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Melksham out for Dons, Dees pick Blease

Have Dons worked out how to use their talls? We go through all the round 18 teams and ask the big question for each game
Sam Blease of the Demons in action during the 2013 AFL Round 18 match between the Melbourne Demons and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 27, 2013. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Sam Blease will play his first game for 2014 this weekend against Port Adelaide
- Melksham out for Dons, Goddard and Hibberd return
- Former Magpie Cameron Wood picked for Carlton
- Sandilands to miss St Kilda clash, Griffin in for first match of 2014


ESSENDON has dropped Jake Melksham for Sunday's clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
 
The Bombers have two big inclusions with veteran Brendan Goddard and defender Michael Hibberd returning. Cory Dell'Olio has also been omitted.
 
The Bulldogs welcome back two big names in captain Ryan Griffen and former Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney. Youngsters Sam Darley and Mitch Honeychurch are the unfortunate players to make way.
 
Sam Blease and Jay Kennedy-Harris have both been included in the Melbourne line-up to face Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Sunday. It will be Blease's first game of the year at senior level.
 
Matt Jones and Dean Terlich have been omitted.
 
The Power have made three changes to the side that lost to Richmond last week. Domenic Cassisi will play his 228th and final match for the club. Paul Stewart and Ben Newton also come in for Kane Mitchell, Sam Gray and Tom Logan.

Carlton ruckman Cameron Wood has come from the clouds to play his first game this season in a shock selection move ahead of Friday night's clash against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium. 

The Blues have selected the former Collingwood big man, who has spent 2014 in the VFL, dropping Robert Warnock after he was convincingly beaten by Sydney Swans opponent Mike Pyke in round 17. 

Wood's last game was in round 22, 2012, when he was still with the Magpies.  

He was elevated off Carlton's rookie list on Thursday, replacing Cameron Giles, who has been placed on the long-term injury list with a foot injury. 

In another surprise ahead of the first weekend of round 18 matches, Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands will miss his team's trip to take on St Kilda, with Jon Griffin called on to play his first game this season. 

Fremantle football manager Chris Bond said Sandilands’ injury was not serious, but it was "significant enough for him to miss the game".

"It’s a six-day break for us so we didn’t want to take the risk and he’s been a bit sore during the week, so he’ll miss out," Bond said. 


Wood enters Friday night's match with strong recent form behind him, having racked up 58 hit-outs against Collingwood's VFL team two weeks ago. 

The Blues have also recalled forward Troy Menzel and Mitch Robinson, who has served a two-week suspension. Andrew Walker will miss with a knee injury and rookie Blaine Johnson has been omitted. 

North Melbourne will be strengthened by the return of midfielder Jack Ziebell and young gun Luke McDonald, with defender Aaron Mullett and midfielder Brad McKenzie dropped.   

As well as Griffin, Fremantle has included key defender Luke McPharlin, who returns from a calf injury, and forwards Matt de Boer and Matt Taberner.  
 
The Dockers will be without suspended small forward Hayden Ballantyne as well as Clancee Pearce and Michael Apeness, who have been omitted. 

St Kilda has made four changes, with ruckman Billy Longer replacing big man Tom Hickey, who has a knee injury. 

Josh Bruce, Brodie Murdoch and Josh Saunders are the other inclusions, with Cameron Shenton, Seb Ross and Sam Dunell omitted.   

Greater Western Sydney defender Josh Hunt will face his old team for the first time after earning a recall for Saturday night's clash against Geelong at Spotless Stadium. 

Hunt, who has spent the past two weeks in the NEAFL, will be joined by tall forward Jon Patton, who returns from a groin injury, and No.1 draft pick Tom Boyd, who will play his fourth game this season.  

Key midfielder Adam Treloar also returns from a one-week groin injury, with Matt Buntine (calf), Lachie Whitfield (shoulder) and Rory Lobb (knee) unavailable. John Townsend has been dropped. 

The Cats have made two changes, with Mathew Stokes and Dawson Simpson replacing Allen Christensen (illness) and Mark Blicavs, who has been rested. 

Friday, July 17

Carlton v North Melbourne at the MCG, 7.50pm AEST

Carlton
In: C.Wood, M.Robinson, T.Menzel
Out: A.Walker (knee), R.Warnock, B.Johnson

North Melbourne
In: J.Ziebell, L.McDonald
Out: A.Mullett, B.McKenzie

Saturday, July 18

St Kilda v Fremantle at Etihad Stadium, 4.40pm AEST

St Kilda
In: J.Bruce, B.Longer, B.Murdoch, J.Saunders
Out: C.Shenton, S.Ross, T.Hickey (knee), S.Dunell 

Fremantle
In: L.McPharlin, J.Griffin, M.de Boer, M.Taberner
Out: A.Sandilands (back), H.Ballantyne (suspension), C.Pearce, M.Apeness

Greater Western Sydney v Geelong at Spotless Stadium, 7.40pm AEST

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
In: J.Hunt, A.Treloar, J.Patton, T.Boyd 
Out: M.Buntine (calf), J.Townsend, L.Whitfield (shoulder), R.Lobb (knee)

GEELONG 
In: M.Stokes, D.Simpson 
Out: A.Christensen (ill), M.Blicavs (rested)

Sunday, July 19

Port Adelaide v Melbourne at the Adelaide Oval, 12.40pm ACST

PORT ADELAIDE
In: D.Cassisi, P.Stewart, B.Newton 
Out: K.Mitchell, S.Gray, T.Logan

MELBOURNE
In: S.Blease, J.Kennedy-Harris 
Out: D.Terlich, M.Jones

Western Bulldogs v Essendon at Etihad Stadium, 4.40pm AEST

WESTERN BULLDOGS
In: A.Cooney, R.Griffen
Out: S. Darly, M.Honeychurch

ESSENDON
In: B.Goddard, M.Hibberd
Out: C.Dell'Olio, J.Melksham