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Kangaroos play it safe with Cunnington

3 minute read

Ben Cunnington has missed out on a dream AFL recall this week, with the star Kangaroos midfielder set to play in the VFL instead in his return from cancer.

BEN CUNNINGTON. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Last week's milestone men Joel Selwood and Shane Edwards have been rested, while cancer survivor Ben Cunnington will have to wait at least one more week before making a dream AFL return.

Geelong have recalled Brandan Parfitt and Rhys Stanley for Saturday night's clash with St Kilda, but 350-game veteran Selwood has been rested to freshen him up for the Cats' finals campaign.

Gary Rohan was ruled out with concussion.

The Saints welcome back defender Dougal Howard from a knee injury just in time to take on Geelong's vaunted forward line of Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron.

Richmond have opted to rest 300-gamer Edwards for their must-win match against the Power at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night, while Dylan Grimes was forced out after undergoing hamstring surgery.

First-year defender Josh Gibcus and last week's substitute Maurice Rioli were included in the 22.

The Power pulled a selection shock by axing forward Mitch Georgiades, while Todd Marshall (health and safety protocols) and Lachie Jones (hamstring) also go out of the side.

Ruckman Brynn Teakle, defender Dan Houston and midfielder Willem Drew all return.

The Kangaroos were considering handing Cunnington an immediate recall for Sunday's encounter with Sydney after the veteran overcame testicular cancer and a recent calf injury.

But he will instead play in the VFL.

The four Kangaroos players who missed last week due to entering the AFL's health and safety protocols - Aidan Corr, Lachie Young, Paul Curtis and Aaron Hall - have been included in the extended squad, along with Flynn Perez, Josh Walker and potential debutant Josh Goater.

Father-son draftee Jackson Archer has been ruled out with a hip injury, while Aiden Bonar and Phoenix Spicer have been omitted.

Sydney veteran Josh Kennedy has been named on the extended bench and is a chance to make his AFL return.

Another Josh Kennedy - West Coast's version - will return for his farewell match in the Eagles' encounter with Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

West Coast lost Connor West (wrist) and Jack Petruccelle (hamstring) to injury, while Jai Culley is suspended.

Melbourne will be boosted by the return of forward Ben Brown for Friday night's blockbuster against Collingwood, but James Harmes wasn't named despite being expected to recover from concussion in time.

The Magpies welcome back forward Brody Mihocek, but Taylor Adams is in a race to be fit for finals due to a groin injury.

Fremantle have kept faith in forward Matt Taberner for Saturday's match against the Western Bulldogs, with Travis Colyer and Liam Henry dropped to make room for Darcy Tucker and Nathan O'Driscoll.

The Bulldogs have named father-son pick Sam Darcy for his AFL debut, while Alex Keath and Adam Treloar return.

GWS get back Stephen Coniglio, Kieren Briggs, and Jake Riccardi against Essendon, with the Bombers gaining the huge additions of Darcy Parish and Andrew McGrath.

Carlton lost Matthew Kennedy (concussion/jaw) and Nic Newman (knee) while also dropping Lachie Plowman for Sunday's match against Brisbane at the Gabba.

The Lions welcome back star defender Daniel Rich.

Hawthorn lost forward Mitch Lewis (knee), Josh Morris (shoulder), and Changkuoth Jiath (suspension) for Saturday's meeting with Gold Coast.

The Suns recalled Alex Davies and Brandon Ellis.

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