Adelaide have been hit hard by injury for tonight’s home game against the Western Bulldogs, with skipper Taylor Walker, key midfielder Matt Crouch, reliable backman Luke Brown and big-marking forward Mitch McGovern all missing from the team that fell just short in last weekend’s Showdown.
Draftees Darcy Fogarty and Lachlan Murphy have been brought into the team along with defender Kyle Hartigan.
Thirty-one-year-old Gibson, who has a reputation as a tagger, might get a run-with role against key Bulldog Jack Macrae, who has been in stunning form this season.
Adelaide coach Don Pyke has been reluctant to use a tagger in his three seasons in charge of the Crows, but indicated earlier this week that he’s pondering using one on Macrae in the Adelaide Oval encounter.
The Bulldogs, who have won their past three matches against weak opposition, look stronger for the inclusions of skipper Easton Wood and talls Jackson Trengove and Jordan Roughead.
Port Adelaide is unchanged for its second match in China on Saturday, with Jared Polec expected to play despite flying to Shanghai later than the rest of the team due to a virus.
Their opponent, the Gold Coast Suns, made one change to their team, with speedy rookie Jacob Heron replacing the suspended Sam Day.
In other matches, Sydney has received a huge double boost, with spearhead Lance Franklin and midfield star Dan Hannebery back for Saturday night’s clash with Fremantle.
The Dockers welcome back two big names from injury – forward Michael Walters and running defender Nathan Wilson.
But the biggest selection shock for the SCG clash was Franklin’s earlier-than-expected return.
“I ruled him out on Monday – that’s how unusual the injury was,” said Swans coach John Longmire.
“But he had a scan again on Tuesday and it surprisingly showed that it was getting better really quickly and again on Wednesday.
“It then got better and better during the course of the next couple of days to the point that he was able to train.
“He got through really well and it’s great to have him back in the team.”
Collingwood, Melbourne and Carlton will all welcome back their captains from injury.
Magpies skipper Scott Pendlebury returns to take on struggling St Kilda, having missed one game with a leg problem, while clever forward Alex Fasolo comes in for his first senior match since late 2017.
The Saints have handed a senior debut to Bailey Rice, the son of former Saints and Blues star Dean Rice.
But forward Blake Acres is set to miss a month with a groin problem.
Key defender Jake Carlisle is out for St Kilda after failing to recover from concussion.
Blues skipper Marc Murphy will take on Melbourne on Sunday having recovered from a foot injury which had sidelined him since mid-April.
The Demons also welcome back co-captain Jack Viney, who has not played at the top level since late 2017 due to a serious foot injury.
West Coast have been strengthened by the return of Nic Naitanui and Jeremy McGovern from suspension and injury respectively for Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with Richmond.
Greater Western Sydney’s horror run with injury has continued, with co-captain Phil Davis (concussion) ruled out of Saturday’s match against North Melbourne in Hobart along with Matt de Boer (hamstring).
Veteran defender Tim Mohr and teenager Harry Perryman return for the Giants to take on an unchanged Kangaroos line-up.
Struggling Essendon have made five changes for Saturday’s clash with Geelong, who get spearhead Tom Hawkins back from suspension.
– with AAP
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