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TEAMS: Banned Bombers back, plenty of fresh faces in round one

'It'll be like a Grand Final' Wayne Carey and Campbell Brown preview round one
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 16: Jobe Watson of the Bombers laughs during the AFL 2017 JLT Community Series match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at Etihad Stadium on February 16, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Officially back: Former Dons skipper Jobe Watson will take on the Hawks on Saturday night

• Jobe Watson among banned Dons officially back 
• Drew Petrie named for clash against old side
• Sloane, Tex in Crows' squad
• Saints name key recruits

SIX OF the banned Bombers, plus the club's first No.1 draft pick Andrew McGrath, will run out for Essendon in Saturday night's season-opening clash against Hawthorn at the MCG.

Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell, Michael Hurley, Cale Hooker and Brent Stanton will play their first home and away games in more than 12 months following their year-long WADA-imposed suspensions.

In fact it has been 566 days since Hurley, Heppell, Hooker and Stanton last played in a premiership season match, while it has been 629 days for former skipper Watson.

Ex-Lion Josh Green will also line-up for his new club against the Hawks on Saturday night. 


Hawthorn's side, skippered by Jarryd Roughead – on the comeback trail to footy after his cancer diagnosis in June last year – includes boom recruits Jaeger O'Meara and Tom Mitchell.

Former Tiger Ty Vickery and ex-Crow Ricky Henderson have also been named to play their first match for their new club.

Former captain Luke Hodge will not play due to a club-imposed suspension for being late to a training session.

Travis Cloke will square off against his old teammates at the MCG on Friday night as last year's premiers the Western Bulldogs face-off against Collingwood.

Stewart Crameri will play after serving his 12-month suspension, while skipper Bob Murphy has been named along with Matt Suckling and Lin Jong.

Premiership Dogs Clay Smith, Tom Campbell and Josh Dunkley have been named as emergencies.

Ex-Giant Will Hoskin-Elliott will also play his first game for the Pies, but there was no room for boom recruit Chris Mayne.

Mayne joins Lynden Dunn and Tim Broomhead as the emergencies.

As stated earlier in the week, key Magpies Jamie Elliott (ankle), Daniel Wells (calf), Levi Greenwood (hip) and Jordan De Goey (hand) are all on the sidelines.

St Kilda recruits Jake Carlisle (Essendon), Nathan Brown (Collingwood) and Jack Steele (Greater Western Sydney) have been picked for their first game when the Saints take on Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

In the case of Carlisle, who was traded from Essendon at the end of 2015 but missed all of last season with a doping ban, the defender will be playing his first AFL match since round 23, 2015.

Veteran defender Sean Dempster was left out, while the Saints opted for Tom Hickey in the ruck with Billy Longer an emergency.

Despite speculation over his place in the team and being publically put on notice, forward Jack Watts will play for Melbourne.

Four-time premiership Hawk Jordan Lewis will make his club debut, along with former Bomber Jake Melksham.

As announced earlier on Thursday, athletic defender Joel Smith will make his debut for the Demons, however the Demons have sprung a surprise by picking mature-age draftee Mitch Hannan.

Hannan, pick No.46 in the last year's NAB AFL Draft, did not appear in the JLT Community Series after recovering from shoulder surgery in the off-season. 

Dom Tyson and Dean Kent will play for Casey this weekend as they build their match fitness after interrupted pre-seasons.

Sydney's team against Port Adelaide will include Kieren Jack despite the former captain not appearing in any JLT Community Series games.

Top draftee Oliver Florent, a smooth moving half-forward/midfielder, has been rewarded for his impressive pre-season and has been named to make his debut.

Port Adelaide will field a team containing three debutants, Brett Eddy, Dan Houston and NAB AFL Rising Star favourite Sam Powell-Pepper.

Ruckman Patrick Ryder will play his first match in 567 days after serving his suspension.

Gold Coast's gun draftees Ben Ainsworth (pick No.4) and Jack Bowes (No.10) will play their first games against the Lions at Metricon Stadium on Sunday.

Former Lion Pearce Hanley will face off against his old teammates for the first time in his new colours, while Michael Barlow and Jarryd Lyons have also been selected. Ex-Collingwood player Jarrod Witts assumes the No.1 ruck mantle at the Suns.

The Lions promoted rookie Jake Barrett to the senior list earlier on Thursday and he will play his first game for his new club after one match when playing for GWS in 2015.

North Melbourne will have four-first gamers and another two club debutants in its clash against West Coast on Sunday, with Jy Simpkin, Mitch Hibberd, Declan Mountford and Braydon Preuss named to play.

Former Bulldog Nathan Hrovat and ex-Magpie Marley Williams will play their first games in North colours.

The Eagles have named Nathan Vardy, Sam Mitchell and Drew Petrie in an extended squad, with the trio almost certain to play.

Top draftee Tim Taranto will debut for the Giants against Adelaide on Sunday, while ex-Docker Tendai Mzungu and former Cat Dawson Simpson have also been named in an extended squad.

Skipper Taylor Walker and vice-captain Rory Sloane have been named in Adelaide's 25-man squad, with the pair to face fitness tests to determine their availability.

Curtly Hampton will play his first game for the club, after the former Giant missed the entire 2016 season due to a serious foot injury.

Former Blue Troy Menzel has also been picked in the squad, which would see him play his first match for the Crows after not playing in 2016, while draftee Myles Poholke has also been included in the squad.

Cam McCarthy, Shane Kersten, Joel Hamling and Bradley Hill will all front up in their first games for Fremantle when it takes on Geelong on Sunday.

The Cats have named former Blue Zach Tuohy and draftees Tom Stewart and Brandan Parfitt in their 25-man squad.

Collingwood v Western Bulldogs, MCG, 7.50pm AEDT


New: Will Hoskin-Elliott (GWS), Henry Schade (Gold Coast)


New: Travis Cloke (Collingwood)

St Kilda v Melbourne, Etihad, 4.35pm AEDT


New: Nathan Brown (Collingwood), Jack Steele (GWS), Jake Carlisle (Essendon)


New: Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn), Jake Melksham (Essendon), Joel Smith (Maribyrnong Park), Mitchell Hannan (Footscray VFL)
Sydney v Port Adelaide, SCG, 4.35pm AEDT


New: Oliver Florent (Sandringham Dragons U18)


New: Brett Eddy (South Adelaide), Sam Powell-Pepper (East Perth), Dan Houston (Oakleigh U18)

Essendon v Hawthorn, MCG, 7.25pm AEDT


New: Andrew McGrath (Sandringham Dragons U18), Josh Green (Brisbane Lions)


New: Jaeger O'Meara (Gold Coast), Tom Mitchell (Sydney), Ty Vickery (Richmond), Ricky Henderson (Adelaide)

Gold Coast v Brisbane Lions, MS, 7.05pm AEST


New: Ben Ainsworth (Gippsland U18), Jack Bowes (Cairns Saints/Gold Coast academy), Michael Barlow (Fremantle), Jarrod Witts (Collingwood), Pearce Hanley (Brisbane Lions), Jarryd Lyons (Adelaide)


New: Jake Barrett (GWS) 

North Melbourne v West Coast, MCG, 1.10pm AEDT


New: Mitchell Hibberd (Clarence), Braydon Preuss (Townsville), Jy Simpkin (Murray U18), Declan Mountford (Claremont), Marley Williams (Collingwood), Nathan Hrovat (Western Bulldogs), Sam Durdin (West Adelaide), Ed Vickers-Willis (Sandringham U18)


New: Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn), Drew Petrie (North Melbourne), Nathan Vardy (Geelong)

Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney, AO, 2.50pm ACDT


New: Curtly Hampton (GWS), Troy Menzel (Carlton), Myles Poholke (Dandenong U18)

Greater Western Sydney

New: Tim Taranto (Sandringham Dragons U18), Tendai Mzungu (Fremantle), Dawson Simpson (Geelong)

Fremantle v Geelong, DS, 4.40pm AWST


New: Bradley Hill (Hawthorn), Shane Kersten (Geelong), Joel Hamling (Western Bulldogs), Cam McCarthy (GWS)


New: Zach Tuohy (Carlton), Brandon Parfitt (North Adelaide), Tom Stewart (Geelong VFL) 

Carlton v Richmond, MCG, 7.20pm AEDT


New: Sam Petreveski-Seton (Claremont), Jarrod Pickett (GWS), Caleb Marchbank (GWS), Billie Smedts (Geelong)


New: Dan Butler (North Ballarat), Dion Prestia (Gold Coast), Josh Caddy (Geelong), Toby Nankervis (Sydney)