English & Dixon out injured, Cripps returns, three debutants named, McRae on Grundy form

Tim English and Hugh Dixon will both miss Round 6 due to unexpected injuries, while Patrick Cripps returns and three debutants were named and Collingwood coach Craig McRae talked about getting Brodie Grundy back to his best form.

Image Supplied by Western Bulldogs

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DEBUTANT ALERTS

Paul Curtis (AF $222k SC $117k FWD) will debut for North Melbourne, having been pick 35 in the 2021 AFL Draft by. Curtis kicked 4 goals in the VFL last weekend, with 10 disposals and seven tackles.

Mature-age midfielder Robbie McComb (AF $190k SC $102k MID) will debut for the Western Bulldogs. He went pick 23 in the 2021 AFL Rookie Draft and has been in good VFL form, including 28 disposals last weekend.

SSP signing Luke Strnadica (AF $190k SC $102k RUCK) will make his debut for West Coast. He is a ruckman, who has overcome pre-season injuries and had 17 disposals and 29 hit-outs in WAFL last weekend.

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TEAM NEWS

Key Ins: Preuss, Greene, Cumming, McComb, Wines, Strnadica, Cripps, Curtis, T.Thomas, Gibcus, Merrett, Stringer

Extended squad ins (26): Dempsey, M.Bergman, D.Stephens, Callow, Long, Baldwin, Sonsie, Banks

Key Outs: de Boer, English (inj), Mead, McEntee, Dixon (inj), M.Kennedy (inj), Hall (inj), Ralphsmith (inj)

Key Holds: Flynn, Callaghan, Stein, J.Hayes, Naish, S.Hayes, Durdin, Rosas, Hobbs, Windhager, S.De Koning

Tim English (AF $837k SC $572k R/F) was a shock absentee due to injury. The Dogs said: “English will miss the clash against the Crows after sustaining a hamstring injury during training this week.”

Hugh Dixon (AF $329k SC $216k F/R) was also a surprise out. West Coast said: “Dixon has been impressive forward and in the ruck, but could not be considered because of a calf injury.”

Patrick Cripps (AF $803k SC $525k MID) has been named after a hamstring injury for Carlton, while Zach Merrett (AF $935k SC $625k MID) was named after making good progress in his recovery from injury, along with Jake Stringer (AF $640k SC $506k M/F) which may impact Ben Hobbs’s (AF $293k SC $153k MID) role, although he has been named at centre.

UPDATES

Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy (AF $816k SC $554k RUCK) was down on his usual output in Round 5 and Pies coach Craig McRae admitted they were working on getting him back to his best form.

McRae said: “We’re working really hard with Brodie. He’s competing really well in the contest but it’s around the outside of that we’re really trying to get to work with Brodie & where he fits best.”

Will Kelly (AF $191k SC $123k D/F) could also come into contention as a defender in coming weeks. McRae said: “We’re trying to get Will to play a little bit more down the back, based on our list profile & to get the best out of himself as well. We’re going to throw a few things around.”

Luke Ryan (AF $680k SC $500k DEF) was among the Fremantle contingent that trained separately from the main group amid COVID concerns. Ryan lives with Heath Chapman and Hayden Young who have entered protocols.

Ryan told 6PR: β€œThe Club is just taking extra precautions. I’m just staying away from the group for a bit because Nathan Wilson was over at my house and he played WAFL. We’ve all had RAT tests done and it’s just being cautious.”

The Western Bulldogs have persist with the forward role for Marcus Bontempelli (AF $858k SC $609k MID). Dogs coach Luke Beveridge said: “We’ll continue to change & adjust when we need to. Having him up forward helped us last week so we’ll definitely go in probably thinking about a similar approach.”

There’s still no timeline on Dustin Martin (AF $676k SC $503k M/F). Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said: “We’re reluctant to provide a running commentary. He is in a better space. At this stage, it’s the same as it has been.”

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