ADELAIDE has dropped a bombshell at the selection table, dropping champion forward Eddie Betts in the wake of its third loss in its past four matches.
The 32-year-old was goalless in all of those losses, with a six-goal haul in the round 17 win over Gold Coast wedged in between.
Betts has kicked no fewer than 51 goals in his first four seasons at West Lakes, but is struggling to hit those heights in 2019.
The Crows also dumped out-of-contract midfielder Hugh Greenwood and key defender Alex Keath, who is being managed for Saturday’s encounter against an in-form Carlton outfit at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Tyson Stengle, Patrick Wilson and Andy Otten are Adelaide’s inclusions, while the Blues have called on Andrew Phillips to replace fellow ruckman Matthew Kreuzer (managed).
Jamie Elliott headlines the inclusions for Collingwood’s crunch clash against fellow top-four aspirant Richmond at the MCG on Friday night, with Josh Daicos, Matthew Scharenberg and Josh Thomas also earning a call-up.
Inside midfielder Brayden Sier has been ruled out with a calf injury, while rebounding defender James Aish hasn’t recovered from a shoulder injury sustained in last week’s loss to Greater Western Sydney. Defenders Ben Crocker and Flynn Appleby have both been given the chop.
The Tigers, meanwhile, have elected to stick with the same 22 that accounted for Port Adelaide by 38 points last-start.
Defender Grant Birchall (soreness) is named to return for Hawthorn, replacing Jarman Impey (knee) as the Hawks strive to extend their winning run to four when they take on the League’s surprise packet in Brisbane at University of Tasmania Stadium.
Veteran Josh Walker is in for the Lions, who will have to get the job done without suspended defender Harris Andrews.
Taylor Garner will get an instant chance to redeem himself for his club-imposed suspension, earning a promotion for North Melbourne’s must-win game against West Coast at Optus Stadium.
Midfield bulls Luke Davies-Uniacke and Paul Ahern have also been recalled, with key defender Scott Thompson (ruptured testicle), Kayne Turner (rested) and Nathan Hrovat (omitted) making way.
The Eagles have promoted premiership defender Will Schofield at the expense of Tom Cole.
Ben Long returns to the senior side for St Kilda’s encounter with Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night after missing last week’s win over the Western Bulldogs to spend time with his family in Darwin following the passing of his grandfather.
Long has been selected in favour of fellow livewire Matthew Parker.
Key defender Steven May will miss for the Demons after suffering a hamstring injury in the last-start loss to the Eagles, while powerful ruckman Braydon Preuss and emerging forward Jay Lockhart have been dropped.
Oscar McDonald returns for his first game at senior level since round 11, with speedster Oskar Baker and developing forward Tim Smith the other additions for Melbourne.
Like their cross-town rival, Port Adelaide have also made a statement at the selection table with coach Ken Hinkley and his cohorts dropping aggressive forward Charlie Dixon and Steven Motlop in favour of ruckman Patrick Ryder and young defender Joel Garner.
Greater Western Sydney has made three changes for Saturday night’s meeting with the Power at Adelaide Oval, adding key defender Phil Davis, Adam Kennedy and first-year midfielder Jackson Hately.
Seasoned campaigner Brett Deledio has been managed out of the team, while defenders Lachie Keeffe and Jake Stein have been omitted.
Superstar skipper Nathan Fyfe is one of five potential inclusions for Fremantle’s contest against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, after missing last week’s thrilling two-point win over Sydney with an infected elbow.
Hybrid forward Cam McCarthy – who has managed just the three goals in his past three outings – is the sole omission for Fremantle at this stage.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have confirmed that tough-as-nails defender Dale Morris will return from a knee injury and Rhylee West – son of Bulldogs seven-time best-and-fairest winner Scott – will make his debut.
Superboot Matthew Suckling (hip) and forward Josh Schache (concussion) are out for the Dogs.
Ruckman Zac Smith is in the frame to play just his second senior game for 2019 after being named for Geelong’s clash with Sydney at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.
The Cats will make a minimum of two changes, having elected to manage dashing defender Zach Tuohy and mid-sized forward Gary Rohan.
The Swans have lost Will Hayward to a hip injury, with emerging talent Jordan Dawson, former Cat Daniel Menzel and veteran Kieren Jack among the possible replacements.
Essendon will square off against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium without Conor McKenna (brother’s wedding in Ireland) and skipper Dyson Heppell (foot). Ruckman Zac Clarke and youngster Jayden Laverde, who both missed last week’s season-defining win over Adelaide due to illness and back soreness respectively are in the mix to replace the pair, with veteran David Myers also in contention to play his first match since round eight.
Will Brodie (hamstring) goes out for the Suns, who have named creative defender Lachie Weller, hard-nosed on-baller Anthony Miles, George Horlin-Smith, Jack Leslie and potential debutant Jez McLennan in their 26-man squad.
FRIDAY JULY 26
COLLINGWOOD versus RICHMOND, Melbourne Cricket Ground, 7.50pm (AEST)
In: J.Daicos, J.Elliott, M.Scharenberg, J.Thomas
Out: B.Sier (calf), J.Aish (shoulder), B.Crocker, F.Appleby
SATURDAY JULY 27
HAWTHORN versus BRISBANE, University of Tasmania Stadium, 1.45pm (AEST)
Out: J.Impey (knee)
Out: H.Andrews (suspended)
CARLTON versus ADELAIDE, Melbourne Cricket Ground, 2.10pm (AEST)
Out: M.Kreuzer (managed)
In: T.Stengle, P.Wilson, A.Otten
Out: A.Keath (managed), E.Betts, H.Greenwood
WEST COAST versus NORTH MELBOURNE, Optus Stadium, 2.35pm (AWST)
In: T.Garner, L.Davies-Uniacke, P.Ahern
Out: S.Thompson (ruptured testicle), K.Turner (rested), N.Hrovat
ST KILDA versus MELBOURNE, Marvel Stadium, 7.25pm (AEST)
In: O.Baker, T.Smith, O.McDonald
Out: S.May (hamstring), B.Preuss, J.Lockhart
PORT ADELAIDE versus GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY, Adelaide Oval, 7.10pm (ACST)
In: P.Ryder, J.Garner
Out: S.Motlop, C.Dixon
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
In: P.Davis, A.Kennedy, J.Hately
Out: J.Stein, L.Keeffe, B.Deledio (managed)
SUNDAY JULY 28
WESTERN BULLDOGS versus FREMANTLE, Marvel Stadium, 1.10pm (AEST)
In: D.Morris, R.West, E.Richards, B.Williams, W.Hayes, J.Sweet
Out: M.Suckling (hip), J.Schache (concussion)
New: Rhylee West (Calder 18), Jordon Sweet (North Adelaide)
In: N.Fyfe, B.Banfield, H.Ballantyne, M.Crowden, L.Schultz
SYDNEY versus GEELONG, Sydney Cricket Ground, 3.20pm (AEST)
In: J.Dawson, K.Jack, D.Menzel, B.Ronke, J.Rose
Out: W.Hayward (hip)
In: Z.Smith, J.Henry, Q.Narkle, L.Henderson, S.Selwood, S.Simpson
Out: Z.Tuohy (managed), G.Rohan (managed)
GOLD COAST versus ESSENDON, Metricon Stadium, 4.40pm (AEST)
In: L.Weller, A.Miles, G.Horlin-Smith, J.Leslie, J.McLennan
Out: W.Brodie (hamstring)
New: Jez McLennan (Central District)
In: Z.Clarke, D.Myers, J.Laverde, M.Baguley, B.McNiece, J.Begley
Out: D.Heppell (foot), C.McKenna (personal leave)