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The Age

Unhappy Hawks swing axe on five

Date: 06/07/2001
Words: 570
          Publication: The Age
Section: Sport
Page: 1
Hawthorn reacted savagely to its 87-point defeat to Brisbane last week by axing five players - almost a quarter of the team - for the crunch match against Richmond at the MCG tomorrow.

The Hawks, reeling after four losses in their past five starts, lost Lance Picioane to concussion and a badly broken nose, but dropped Bill Nicholls, Chance Bateman, Brett O'Farrell, Kris Barlow and Tim Clarke for what is shaping as the match of the round.

In their place, John Barker, Adrian Cox, debutant Tim Hazell, Shaun Rehn, Brett Johnson and Glen Bowyer get a chance as the Hawks try to halt their slide and re-establish themselves as a top-four team.

Cox, 21, has not played senior football for two years, since making his debut, then playing four games in 1999. Hazell, a 20-year-old Tasmanian, will make his debut in a game in which the Hawks, unbeaten on top of the ladder five weeks ago, could drop to as low as seventh if they lose.

Richmond , riding high in third place, brought back Nick Daffy and Brendon Gale from injury, omitting youngsters Mark Coughlan and Andrew Mills.

After several false starts, Irishman Tadgh Kennelly will finally get his chance to play senior football for Sydney, and emulate the feats of his fellow-countryman, Brownlow medallist Jim Stynes, when the Swans host Carlton at the SCG on Sunday.

Kennelly, who turned 20 last Sunday, was drafted by the Swans late in 1999 after proving an outstanding prospect as a Gaelic footballer.

After slowly developing his skills with Port Melbourne in the VFL last year, Kennelly has repeatedly pushed for senior selection this season and seven times has been included in the Swans' squad of 25.

Such was his rapid improvement he was elevated to the senior list when Ryan Fitzgerald sustained a season-ending knee injury.

Essendon, as expected, lost captain James Hird to a groin injury for tonight's game against the Western Bulldogs at Colonial Stadium.

Rookie ruckman David Hille was dropped, while Judd Lalich and Danny Jacobs were given another chance to establish themselves in the competition's premier team.

The Bulldogs also swung the axe after their dismal showing against Carlton last week by dropping three players, including high-priced Port Adelaide recruit Nathan Eagleton. Kingsley Hunter and Robert Murphy also felt the selectors' wrath, while Mitchell Hahn (ankle) could not be considered.

The four players included were key onballer Jose Romero, who returns after a long layoff with injury, Paul Dooley, Simon Cox and Trent Bartlett.

Eagleton, a stylish left-footer, came to the club at the start of last season in a three-way trade deal involving Stephen Powell and Brett Montgomery.

Collingwood and Geelong each included key players for their match at Colonial Stadium on Sunday, the Magpies bringing back centre half-forward Anthony Rocca after illness, and the Cats their livewire forward Ronnie Burns from suspension.

Melbourne's horror season showed no sign of bottoming out when they lost two of their best midfielders, Brownlow medallist Shane Woewodin (buttock) and Guy Rigoni (back), to injury for Sunday's game against the Kangaroos.

The Roos brought back veteran full-back Mick Martyn, among others, after a two-week hamstring injury. Glenn Archer (shoulder) could not be considered.

St Kilda gave a debut to former Bulldogs' reserves player Daniel Wulf for its trip to Brisbane, with the Lions calling up Ben Robbins to replace the suspended Chris Scott.

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