Sport AFL Richmond spring big surprise at AFL finals selection

Richmond spring big surprise at AFL finals selection

reece conca richmond football club
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Hawthorn have kept the AFL finals hopes of injured Isaac Smith alive while Richmond have taken the biggest selection punt by summoning Reece Conca.

Conca has played only two games this season – the most recent four weeks ago – but has been named for the Tigers’ elimination final against North Melbourne, who made 10 changes to their side for Sunday’s match.

“It’s a calculated risk,” Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said.

Fremantle dynamo Nat Fyfe is among 14 inclusions for the Dockers, who host Sydney in a Saturday afternoon qualifying final in Perth.

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Goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne has been named for his first match since round 14 while numerous established Fremantle stars including captain Matthew Pavlich are back after being rested last week.

isaac smith hawks winger
The Hawks winger is in a race against time to be fit for Friday’s game in Perth. Photo: Getty

Sydney, having lost Lance Franklin (mental illness) and Kieren Jack (knee), have called on experienced duo Jarrad McVeigh, returning from a calf strain, and Ben McGlynn as replacements.

Hawthorn have named Smith, despite damaging knee ligaments last weekend, along with captain Luke Hodge and Luke Breust, while dropping Angus Litherland, James Sicily and Daniel Howe.

Smith didn’t train on Thursday with his Hawthorn teammates in Perth.

“We’ll make a call on that tomorrow morning,” assistant coach Adem Yze said of Smith.

West Coast have summoned influential defender Will Schofield to return from a three-match absence because of a hamstring injury and also recalled Scott Selwood.

The duo replace Chris Masten (hamstring) and Jackson Nelson (omitted).

Meanwhile, the Western Bulldogs have made five changes for Saturday night’s elimination final against Adelaide at the MCG.

Ruckman Jordan Roughead (finger injury) and Jason Johannisen (calf complaint) are out, while Lukas Webb, Zaine Cordy and Brett Goodes are omitted.

The Dogs have named ruck Will Minson for his first AFL game since round 15, recalled evergreen trio Rob Murphy, Matthew Boyd and Dale Morris, and also included Lin Jong.

The Crows have dropped first-year backman Jake Lever and Jarryd Lyons in favour of Kyle Cheney and David Mackay.

– AAP

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