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Western Bulldogs forward Josh Bruce’s return to the AFL has been dealt a setback, with the 30-year-old experiencing hamstring tightness at training this week.

The Dogs revealed the hamstring complaint on Thursday, which will delay Bruce from ending his absence from the senior side and playing his first AFL game since August last year.

“Josh suffered some low-level hamstring tightness in the main session yesterday,” fitness boss Chris Bell told the club website.

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“Having been in rehab for a long period of time, we don’t want to take any risks and he won’t play this weekend.

“We will assess Josh for the following week.”

Elsewhere, Gold Coast Suns will be without forward Joel Jeffrey for the rest of the season, with the 20-year-old having surgery on the lateral miniscus in his right knee.

Jeffrey suffered the injury late in Sunday’s win over Adelaide, but coach Stuart Dew and the club initially thought it was a minor injury.

“It’s really unfortunate, Joel was adding something to our side and getting comfortable at the level,” Dew said on Thursday.

“It’s one we were really surprised by given it wasn’t too sore (after the game) … but when he walked in on Monday hobbling my heart sank a bit because I was just disappointed for him because he’s done a lot of work to get to where he is.

“You just want your young lads playing.”

Brisbane has been forced into three crucial changes for Thursday night’s top-of-the-table showdown against Melbourne.

The Lions were already expected to be without Darcy Gardiner (lung) and captain Dayne Zorko (hamstring), but young superstar Zac Bailey will also miss through Health and Safety protocols.

Jimmy Tunstill will make his AFL debut for Chris Fagan’s side after being named on the bench. He was selected with pick 41 in the 2021 national draft, and becomes the second of his draft class to debut for Brisbane this season, after Kai Lohmann.

Jack Payne and Thomas Berry come into the side, for their fourth and second games respectively of the season (excluding an unused sub appearance for Berry).

Melbourne has regained superstar defender Steven May following his club suspension for an off-field incident with teammate Jake Melksham.

Sam Weideman regains his spot in the forward line at the expense of Mitch Brown, who is omitted, with Toby Bedford also back in the side. Daniel Turner (face) and Max Gawn (ankle) will miss along with Kade Chandler, who exits the squad after being the sub on Queen’s Birthday.

The teams for the rest of Round 15’s games will be announced on Thursday at 6:20pm AEST.

Steven May set to return from suspension | 01:05

AFL ROUND 15 FIXTURE AND TEAMS (All times AEST)

MELBOURNE v BRISBANE LIONS

Thursday June 23, 7:20pm at the MCG

DEMONS

B: J.Harmes, H.Petty, S.May

HB: J.Jordon, J.Lever, C.Salem

C: A. Brayshaw, C. Petracca, E. Langdon

HF: B.Brown, B.Fritsch, T.Sparrow

F: A. Neal-Bullen, S. Weideman, C. Spargo

FOLL: L. Jackson, C. Oliver, J. Viney

I/C: T. Bedford, M. Hibberd, J. Bowey, K. Pickett

EMG: A. Tomlinson, L. Dunstan, M. Brown, J. Hunt

IN: S.May, S.Weideman, T.Bedford

OUT: M.Brown (omitted), D.Turner, M.Gawn (both injured), K.Chandler (sub)

LIONS

B: J. Payne, H. Andrews, M. Adams

HB: B.Starcevich, D.Rich, N.Answerth

C: J.Berry, T.Berry, H.McCluggage

HF: C.Rayner, E.Hipwood, L.McCarthy

F: D.McStay, J.Daniher, C.Cameron

FOLL: O.McInerney, J.Lyons, L.Neale

I/C: D.Robertson, M.Robinson, K.Coleman, J.Tunstill

EMG: C. Ah Chee, J. Madden, D. Fort, R. Lester

IN: J.Payne, T.Berry, J.Tunstill

OUT: D.Gardiner, D.Zorko (both injured), D.Fort (sub), Z.Bailey (HS Protocol)

WESTERN BULLDOGS v HAWTHORN

Friday June 24, 7:00pm at Marvel Stadium

BULLDOGS

TBA Thursday evening

hawks

TBA Thursday evening

WEST COAST EAGLES v ESSENDON

Friday June 24, 8:40pm at Optus Stadium

EAGLES

TBA Thursday evening

BOMBER

TBA Thursday evening

CARLTON v FREMANTLE

Saturday June 25, 1:45pm at Marvel Stadium

BLUES

TBA Thursday evening

DOCKERS

TBA Thursday evening

GEELONG CATS v RICHMOND

Saturday June 25, 4:35pm at the MCG

CATS

TBA Thursday evening

TIGERS

TBA Thursday evening

SYDNEY SWANS v ST KILDA

Saturday June 25, 7:25pm at the SCG

SWANS

TBA Thursday evening

SAINTS

TBA Thursday evening

NORTH MELBOURNE v ADELAIDE CROWS

Sunday June 26, 1:10pm at Blundstone Arena

KANGAROO

TBA Thursday evening

CROWS

TBA Thursday evening

COLLINGWOOD v GWS GIANTS

Sunday June 26, 3:20pm at the MCG

MAGPIES

TBA Thursday evening

GIANTS

TBA Thursday evening

PORT ADELAIDE v GOLD COAST SUNS

Sunday June 26, 4:10pm at Adelaide Oval

POWER

TBA Thursday evening

SUNS

TBA Thursday evening

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