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Aussie Rules

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Hawks make big changes for Freo AFL clash

Two years and 10 days since his last AFL game, Hawthorn defender Grant Birchall is finally confirmed for his senior comeback.

The Hawks confirmed Birchall will play in Saturday's Launceston game against Fremantle.

It's mixed selection news for the Hawks, who are two games and percentage outside the top eight.

While they will also regain injured-plagued recruit Chad Wingard, Jack Gunston is out because of a leg injury.

They also dropped Conor Glass.

Birchall has been out of action because of a serious knee injury and then soft-tissue problems.

He and former Jarryd Roughead are the only four-time premiership players still on the Hawks list.

"My body is the best it's been for a long time," Birchall told the club's website.

"I've ticked all the boxes. I'm fit, I'm ready to go, so I'm looking forward to it."

The Dockers will regain speedster Stephen Hill, who has only managed two games this season.

Ruckman Sean Darcy also replaces Aaron Sandilands among three changes.

Collingwood's form slump prompted three changes for their massive Friday night clash with West Coast.

Debutant John Noble, Levi Greenwood and Ben Crocker will replace axed trio Matt Scharenberg, Josh Daicos and Josh Thomas.

The Eagles will regain key forward Josh Kennedy and Tom Cole, while Liam Duggan (ankle) and Brendon Ah Chee (calf) are injured.

Essendon are unchanged for Saturday's bumper game against North Melbourne, meaning injured captain Dyson Heppell misses again.

The in-form Kangaroos axed Luke Davies-Uniacke and Sam Durdin for Jamie Macmillan and Curtis Taylor.

Veteran Richard Douglas is a casualty of Adelaide's form woes, along with Jordan Gallucci.

Riley Knight and Tyson Stengle will take their places for the away game against Gold Coast, while the luckless Suns have lost Jack Martin and Wil Powell to injury.

Geelong forward Esava Ratugolea is back for Saturday night's home game against St Kilda, who have lost defender Josh Battle to injury as Nathan Brown and Jack Lonie return.

Brandan Parfitt also returns for the Cats, with Jack Henry managed and Lachie Fogarty dropped.

Carlton will regain co-captain Patrick Cripps for their SCG game against Sydney.

Hugh Goddard will play his first game for the Blues and Harry McKay also returns.

Kieren Jack is back for the Swans.

There are several big names added to the Sunday squads, including Richmond star Jack Riewoldt, GWS defender Lachie Whitfield and Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn.

--End of article--

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