THE WESTERN Bulldogs will roll the dice on experienced ruckman Stefan Martin for its preliminary final showdown with Port Adelaide, but defender Alex Keath has succumbed to a hamstring injury.
Martin has played just one game in 134 days due to Achilles, shoulder, hip and groin injuries, but has been entrusted by Luke Beveridge to handle ruck duties on Saturday night and replaces Lewis Young in a Bulldogs team with three changes.
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Important defender Keath is forced out after dealing with a hamstring injury this week, replaced by Zaine Cordy down back, while Jason Johannisen will come into the starting side for Cody Weightman as he enters the AFL's 12-day concussion protocols.
In better news for the Dogs, skipper Marcus Bontempelli has been named despite hobbling from the field after hurting his knee in the dying stages of last week's thrilling semi-final victory over Brisbane.
Port Adelaide is unchanged for the preliminary final, with young forward Mitch Georgiades not recovering in time from a hamstring injury. But the lively Orazio Fantasia will play, having dealt with a knee complaint of his own during the side's week off.
Super sub Sam Powell-Pepper was not recalled despite an inspiring performance off the bench in Port's win over Geelong.
Melbourne has opted for veteran Michael Hibberd to replace the injured Joel Smith in the side's only alteration for Friday night's preliminary final against Geelong, meaning speedster Jayden Hunt misses out on a recall.
Hunt was available for selection after recovering from ankle surgery he underwent in August, but can't reclaim his place in the side at the expense of first-year youngster Jake Bowey.
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Geelong has also been forced into one change, with last week's medical substitute Zach Guthrie named to replace the injured Brandan Parfitt for the do-or-die clash at Optus Stadium.
Parfitt will miss the remainder of the season with a hamstring injury, with Guthrie's inclusion likely to spell a midfield return for Mitch Duncan after he lined up at half-forward for last week's semi-final win over Greater Western Sydney.
Friday, September 10
Melbourne v Geelong at Optus Stadium, 5.50pm AWST
Out: J.Smith (hamstring), J.Jordon (medi-sub)
Qualifying final sub: J.Jordon (unused)
Out: B.Parfitt (hamstring)
Semi-final sub: Z.Guthrie (replaced B.Parfitt)
Saturday, September 11
Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval, 7.10pm ACST
Out: S.Powell-Pepper (omitted)
Qualifying final sub: S.Powell-Pepper (replaced O.Fantasia)
In: Z.Cordy, S.Martin
Out: C.Weightman (concussion), Le.Young (omitted), A.Keath (hamstring)
Semi-final sub: J.Johannisen (replaced C.Weightman)