NORTH Melbourne star midfielder Daniel Wells makes his return from a long-term injury to play with North Ballarat Roosters in the VFL on Sunday.
While still subject to getting through training with the Kangaroos on Friday, all the signs are good for Wells going into battle against Geelong at Eureka Stadium.
North Melbourne-listed Joel Tippett also returns from injury to play with the Selkirk Roosters.
They are among six changes to the North Ballarat team which defeated Coburg.
Captain Michael Searl (ribs) is also fit again, while Aaron Mullett has
again been dropped by North Melbourne, and Jordan Staley has been recalled after kicking eight goals for East Point in the Ballarat Football League.
North Ballarat Rebels ruckman and Vic Country under-18 representative Rowan Marshall will make his VFL debut as 23rd man – replacing Rebels teammate Daniel Butler.
Andrew Boseley, Lucas Cook, Coleman Schache, Sam Conroy and Ned Gilbert have all been squeezed out, and can all consider themselves unlucky.
Roosters football manager Marg Richards said Wells’ and
Tippett’s game time would be closely monitored. It will be Wells’ in first game day outing since North Melbourne’s
round five clash with Collingwood on April 19.
Wells injured his right foot when teammate Drew Petrie accidentally stood on it at training.
Wells has been talking up a possible return for more than a week since returning to full training
The two-time Kangaroos’ best and fairest said earlier this week he could not wait to play again, although he was conscious it would take time before he was able to get back to his best.
“I’ll probably be struggling a fair bit, so that’s where I’ll just look for the boys to help me out a bit,” Wells said.
It will be only the second time Wells has played for the Roosters.
He lined up against Melbourne-aligned Casey Scorpions at Morwell in 2009.
Wells is following a similar path back from injury as North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow.
Swallow came back from a ruptured Achilles tendon with the Roosters – co-incidentally also against Geelong – in round four in late April.
Swallow played two games in North Ballarat colours before stepping back in the Kangaroos team.
Geelong provides yet another major challenge for the Roosters, with both teams fighting to remain in the top eight with three rounds remaining.
North Ballarat is sixth – one game ahead of the eighth-placed Cats and six points inside the top eight.
It has an extremely tough run home, facing third-placed Williamstown and top team Port Melbourne in the last two rounds.
However the Roosters’ biggest threats for a finals berth, Sandringham and Northern Blues, also have testing runs home.
Sandringham meets Coburg (15th), Werribee (fifth) and Williamstown.
The Blues take on Williamstown, Port Melbourne and Box Hill (fourth).