MELBOURNE has gone all-out in attempting to save its season, making six changes and dropping five players as it attempts to rescue its finals hopes with victory over St Kilda on Saturday.
Star forward duo Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch have been dropped, the latter for arriving late to training, while James Harmes, Braydon Preuss and Jay Lockhart were the others who failed to survive the cut after last week's loss to the Western Bulldogs.
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"Bayley was late for training this morning which is clearly unacceptable," GM of football Josh Mahoney told Melbourne Media.
"Bayley has accepted the decision, played and performed well in a scratch match today against Collingwood, and will be available for selection next week."
The club will have its star captain Max Gawn back, while veteran midfielder Nathan Jones also returns alongside Oscar McDonald, Trent Rivers, Josh Wagner and Mitch Brown.
St Kilda has made a significant alterations of its own, with high-profile defender Jake Carlisle (who joined the club at the end of 2015 on big money) dropped alongside young midfielder Jack Bytel. Young star Hunter Clark returns to the Saints' team for the pivotal encounter in Alice Springs.
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Elsewhere, Port Adelaide has made five changes for its clash with Sydney, with important youngsters Connor Rozee, Xavier Duursma, Ryan Burton and Todd Marshall all returning to the team.
Steven Motlop has been dropped, as have Sam Mayes, Jarrod Lienert and Boyd Woodcock, while young forward Mitch Georgiades is injured.
Sydney defender Aliir Aliir is among three inclusions for that particular encounter at the Adelaide Oval, but the club's top-five draft pick Dylan Stephens has been dropped.
Greater Western Sydney will regain Matt de Boer and Lachie Ash for its must-win encounter with Fremantle at Optus Stadium, but Callan Ward is out with a finger injury while promising young midfielder Jye Caldwell is rested.
Brett Bewley returns for the Dockers, but exciting youngster Michael Frederick has been managed.
Saturday, August 29
Port Adelaide v Sydney at Adelaide Oval, 1.15pm ACST
In: R.Burton, X.Duursma, T.Marshall, C.Rozee, C.Sutcliffe
Out: S.Mayes (omitted), S.Motlop (omitted), J.Lienert (omitted), B.Woodcock (omitted), M.Georgiades (hamstring)
In: J.McInerney, R.Clarke, A.Aliir
Out: C.O'Riordan (omitted), D.Stephens (omitted), Z.Foot (omitted)
Fremantle v Greater Western Sydney, Optus Stadium, 2.35pm AWST
Out: M.Frederick (managed)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
In: M.de Boer, L.Ash
Out: C.Ward (finger), J.Caldwell (managed)
Melbourne v St Kilda, TIO Traeger Park, 7.10PM ACST
In: O.McDonald, T.Rivers, M.Brown, M.Gawn, N.Jones, J.Wagner
Out: J.Harmes (omitted), T.McDonald (omitted), B.Preuss (omitted), B.Fritsch (omitted), J.Lockhart (omitted), T.Sparrow (collarbone)
In: H.Clark, E.Phillips
Out: J.Carlisle (omitted), J.Bytel (omitted)