Hawks axe four, welcome back Hodge

Hawthorn have reacted savagely to their upset loss against Essendon last week, wielding the axe for round two as they confirmed the return of former captain Luke Hodge.
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Taylor Duryea, Billy Hartung, James Sicily and Ryan Schoenmakers have all paid the price for the Hawks’ sluggish showing and have been dropped for what shapes as a big challenge against Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday.

Hodge was left out of the Hawks’ season opener due to a club-imposed one-match suspension for not notifying the club that he wouldn’t be attending a training session.

Joining the four-time premiership star as inclusions for Hawthorn are Ryan Burton, Kade Stewart and debutant Teia Miles who was taken at pick No.49 in the 2014 draft.

Fresh from smashing premiership favourites GWS by 56 points, the Crows will further bolster their team with the addition of captain Taylor Walker after he sat out Sunday’s match due to a hamstring injury.

Troy Menzel makes way for Walker after playing his first game for Adelaide last week.

Adelaide are also confident that star forward Eddie Betts will overcome an illness to face Hawthorn. The All-n goalsneak didn’t take part in the Crows’ main training session on Thursday.

Sydney have named three debutants for their grand final rematch with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

Robbie Fox, Nic Newman and Will Hayward will all play their first AFL games after Dane Rampe (arm), Daniel Robinson (collarbone) and the omitted Dean Towers were forced out of the side.

Marcus Adams will play his first game for the Dogs since Round 15 last year and looms as the obvious match-up for Lance Franklin with Dale Morris sidelined due to a broken leg. Ruckman Tom Campbell has also come in for premiership player Toby McLean.

Gold Coast’s former No.1 pick David Swallow is set to play his first premiership game in 631 days after he was included by the Suns to face Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.

Swallow’s promising career has been stalled significantly by knee and hamstring issues. He has not played since Round 15, 2015.

Key Melbourne duo Jesse Hogan and Max Gawn will be available to face Carlton on Sunday after being cleared of serious injury.

The pair pulled up sore after the Demons’ impressive round one win over St Kilda, with Hogan on crutches.

But Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said Hogan and Gawn will play as the club guns for two wins to open the season for the first time since 2005.

Goodwin said Hogan would have a hit-out before the match.

“He rolled his ankle last week, so it was just a matter of staying off it for a few days,” Goodwin said.

“He won’t do a hell of a lot today but he’ll do a bit on Saturday and he’ll be right to go.”

Ruckman Gawn has had back soreness, and hurt his wrist in a training mishap on Thursday too, but Goodwin also gave him the green light.

“Both are obviously pretty important players for us but they’ll both get the all clear and both be ready to play,” he said.

The Dees have made two forced changes with Bernie Vince (suspension) and Joel Smith (shoulder) making way for Dom Tyson, Dean Kent, Jake Spencer, Ben Kennedy and James Harmes in an extended squad.

The Blues haven’t dropped anyone as yet, but highly-rated youngster Harry McKay has been named in their 25 and could make his debut after kicking four goals in a VFL practice match last week

St Kilda have included veteran Leigh Montagna for their daunting assignment against West Coast at Domain Stadium on Saturday night. Paddy McCartin and Blake Acres’ are the Saints’ other ins.

The trio comes in for Nick Riewoldt (knee), David Armitage (groin) and the omitted Nathan Wright.

West Coast’s Mr Fix It Jonathan Giles has been called on again to alleviate their ruck crisis after Drew Petrie (hand) joined Scott Lycett (shoulder) and Nic Naitanui (knee) on the sidelines.

Impressive young Eagles Tom Barrass and Dom Sheed have also been named to take on St Kilda with Lewis Jetta (glute) and Eric Mackenzie (soreness) also coming out of the side that beat North Melbourne last week.

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