SYDNEY has opted for further height to replace late withdrawal Callum Mills against Melbourne on Thursday afternoon. 

Mills has suffered a calf strain and has been replaced by ruck/forward Hayden McLean for the first clash at Cairns' Cazalys Stadium for the season. 

"It is just a minor calf strain, we won't take any risks with him and will monitor his progress ahead of our Round 16 match against Carlton on Tuesday," Swans head of football Charlie Gardiner said of Mills. 

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It will be the second Swans change from the side that lost to Sydney with Lewis Taylor in for James Bell who was dropped.

McLean will partner Callum Sinclair in the ruck against Melbourne star Max Gawn, with Swans defender Aliir Aliir another candidate to assist at centre bounces. 

The Demons will enter the clash as named on Wednesday night with Bayley Fritsch, James Harmes, Alex Neal-Bullen and Joel Smith in for Mitch Hannan, Aaron vandenBerg (omitted), Michael Hibberd (ankle) and Kysaiah Pickett (managed).

01:36 Mins
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Match Previews R15: Sydney v Melbourne

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the game between the Swans and Demons at Cazaly's Stadium in Cairns

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The game is the first of a Thursday double-header, with Greater Western Sydney and Carlton to kick off at 7.10pm AEST from Metricon Stadium.

The ramifications for the top eight are huge. 

If the Blues beat the ninth-placed Giants, and the Swans upset eighth-placed Melbourne, Carlton will be on equal points with them and still be in the finals hunt.

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If the Demons win, the Giants - who are the same points but 10 per cent behind Melbourne - will simply have to get over Carlton to stay in touch. 

The Bulldogs are also on the same points as the Demons and GWS, but they have played one more game.

01:24 Mins
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Match Previews R15: GWS v Carlton

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the game between the Giants and Blues at Metricon Stadium

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