SYDNEY star Isaac Heeney will miss Saturday night's clash against Melbourne because of an ankle injury as champion forward Lance Franklin prepares to return to the MCG.

Heeney is one of four changes for the Swans, who will also be without injured defender Lewis Melican (hamstring) and have dropped midfielders Dylan Stephens and Ryan Clarke.

Joining Franklin in the 22 is co-captain Dane Rampe and rookie Robbie Fox.    

Sydney coach John Longmire said Heeney had "jammed up his ankle" in last week's win against Geelong and hadn't recovered, but the club was hopeful he would only miss one match.

02:18 Mins
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Match Previews R8: Melbourne v Sydney

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the game between the Demons and Swans at the MCG

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The Demons have made three changes after losing important defender Adam Tomlinson to a season-ending knee injury. Oskar Baker and veteran Nathan Jones have been omitted, with Jones named as an emergency.

Harrison Petty replaces Tomlinson in defence, with James Harmes also called on for his first game since round one. 

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Greater Western Sydney has been dealt another injury blow, with key forward Jesse Hogan (calf) one of four forced omissions for Saturday's clash against Essendon at Giants Stadium.

Matt Buntine, Sam Reid and Brent Daniels are all out because of injury, with the Giants turning to draftee Tanner Bruhn, Daniel Lloyd and Zach Sproule.    

Veteran Shane Mumford will again lead the ruck, with Matt Flynn named as an emergency.

Essendon has dropped veteran David Zaharakis, one-game ruckman Nick Bryan and versatile Matt Guelfi, with all named as emergencies. 

02:05 Mins
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Match Previews R8: GWS Giants v Essendon

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the game between the GWS Giants and Bombers at GIANTS Stadium

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Adelaide has swung the axe ahead of Saturday night's Showdown as it prepares to welcome back captain Rory Sloane.

The tough midfielder is one of three inclusions after recovering from a serious eye injury, joining defenders Luke Brown and Will Hamill.   

The Crows have dropped midfield recruit Jackson Hately as well as forward Shane McAdam and defenders Andrew McPherson and Nick Murray.  

Port Adelaide will be boosted by the return of gun midfielder Travis Boak, also recalling Kane Farrell for the clash at Adelaide Oval.

The Power have omitted unlucky youngster Martin Frederick, who is named as an emergency and is a likely medical substitute, as well as Sam Mayes and Boyd Woodcock.

04:08 Mins
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'Their fans are crazy': Crows, Power talk Showdown

Adelaide and Port Adelaide players discuss the importance of the showdown and look back on some of their favourite memories from years past

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Collingwood has dropped draftee Finlay Macrae to make way for fellow first-year Magpie Oliver Henry, who will play his second AFL game in Saturday's clash against North Melbourne. 

Callum Brown has also been dropped as brother Tyler returns, with last week's medical substitute Jay Rantall not named in the squad.

Macrae is among the emergencies with draftee Reef McInnes overlooked for a debut this week after a strong VFL performance.  

North Melbourne has made two changes, with midfielder Luke Davis-Uniacke returning and last week's medical substitute Connor Menadue elevated into the 22.

Draftee Will Phillips has been dropped alongside former Magpie Atu Bosenavulagi, with both named as emergencies.

Gold Coast has named an unchanged team for the third straight week ahead of its clash against St Kilda at Metricon Stadium, with last week's medical substitute Alex Sexton again named as an emergency.

The Saints have also rewarded form after a big win against Hawthorn in round seven, naming an unchanged 22 with last week's medical substitute Mason Wood among the emergencies. 

Defender Tom Highmore has fallen short of a recall after a big match at VFL level, with Jack Lonie and Ben Long other contenders for the medical substitute role.

Gold Coast v St Kilda at Metricon Stadium, 1.45pm AEST

Out: A.Sexton (omitted)

Last week's sub: A.Sexton (unused)

Out: M.Wood (omitted)

Last week's sub: M.Wood (unused)

Greater Western Sydney v Essendon at Giants Stadium, 2.10pm AEST

 T.Bruhn, D.Lloyd, Z.Sproule
Out: S.Reid (hamstring), B.Daniels (hamstring), J.Hogan (calf), M.Buntine (concussion)

Last week's sub: M.Buntine (replaced B.Daniels)

 A.Francis, A.Phillips
Out: D.Zaharakis (omitted), N.Bryan (omitted), M.Guelfi (omitted)

Last week's sub: D.Zaharakis (unused)

North Melbourne v Collingwood at Marvel Stadium, 4.35pm AEST

Out: W.Phillips (omitted), A.Bosenavulagi (omitted)

Last week's sub: C.Menadue (replaced A.Bonar) 

In: T.Brown, O.Henry 
C.Brown (omitted), F.Macrae (omitted), J.Rantall (omitted) 

Last week's sub: J.Rantall (unused)

Melbourne v Sydney at the MCG, 7.25pm AEST

In: H.Petty, J.Harmes
Out: A.Tomlinson (knee), O.Baker (omitted), N.Jones (omitted) 

Last week's sub: N.Jones (replaced A.Tomlinson)

D.Rampe, R.Fox, L.Franklin
Out: D.Stephens (omitted), R.Clarke (omitted), L.Melican (hamstring), I.Heeney (ankle)

Last week's sub: R.Clarke (replaced L.Melican)

Port Adelaide v Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, 7.10pm ACST

T.Boak, K.Farrell 
Out: M.Frederick (omitted), B.Woodcock (omitted), S.Mayes (omitted)

Last week's sub: S.Mayes (replaced R.Burton)

L.Brown, R.Sloane, W.Hamill
Out: A.McPherson (omitted), S.McAdam (omitted), N.Murray (omitted), J.Hately (omitted)

Last week's sub: D.Fogarty (unused)