With both sides 5-0 and Tigers spearhead Jack Riewoldt in ominous touch, Crows coach Don Pyke yesterday maintained the All Australian full back was “on track to play” after training strongly.
“When he first presented, our doctors thought it was a hamstring, but the scan was clear, so it might be some tendinitis he was suffering,” Pyke told media yesterday.
“He cooled off with the ceremony for Anzac Day [before the Gold Coast game], and then when he went to go, he felt something and they treated it and it settled down really well.
“We’ll see how he pulls up… but at this stage he’s on track to play.”
Forward Josh Jenkins has been recalled for his first game since sustaining rib damage against Hawthorn in Round Two, despite the club maintaining mid-week he would be subject to ongoing assessment.
Jenkins is on an extended interchange, with the only confirmed omission for the twilight game young midfielder/forward Riley Knight, who also suffered a hamstring twinge against the Suns. The club says it is taking a cautious approach with the 17-gamer after his 2016 campaign was cruelled by ongoing injuries.
Defender Jake Kelly, hoping to re-establish himself in the senior side having failed to crack the team last season, also returns on the extended bench after missing a week with an eye injury.
Port Adelaide’s defence will be boosted by the return of mainstays Hamish Hartlett and Jack Hombsch for Saturday’s roadtrip to meet the improving Lions in Brisbane.
But skipper Travis Boak is a confirmed omission with the hamstring injury suffered during the club’s rout of Carlton, while last week’s debutant Aidyn Johnson has been squeezed out despite a promising two-goal effort.
Brisbane have dropped Ryan Bastinac, Cedric Cox and Liam Dawson for Tom Cutler, Darcy Gardiner and Michael Close.
But the week’s biggest selection shock comes from North Melbourne, dropping veterans Andrew Swallow and Lindsay Thomas for Saturday’s clash against Gold Coast.
Former captain Swallow has faced scrutiny for his lacklustre form throughout the season, and there have been suggestions coach Brad Scott is looking to move him out of the side by playing him in the forward line.
The winless Kangaroos have recalled speedster Jed Anderson and gun midfielder Shaun Higgins, who missed last week with a hamstring injury.
Swallow’s brother David will also sit out the Etihad Stadium game, with Gold Coast opting to rest him.
The Western Bulldogs have added Caleb Daniel and Bailey Williams for tonight’s blockbuster against Greater Western Sydney.
Bulldogs veteran Matthew Boyd is out with a back niggle and Shane Biggs has been omitted, while Giants youngster Tim Taranto replaces co-captain Phil Davis (hamstring).
Hawthorn star Jaeger O’Meara has overcome a knee complaint and will play against St Kilda in Launceston on Saturday, but Cyril Rioli (hip) is unavailable, having pulled up sore after a marking contest.
“We’re confident he will be right to play next week,” Hawthorn football boss Jason Burt said.
“We wanted to take a cautious approach due to Jaeger’s medical history, and we’re fully confident that he is fit and ready to go.”
Sydney have made three changes after their winless start to the season, headlined by the replacement of Kieren Jack (hip) with his younger brother Brandon.
The Swans face Carlton – who will regain Billie Smedts and Matthew Kreuzer among four changes – at the MCG tomorrow.
Fremantle have replaced Stephen Hill (hamstring) with youngster Harley Balic for the western derby, while the Eagles will welcome back star midfielder Sam Mitchell and ruckman Jonathan Giles after being thrashed by Hawthorn last week.
Melbourne will make at least three changes for Sunday’s game against Essendon, with Jesse Hogan taking time out after the death of his father and talls Timothy Smith (rib) and Jake Spencer (shoulder) ruled out.
Jordan Lewis will return from his suspension and Cam Pedersen could shoulder the Demons’ ruck load after being added to their extended squad.
The Bombers will make three changes, resting Aaron Francis, Matthew Leuenberger and James Kelly, while Geelong will face Collingwood without injury-prone Daniel Menzel, who is being “managed”.
Desperately chasing a win, Magpies coach Nathan Buckley has added off-season recruits Chris Mayne and Lynden Dunn to his squad.
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