess the nerves and everything else will kick in pretty soon too,” he said.

With his AFL future undecided, James Kelly also comes into the Cats side for George Horlin-Smith (omitted) and Josh Caddy (knee).

Collingwood have swapped defenders, with Nathan Brown and Matt Scharenberg included at Jack Frost and Alan Toovey’s expense.

Both North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs have made changes in their potential elimination final preview.

The Dogs have decided Zaine Cordy will make his debut and have recalled Matt Boyd, Jordan Roughead and Liam Picken among six changes.

Assistant coach Brent Montgomery said Cordy, brother to team-mate Ayce, was a “fierce competitor”.

“(With) pretty strong bloodlines with the family, he knows what its all about, he’s hit the ground running since he’s been here,” he told the club’s website.

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has kept Daniel Wells back from a senior return for another week, swapping Jack Ziebell and Taylor Garner for Luke McDonald (sore) and Lindsay Thomas (foot).

In the wake of Luke Hodge’s suspension, Hawthorn have resisted the temptation to rest senior players for their trip to Tasmania to face lowly Brisbane.

Will Langford will play his first match in eight rounds, with David Hale and James Silicy joining him in the 22 at the expense of Ryan Schoenmakers (dropped) and Paul Puopolo (ankle).

A pair of wantaway stars are included for Saturday’s remaining matches, with Chris Yarran recalled amid Carlton’s injury crisis and Charlie Dixon overcoming his ankle woes for Gold Coast.

The table-topping West Australian sides play on Sunday and both have some big inclusions in their extended squads.

Fremantle look set to offset Nat Fyfe by returning Pavlich to face Melbourne, while McGovern has been named by the Eagles to travel to Adelaide.

For Sydney, Franklin could return alongside Tom Mitchell and Gary Rohan against St Kilda.

Swans coach John Longmire said he would give the trio “every chance to prove their fitness”.

They did various things and all what was required of them. The good news is its all looking positive for all three of them at the moment,” he told the club’s website.

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