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McGrath, Kelly back for Dons

Simon Conway  August 10, 2017 7:56 PM

BTV: RD 21 | Team Selection John Worsfold takes us through the team to face the Crows in Round 21.

James Kelly and Andrew McGrath are among five inclusions for the Bombers clash with Adelaide on Saturday night.

The pair will be joined in the backline by fellow inclusion Matt Dea, while Matthew Leuenberger and Jayden Laverde have also been named in the side.

Kelly and McGrath were rested from the team’s eight point win over Carlton last week.

“It’s a fairly new thing in the AFL in terms of resting players throughout the year, but in these circumstances, it definitely has an impact,” Essendon Coach John Worsfold said.

“Both of those players (have a) heightened risk of injury if they play through the whole season when they start to fatigue so we think there is benefit with removing that to as much of a degree as we can.”

Orazio Fantasia and Zach Merrett will watch on from the sideline for the first time this season.

The Match Review Panel suspended Merrett for one match earlier this week while Fantasia is out for five to six weeks with a hamstring injury.

“They’ve been important players for us and we’ve been lucky enough to have them all year,” Worsfold said.

“They both play really important roles so how we cover those roles and how much we change our line-up to cover those guys is an interesting discussion for match committee.”

Tom Bellchambers is out because of a foot problem but Worsfold has experienced cover in the 134 game ruckman, Leuenberger.

“’Leuey’ has been in wonderful form at VFL level and it has been a similar story with a lot of the players in the VFL,” Worsfold said.

“I’ve been acknowledging that their strong form is what we need but it just hasn’t been enough to force their way into the line-up.

“Tommy has had a huge year so far coming off a limited pre-season so we’ve just seen some signs that he’s flagging a bit and it’s great to have someone the calibre of Leuenberger fit and healthy to come in.”

The match will be Dea’s first at AFL level since round 10, but the former Tiger who finished in the top ten in the Crichton Medal last season, has been in consistent form in the VFL.

“Matt’s had an awesome year – he’s played really well every week,” Worsfold said.

“He has been in and out because he has been the held over emergency a couple of times.

“He has been available for us and we’ve been knowing that if he comes in he’s been ready to go.

“His attitude has been great and he’s really ready to contribute this week.”

Fellow defenders Mark Baguley (rested) and Michael Hartley have been left out of the side that beat the Blues.