Bennell & Dees debutants confirmed, Sturt in doubt

Melbourne dominated the team news today, revealing two debutants and the long-awaited return of Harley Bennell in a fantastic story of resilience.

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin hinted at it yesterday, but made it official today with Harley Bennell (AF $224k, SC $123k – MID) named to play Carlton on Saturday.

Bennell has long had calf injuries, missing most of the past four years, but the highly talented midfielder is back and mighty tempting for AFL Fantasy coaches and Supercoaches alike.

The Dees kept the good news coming with the confirmation of the selection of rookie East Fremantle duo Trent Rivers (AF $208k, SC $117k – DEF/MID) and Luke Jackson (AF $266k, SC $198k – RUCK).

Jackson looks a tad over-priced and likely doesn’t have great job security with Max Gawn their undoubted number one ruck, while Rivers looks the better option with impressive numbers from his East Freo and under-age days.

Freo coach Justin Longmuir offered an update on two popular players from the hub, revealing Round One Rising Star nominee Sam Sturt (AF $197k, SC $123k – FWD) still has work to do to prove his fitness after a back issue.

Longmuir said: “Sam’s got to get through training tomorrow. He’s coming off a short run so we’ll leave that call until a little bit later.”

Popular SuperCoach pick Stephen Hill (AF $428k, SC $190k – DEF/FWD) remains a mystery although it seems Freo will be extra cautious with him so keep him on the watchlist.

“Hill is a chance to play,” Longmuir said. “He’s done everything asked of him. (We’re thinking) how can we make sure that he gets through, not just Round Two, but the rest of the season.”

Richmond and Collingwood both confirmed their teams this afternoon for Thursday’s Round Two clash, but Tigers coach Damien Hardwick left no doubt about any possible Bachar Houli (AF $766k, SC $571k – DEF) late withdrawal following a calf complaint.

“He’ll play,” Hardwick said. “Bachar is available. He had a great week on the track, played two out of our three quarters last week and looked really good across half-back.”

Interesingly the Tigers left out normal number one ruckman Toby Nankervis (AF $617k, SC $404k – RUCK) opting for Ivan Soldo along with a pinch-hitter instead.

The Pies already confirmed Darcy Cameron’s selection on Tuesday, while popular midfield pick Tyler Brown (AF $187k, SC $123k – MID) is named in the 22 too.

Essendon coach John Worsfold said he expects Dyson Heppell to play despite a foot injury, while he refused to rule out Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (ankle). Both selections may impact popular Devon Smith’s role.

Brandon Ellis (AF $629k, SC $470k – MID) has been ruled out of Round Two wit a calf niggle although SUNS coach Stuart Dew said he’ll likely be available next week. He also flagged Sam Flanders (AF $250k, SC $162k – MID/FWD) as a possible debutant.

More coaches will front the press tomorrow led by Alastair Clarkson and Luke Beveridge as well as 250-gamer Patrick Dangerfield.

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