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Thilthorpe back for Crows, Dockers skipper falls short

The Brisbane Lions' charge up the AFL ladder has taken a hit after key defender Jack Payne was struck down by a foot injury, but Adelaide forward Riley Thilthorpe and Sydney skipper Callum Mills are finally back.

In other notable round 18 selection news, Essendon recalled Dyson Heppell but overlooked Todd Goldstein, Charlie Dixon is a chance to return for Port Adelaide, and Fremantle skipper Alex Pearce failed in his bid to return early from a fractured arm.

Payne is set to miss the next six weeks after scans revealed he has a bone stress reaction in his right foot.

The Lions will also be without Brandon Starcevich (concussion) for Sunday's clash with West Coast as Brisbane attempt to snare their sixth straight win.

Interim West Coast coach Jarrad Schofield axed young midfielder Campbell Chesser, while Jeremy McGovern (ribs/lung) was ruled out.

Harry Edwards, Luke Edwards, Zane Trew, Ryan Maric and Jai Culley were added to the extended squad for West Coast's first match since axing coach Adam Simpson.

Hawthorn skipper James Sicily returns from his dislocated shoulder for Saturday's encounter against Fremantle, but Mitch Lewis goes out with his season-ending knee injury, and Jack Ginnivan (fractured leg) still isn't ready to return.

Dockers skipper Pearce was pushing hard for a return after missing just two games with a fractured arm, but his bid has fallen just short.

Alex Pearce.
Alex Pearce leaves the field with an arm injury suffered against the Suns. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Instead, they have recalled forward Patrick Voss to replace Sean Darcy (concussion), with the move freeing up Luke Jackson to take over the ruck duties.

Heppell is back for Essendon after being rested last week, but Goldstein has been overlooked for Saturday night's match against a Melbourne outfit missing Max Gawn (ankle).

Harrison Petty was recalled in the Demons' only change.

Thilthorpe will play his first AFL match of 2024 in Saturday night's home clash with St Kilda after recovering from a long-term knee injury.

The Crows have named Hugh Bond for his AFL debut.

Star playmaker Izak Rankine (suspension) and defender Mitch Hinge (adductor) go out of the side.

St Kilda suffered a double blow with Brad Hill ruling himself out to be present for the birth of his second child and tagger Marcus Windhager to miss four to six weeks with a hamstring injury.

Riley Bonner and Zak Jones were recalled.

Collingwood have been boosted by the return of forward Jamie Elliott (foot) for Friday night's blockbuster against an unchanged Geelong at the MCG.

John Noble and Reef McInnes also return, but Brody Mihocek (pectoral), Jeremy Howe (hamstring) and Charlie Dean (omitted) go out of the side.

North Melbourne welcome back midfielder George Wardlaw from concussion to face Sydney, but Griffin Logue is likely to feature in the VFL again as he works his way back from his ACL tear.

Zac Fisher misses again with a foot injury.

Sydney skipper Mills, who injured his shoulder during the off-season before being cut down by a calf complaint, is finally back, replacing the omitted Sam Wicks.

Callum Mills.
Callum Mills in action for the Swans during the 2023 season before his injury. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)

Carlton have lost Mitch McGovern (hip flexor) for Saturday's encounter with the Western Bulldogs, while Orazio Fantasia was axed.

Ruckman Marc Pittonet and defender Caleb Marchbank were recalled.

The Dogs lost star forward Aaron Naughton to concussion but Cody Weightman is back from his groin injury.

Gold Coast will be without Touk Miller (wrist) and Sam Day (foot) when they take on Port on Sunday.

Power forward Dixon, who has served his three-match SANFL suspension, is in line to replace the suspended Mitch Georgiades.

Richmond welcome back Dion Prestia for their match against GWS, but Dustin Martin will miss a second straight game with a back injury.