WINLESS Essendon and Port Adelaide have sharpened the axe ahead of their crunch clashes in round three.  

Essendon has dropped Devon Smith, Port Adelaide has omitted Xavier Duursma and Geelong has axed Luke Dahlhaus on Thursday night.

With Smith being left out of the 22 to face the Demons, the Bombers have regained Dylan Shiel and round one sensation Nic Martin for the game at the MCG, while Melbourne has remained unchanged. 

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Port Adelaide will be without Robbie Gray and Charlie Dixon again for Friday night's Showdown at Adelaide Oval, while Ken Hinkley has swung the axe, dropping new recruit Jeremy Finlayson, top pick Josh Sinn and Duursma.

In a big blow for the Power, Dixon is expected to miss another month following pre-season ankle surgery, while Gray has entered health and safety protocols.

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Adelaide skipper Rory Sloane has been ruled out of the clash after failing to recover from a groin injury in time, but Matthew Nicks will be boosted by the return of two-time best and fairest winner Rory Laird, who broke his hand on the eve of the season, with Lachie Murphy and Billy Frampton coming into the team. 

Injury-plagued ruckman Braydon Preuss will play his first game for Greater Western Sydney after suspension ruled him out of round one, before Leon Cameron opted to go with only Matt Flynn last weekend. 

The Giants lost Phil Davis and Daniel Lloyd this week, Jacob Hopper is expected to be sidelined for the next three months due to further knee surgery, while Jake Riccardi and Jarrod Brander have both been axed.

Gold Coast livewire Izak Rankine hasn’t proven his fitness in time to make the trip south to Giants Stadium, but Lachie Weller has exited health and safety protocols and will play. 

New Collingwood coach Craig McRae will hand a debut to Reef McInnes, who arrived at the AIA Centre via pick No.23 at the 2020 NAB AFL Draft. 

The Magpies have also recalled star half-back Brayden Maynard after he served a two-game suspension for an incident in the AAMI Community Series, but there is no room for Mason Cox, despite the loss of Nathan Kreuger. 

Chris Scott has recalled Geelong veteran Shaun Higgins and young gun Sam de Koning after the pair missed last weekend, with Zach Guthrie making way along with Dahlhaus. 

Jaidyn Stephenson is back for North Melbourne after being left out of the 26-man squad last weekend, with David Noble also regaining Ben McKay for the trip to Queensland. 

The Lions have regained Mitch Robinson after the midfielder served his one-game suspension. 

Hawthorn star Chad Wingard has proven his fitness after being substituted out of last Saturday night's game against Port Adelaide with a hamstring issue, while young gun Will Day has been named in the 26-man squad.

Chad Wingard celebrates a goal in round one, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Carlton has lost Mitch McGovern (hamstring) for the clash at the MCG, but have regained Adam Cerra and Jack Martin, while also naming Lewis Young for the first time.

St Kilda veteran Paddy Ryder has been named to play his first game of 2022 with mature-age sensation Jack Hayes included on an extended bench. 

Richmond has regained Dylan Grimes and Jack Riewoldt for Sunday's game at Marvel Stadium.

West Coast and Fremantle won't announce their teams for Sunday's Derby at Optus Stadium until Saturday afternoon due to the magnitude of COVID-19 in Western Australia right now.

Thursday, March 31

Western Bulldogs v Sydney at Marvel Stadium, 7.20pm AEDT

WESTERN BULLDOGS

In: B.Smith
Out: H.Crozier (managed), B.Williams (Medi-Sub)

Last week's sub: B.Williams (replaced Crozier)

SYDNEY

In: J.Amartey
Out: L.McDonald (omitted), A.Sheldrick (Medi-Sub)

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

Friday, April 1

Melbourne v Essendon at the MCG, 7.20pm AEDT

MELBOURNE

In: Nil
Out: T.Bedford (Medi-Sub)

Last week's sub: T.Bedford (unused)

ESSENDON

In: N.Martin, D.Shiel, A.Phillips
Out: D.Smith (omitted), A.Francis (omitted), Z.Merrett (ankle), N.Cox (ankle)

Last week's sub: T.Wanganeen (unused)

Adelaide v Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, 7.50pm ACDT

ADELAIDE

In: B.Frampton, R.Laird, L.Murphy
Out: N.Murray (omitted), L.Pedlar (omitted), R.Sloane (groin), J.Soligo (Medi-Sub)

Last week's sub: J.Soligo (replaced R.Sloane)

PORT ADELAIDE

In: S.Mayes, J.McEntee
Out: J.Sinn (omitted), J.Finlayson (omitted), X.Duursma (omitted)

Last week's sub: J.Mead (replaced T.McKenzie)

Saturday, April 2

GWS Giants v Gold Coast at Giants Stadium, 4.35pm AEDT

GWS Giants

In: B.Preuss, J.Peatling, L.Keeffe, J.Stein
Out: J.Riccardi (omitted), M.Flynn (omitted), J.Brander (omitted), P.Davis (hamstring), D.Lloyd (shoulder)

Last week's sub: M.de Boer (replaced D.Lloyd)

Gold Coast

In: L.Weller
Out: S.Flanders (omitted), D.Macpherson (omitted)

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

Collingwood v Geelong at the MCG, 7.25pm AEDT

COLLINGWOOD

In: B.Maynard, R.McInnes
Out: B.McCreery (hip), N.Kreuger (shoulder), T.Brown (omitted)

New: Reef McInnes

Last week's sub: D.Cameron (replaced N.Kreuger)

GEELONG

In: S.De Koning, S.Higgins
Out: Z.Guthrie (omitted), L.Dahlhaus (omitted), Q.Narkle (Medi-Sub)

Last week's sub: Q.Narkle (unused)

Brisbane v North Melbourne at the Gabba, 7.00pm AEST

BRISBANE

In: M.Robinson
Out: H.Sharp (omitted), J.Prior (omitted)

Last week's sub: J.Prior (unused)

NORTH MELBOURNE

In: B.McKay, J.Stephenson, E.Ford
Out: C.Lazzaro (omitted), A.Bonar (omitted), L.Davies-Uniacke (concussion), T.Thomas (internal bruising)

Last week's sub: A.Bonar (replaced L.Davies-Uniacke)

Sunday, April 3

Carlton v Hawthorn at the MCG, 1.10pm AEST

CARLTON

In: Le.Young, J.Martin, J.Boyd, L.Parks, A.Cerra
Out: O.McDonald (back), M.McGovern (hamstring)

New: Lewis Young, Jordan Boyd

Last week's sub: L.Plowman (replaced O.McDonald)

HAWTHORN

In: D.Howe, N.Long, J.Koschitzke, W.Day
Out: T.Phillips (omitted)

New: Ned Long

Last week's sub: T.Phillips (replaced C.Wingard)

St Kilda v Richmond at Marvel Stadium, 3.20pm AEST

ST KILDA

In: D.Howard, P.Ryder, D.Kent, B.Long
Out: C.Sharman (omitted)

Last week's sub: C.Sharman (unused)

RICHMOND

In: D.Grimes, J.Riewoldt, M.Rioli
Out: Nil

Last week's sub: J.Aarts (replaced T.Dow)

West Coast v Fremantle at Optus Stadium, 4.20pm AWST

WEST COAST

In: TBC
Out: TBC

Last week's sub: L.Edwards (replaced B.Ainsworth)

FREMANTLE

In: TBC
Out: TBC

Last week's sub: N.O'Driscoll (replaced S.Darcy)