ESSENDON has dropped a selection bombshell and is playing Joe Daniher in his return from injury against North Melbourne today at Marvel Stadium.

The Dons have also handed a debut to draftee Brayden Ham, who replaces David Zaharakis in the selected side.

Originally named in the VFL side to play on Saturday, Daniher will line-up in place of Zac Clarke, despite not being named in the selected 22 or four emergencies.

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The AFL has confirmed that Essendon will be hit with a financial sanction.

Essendon football manager Dan Richardson said Clarke suffered a calf bleed overnight, and the late change was unavoidable.  

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"After presenting fine during the week, Zac suffered a secondary calf bleed overnight and in consultation with our medical team this morning, we've subsequently had to rule him out of the clash with North Melbourne," he said.

Good day for a debut: Young Bomber Brayden Ham is in for his first AFL game. Picture: AFL Photos

"We notified both North Melbourne and the AFL as soon as possible and we thank them for their understanding. 

"It was our intention for Joe to play in the VFL this week.

"With injuries to (Shaun) McKernan and (James) Stewart, structurally for our side today, we had to look at the key forward position so the decision was made.

"While unavoidable, the club accepts the AFL's ruling on this decision and the financial sanction it will impose as a result."

Former Docker Zac Clarke has suffered a secondary calf bleed. Picture: AFL Photos

Zaharakis was in doubt and failed to train at times during the week after infection set in to a cut knee.

Ham, from Geelong Falcons, was taken by Essendon with pick No.72 in last year's NAB AFL Draft.

North Melbourne v Essendon at Marvel Stadium, 4.20pm AEST


North Melbourne: Nil

Essendon: Zac Clarke (calf) replaced in selected side by Joe Daniher, David Zaharakis (infection) replaced in selected side by Brayden Ham


North Melbourne: Luke Davies-Uniacke, Paul Ahern, Sam Wright, Bailey Scott

Essendon: Darcy Parish, Jordan Ridley, David Myers, Matt Guelfi