Carlton rests De Koning for crunch game as debutant confirmed

Carlton has made a surprise call to rest Tom De Koning ahead of its crunch match against ladder leaders St Kilda on Sunday.

The Blues confirmed their final 22 on Friday evening, with the 23-year-old named as an emergency and Marc Pittonet and Jack Silvagni backed to take on influential Saints big man Rowan Marshall.

Mitch McGovern also comes into the side after overcoming a calf complaint, with defender Lachie Plowman omitted, while debutant Alex Cincotta replaces Adam Saad (hamstring strain) at halfback.

St Kilda pulled no surprises at the selection table, naming star duo Jack Steele and Tim Membrey for their returns from injury at the expense of young midfielder Marcus Windhager and last week’s sub Jack Bytel, while Anthony Caminiti misses through suspension.

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has axed his former Hawthorn player Liam Shiels from the Kangaroos side, with Aaron Hall introduced for his first game of the season and Paul Curtis recalled after an outstanding 20-disposal, five-goal VFL performance last week.

The Suns will welcome back captain Jarrod Witts to take on the Roos, with the 209cm ruckman overcoming general soreness after a two-week absence.

Witts’ understudy Ned Moyle has been omitted along with top 10 pick Bailey Humphrey, while Levi Casboult returns to the side.

Hawthorn has made two changes for its clash with the Crows in Launceston, resting Josh Ward and recalling sub Cameron Mackenzie to the 22, while Dockers recruit Lloyd Meek has been axed with Max Lynch in for his first game of the season.

The Crows will field an unchanged side following their emphatic 56-point win over Carlton in front of a packed Adelaide Oval for Gather Round.

Carlton is excited for its former VFL player Alex Cincotta, who assistant coach Ash Hansen said was ready to perform at the senior level straight away.

Alex Cincotta will debut for the Blues. Jonathan DiMaggio / Getty Images
Camera IconAlex Cincotta will debut for the Blues. Jonathan DiMaggio / Getty Images Credit: Supplied

The 26-year-old SSP recruit finished runner up in the Blues’ best and fairest last year before he won an AFL spot in February.

“Alex Cincotta will make his debut for the Carlton Football Club which is really exciting,” Hansen said.

“It’s a great story of persistence, resilience and following your dream … it’s great to confirm that today.

“He’s certainly well equipped through his journey and being in our system for the last two years to play that high back role, and provide some really good run and maturity in the contest which will be important for us.”

Blues coach Michael Voss was absent on Friday due to a family matter, but Hansen said he would still coach against the Saints at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

“We expect him to be there on Sunday Vossy, which is good,” he said.

“Personal matter … clearly I would not rather be here, I’d rather him be here, but certainly the footy club we support him, so we’ll step up and prepare the boys really well.”

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