ESSENDON has been forced into five late changes for Saturday night's clash against Hawthorn after a virus swept through the club in the past two days.
Jordan Ridley, Alec Waterman, Matt Guelfi, Sam Durham and Jake Kelly are all out.
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Devon Smith, who was originally listed with a knee injury, is among the five inclusions along with Aaron Francis, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Kaine Baldwin and Brayden Ham.
Debutant Alastair Lord is also in the 23 and will start as the sub.
"Late in the week we had a handful of players succumb to illness, and we’ve given them every opportunity to be fit for tonight’s game. As a result, we’ve had to make five forced changes, which includes debutant Alastair Lord being named as medical sub," football manager Josh Mahoney said.
"Devon Smith, who wasn’t originally listed as an emergency, has also come into the side after putting his hand up to be available. The plan for Dev was for him to complete a mini-preseason to build up the muscles around his knee. Given the situation, Dev put his hand up to play and we are looking forward to him contributing tonight."
The Hawks have also made a late change with Chad Wingard also succumbing to a virus.
Wingard, who was due to play his 200th game, has been replaced by Connor Macdonald.
Essendon v Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium, 7.25pm AEST
Essendon: Jordan Ridley, Jake Kelly, Matt Guelfi, Sam Durham, Alec Waterman (all illness) replaced in selected side by Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Brayden Ham, Kaine Baldwin, Aaron Francis, Devon Smith
Hawthorn: Chad Wingard (illness) replaced in selected side by Connor Macdonald
Essendon: Alastair Lord
Hawthorn: Liam Shiels
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Brisbane v West Coast at the Gabba, 7.25pm AEST
NO LATE CHANGES
Brisbane: Tom Berry
West Coast: Declan Mountford
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Greater Western Sydney v Geelong at Manuka Oval, 4.35pm AEST
Greater Western Sydney: None
Geelong: Rhys Stanley replaced in selected side by Zach Guthrie
Greater Western Sydney: Matt de Boer
Geelong: Mitch Knevitt
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Richmond v Collingwood at the MCG, 1.45pm AEST
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Richmond: Sydney Stack
Collingwood: Jack Madgen
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Sydney v Gold Coast at the SCG, 1.45pm AEST
Gold Coast: Noah Anderson (illness) replaced in selected side by Alex Davies
Sydney: Ryan Clarke
Gold Coast: Darcy Macpherson
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