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Gary Ablett named to face North Melbourne

Gary Ablett of the Suns warms up during the 2015 AFL Round 01 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Gold Coast Suns at the MCG, Melbourne on April 04, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Gary Ablett of the Suns warms up during the 2015 AFL Round 01 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Gold Coast Suns at the MCG, Melbourne on April 04, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

After being deprived of his brilliance for the majority of the first half of 2015, and almost a year to the day that he originally incurred the injury, Gold Coast SUNS captain Gary Ablett headlines four changes to the side that faces North Melbourne at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

The dual Brownlow medallist played the opening two rounds of the season – his only appearances since requiring a shoulder reconstruction after a tackle by Collingwood’s Brent Macaffer on July 5 last year. He has since missed the last nine games, and now returns to a side that has won only twice since that injury and just once this season.

Gold Coast’s depleted midfield division will receive an enormous boost with reigning best and fairest winner, David Swallow, also making a return following a long injury lay off.

Swallow injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in round four’s loss to Greater Western Sydney, and after missing eight games, the star midfielder has been brought straight back into Rodney Eade’s side.

After stellar performances against Brisbane in the NEAFL last weekend, ruckman Keegan Brooksby and utility Aaron Hall have been rewarded for their efforts with a recall to the senior side.

The pair was dominant against the Lions, with Brooksby booting five goals and accumulating 25 possessions, whilst Hall collected 29 possessions and kicked four goals.

Jarrod Harbrow has succumbed to a lingering ankle injury that will force him to miss Saturday’s twilight clash with the Kangaroos, whilst Sean Lemmens and Andrew Raines have both been omitted.

In light of recent events, Harley Bennell has been ruled out of the weekend’s game with Eade expressing in a press conference on Thursday that the club was concerned with the 22-year-old’s wellbeing during this time.

After being substituted out of the 34-point loss to Carlton last weekend with an ankle injury, Charlie Dixon has been cleared to play against the Kangaroos. The spearhead formed a lethal combination with Tom Lynch, with the pair combining for seven goals, before Dixon was forced out of the encounter.

In his second game back from a knee injury, Nick Malceski replaced Dixon late in the third quarter in Sunday’s game against the Blues. The former Sydney premiership player has started as the substitute in the last two games. He was prolific in limited game time against the Blues, collecting 12 possessions in just 31 per cent of the game.

Round 14 AFL Premiership Team

B: S. Day, H. Schade, A. Saad
HB: K. Kolodjashnij, S. May, T. McKenzie
C: L. Russell, G. Ablett, N. Malceski
HF: D. Swallow, T. Lynch, A. Boston
F: K. Brooksby, C. Dixon, T. Miller
R: T. Nicholls, M. Rischitelli, M. Hallahan
Interchange: A. Sexton, A. Hall, B. Matera, J. Lonergan

Emergencies: Z. Smith, M. Shaw, S. Tape

IN: G. Ablett, D. Swallow, K. Brooksby, A. Hall
OUT: A. Raines (Omitted), J. Harbrow (Ankle), H. Bennell (Wellbeing), S. Lemmens (Omitted)