Big Bulldogs omission, GWS & Bombers rookie flags, Cotchin update

The teams for Thursday’s Gold Coast-Western Bulldogs clash have been named with one major exclusion, while there’s some intriguing rookie flags as coaches ponder rotation.

DOG DOWN
Lachie Hunter
(AF $751k SC $513k MID) will not play in Thursday’s clash with Gold Coast, only a few games after returning to the side with some good scores following his drink driving incident.

In a Western Bulldogs statement, the club said: “Western Bulldogs midfielder Lachie Hunter is currently unavailable for selection due to personal reasons.

“The Club will continue to strongly support Lachie as he works through some personal challenges, with his health and well-being to be the priority focus.”

Hunter is out alongside Bailey Dale, with debutant Callum Porter (AF $170k SC $123k MID) and Billy Gowers coming in. Gold Coast are unchanged.

GIANT HOPE
GWS coach Leon Cameron is optimistic Toby Greene (AF $656k SC $471k FWD) will play this round after missing last weekend due to shin soreness.

Cameron said: “We expect him to play. He trained fully today.”

The Giants coach also flagged two possible debutants in Matthew Flynn (AF $170k SC $123k RUCK) and Kieren Briggs (AF $170k SC $123k DEF/FWD) who are emerging ruck options, but likely behind Shane Mumford and Sam Jacobs.

“Flynn and Briggs are pushing their case and I would expect to see them play in the coming weeks,” Cameron said.

BOMBER FLAGGED
Essendon coach John Worsfold has been grappling with his best ruck combination all season and now he’s considering debuting Sam Draper (AF $170k SC $123k RUCK)

Worsfold said: “If we’re going to play two (rucks), we’ve got Draper ready to go now and pretty excited about waiting for his opportunity.”

Draper is highly rated but has battled long-term injuries, having been Pick No.1 in the 2016 rookie draft.

OTHERS
Trent Cotchin
(AF $606k SC $469k MID) will not play on Friday night against the GWS Giants as the Tigers err on the side of caution with the veteran given his hamstring history.

Richmond’s Physical Performance Manager Peter Burge said: “Trent had a good session today. He’s gone really well in the last week (but) just given his history, we’ve decided to aim for next Wednesday (Round 9 v Western Bulldogs) as his return match.”

Owners of North youngster Kyron Hayden (AF $256k SC $220k MID) will be thrilled to hear he’s feeling better after his concussion against Richmond and is a chance to play this week.

Hayden said: “Thankfully it looked worse than it was. I pulled up pretty good actually. I don’t really have any symptoms. I’m looking to play this week hopefully.”

Dan Hannebery (AF $583k SC $375k MID) could play this round. The Saints injury update said: “Has been tracking well almost three weeks on from his hamstring injury against Carlton… put his hand up for a senior recall last week in light of the club’s seven-day break, before a conservative approach was taken.”

Melbourne’s Aaron vandenBerg (AF $390k SC $272k MID/FWD) will miss the next two games with a fractured cheekbone which required surgery this week. The relevance is who comes in for him.

TOMORROW
Eagles coach Adam Simpson and Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson will both speak to the media on Thursday, while we’ll get Friday and Saturday’s 22s plus Sunday’s extended squads and Gold Coast will play the Dogs, so get your vice-captain sorted.

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