AFL 2024: Steven May picked for Melbourne against Adelaide

Adelaide has swung the axe with five changes but resisted calls to blood a debutant as Melbourne regains star defender Steven May for Thursday night’s Gather Round opener.

May is poised to complete a remarkable return only 12 days after he suffered two broken ribs and a small transverse process fracture on his spine in a heavy collision with Hawthorn forward Mabior Chol.

The premiership backman is Melbourne’s only inclusion, with Marty Hore coming out of the 23 with a broken thumb sustained last week.

Adam Tomlinson is set to be on standby for the Adelaide Oval clash after the Demons named him in the emergencies.

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks has made a statement after the Crows’ listless start to the season by dropping young forward-midfielder Luke Pedlar along with Lachie Sholl and James Borlase.

The Crows have also lost leadership group members Wayne Milera (season) and Lachie Murphy to knee injuries, but have opted against blooding top pick Daniel Curtin or SANFL standout Billy Dowling on Thursday night.

Rebounding defender Luke Nankervis will replace Milera after an impressive run of matches late in 2023, while Jordon Butts returns in place of Borlase.

Tough on-baller Sam Berry has earnt a recall along with Patrick Parnell, while fourth-year forward Brayden Cook will play his 13th AFL game after failing to grasp several previous opportunities to cement his spot.

Cook, 21, was taken with pick 25 in the 2020 draft but only broke into the side for one game last season and is out of contract at the end of this year.

Adelaide vs Melbourne, Adelaide Oval Thursday 7.40pm AEDT

ADELAIDE

B Worrell, Butts, Smith
HB Parnell, Keane, Michalanney

C Hinge, Dawson – C, Jones

HF Soligo, Rankine, Rachele

F Cook, Fogarty, Walker
FOL O’Brien, Laird, Keays

IC Burgess, Berry, Crouch, Nankervis, McHenry

EMG Pedlar, Borlase, Gollant

IN Butts, Parnell, Cook, Berry, Nankervis

OUT Borlase, Sholl, Pedlar, Murphy (knee), Milera (knee)

MELBOURNE

B Rivers, May, McDonald
HB Howes, Lever, McVee

C Langdon, Petracca, Billings

HF Neal-Bullen, Petty, Pickett

F van Rooyen, Brown, Fritsch
FOL Gawn – C, Viney, Oliver

IC Salem, Windsor, Sparrow, Chandler, Woewodin

EMG Laurie, Schache, Tomlinson

IN May

OUT Hore (thumb)

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