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Menzel axed as Swans spring ruck surprise

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Daniel Menzel has been dropped by the Cats - AFL,Geelong Cats,Richmond Tigers,Sydney Swans,Essendon Bombers,Port Adelaide Power,West Coast Eagles
Daniel Menzel has been dropped by the Cats

- Cats spring huge shock by dropping Menzel
- Swans dump Tippett for Naismith
- Hooker misses out for Bombers

GEELONG has sensationally dropped Daniel Menzel for Friday night's blockbuster second qualifying final clash with Richmond at the MCG.

Sydney has also made a selection statement, cutting Kurt Tippett in favour of fellow big man Sam Naismith among three changes for Saturday's elimination final against Essendon at the SCG.

Menzel is second in the Cats' goalkicking this year with 38 from 17 games, but Champion Data statistics show him to be the competition's worst pressure player among general forwards.

Geelong managed Menzel in round six, then he missed four matches across two stints late in the year because of knee soreness.

The Cats will instead turn to Tom Hawkins and Harry Taylor up forward. Taylor kicked four goals in a best-on-ground performance opposed to Alex Rance in the round 21 meeting between Geelong and Richmond.

Joining Menzel out of the team is young tall Wylie Buzza who has been axed.

Captain Joel Selwood will return just 35 days after ankle surgery, while 19-year-old defender Zach Guthrie comes in for his first final.

Josh Caddy (hamstring) is Richmond's sole inclusion, with Oleg Markov making way for the midfielder-forward. Ruckman Shaun Hampson, who has not played at senior level this year because of a back problem, is an emergency.

Naismith made an impressive return for Sydney in last week's NEAFL preliminary final from a month out with a hip complaint and will share the ruck duties with Callum Sinclair.

Dan Hannebery and Tom Papley are the Swans' other inclusions for omitted duo Harry Cunningham and Will Hayward. Hayward, 18, was the round 23 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee in his last start, but had only three kicks – all for goals.

Sydney did not name Tippett as an emergency and he will instead play in the NEAFL Grand Final. Forgotten defender Aliir Aliir is on standby if the Swans have a late out.

Michael Hurley (calf) and Orazio Fantasia (hamstring) will bolster the Bombers' bid, but Heath Hocking and Jayden Laverde come out of the side. Cale Hooker has failed to recover in time from bone bruising in his leg.

Port Adelaide has recalled Jarman Impey at Aidyn Johnson's expense for its elimination final against West Coast at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Out-of-favour utility Jackson Trengove is among the emergencies.

The Eagles have stuck with the team that upset minor premier Adelaide by 29 points to book a September berth. Chris Masten, Sharrod Wellingham and Will Schofield are the emergencies. 

Thursday, September 7

Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney at the Adelaide Oval, 7.20pm ACST

In: T.Walker, D.Talia, H.Greenwood
Out: R.Sloane (illness), A.Keath, W.Milera

In: Boer, H.Himmelberg
Out: S.Johnson, D.Smith (knee)

Friday, September 8

Geelong v Richmond at the MCG, 7.50pm AEST

In: J.Selwood, Z.Guthrie
Out: D.Menzel, W.Buzza

In: J.Caddy
Out: O.Markov

Saturday, September 9

Sydney v Essendon at the SCG, 4.20pm AEST

In: D.Hannebery, T.Papley, S.Naismith
Out: H.Cunningham, K.Tippett, W.Hayward

In: M.Hurley, O.Fantasia
Out: H.Hocking, J.Laverde

Port Adelaide v West Coast at the Adelaide Oval, 7.20pm ACST

In: J.Impey
Out: A.Johnson