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Western Bulldogs striker Josh Bruce’s return to the AFL has been a setback, with the 30-year-old experiencing hamstring strain in training this week.

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

“Josh suffered from a slight hamstring strain during yesterday’s main session,” fitness manager Chris Bell told the club’s website.

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

“We will assess Josh for the following week.”

Elsewhere, the Gold Coast Suns will be without striker Joel Jeffrey for the remainder of the season after the 20-year-old has undergone surgery on the lateral miniscus of 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 such a shame, Joel was adding something to our side and getting comfortable on the level,” Dew said on Thursday.

“He’s the one that really surprised us considering he wasn’t too sore (after the game)… but when he limped in on Monday 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 guys to play.”

Brisbane have been forced into three crucial changes for Thursday night’s 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 out on 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 in his draft class to make his debut for Brisbane this season, after Kai Lohmann.

Jack Payne and Thomas Berry enter the team, for their fourth and second games respectively of the season (except for an unused under-appearance for Berry).

Melbourne have reunited with superstar defender Steven May after his club was suspended for an off-pitch incident with team-mate Jake Melksham.

Sam Weideman regains his place 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 be missing along with Kade Chandler, who is leaving the team after being the sub on the Queen’s birthday.

Squads for the remainder of Round 15 matches will be announced Thursday at 6:20 p.m. 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, 7:20 p.m. 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)

THE 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 vs. HAWTHORN

Friday, June 24, 7:00 p.m. at Marvel Stadium

BULLDOGS

Thursday night TBA

FALCON

Thursday night TBA

WEST COAST EAGLES v ESSENDON

Friday June 24, 8:40 p.m. at Optus Stadium

EAGLES

Thursday night TBA

BOMBARDIERS

Thursday night TBA

CARLTON vs. FREMANTLE

Saturday, June 25, 1:45 p.m. at Marvel Stadium

BLUES

Thursday night TBA

DOCKERS

Thursday night TBA

GEELONG CATS v RICHMOND

Saturday, June 25, 4:35 p.m. at the MCG

CATS

Thursday night TBA

TIGERS

Thursday night TBA

SYDNEY SWANS v ST KILDA

Saturday June 25, 7:25 p.m. at the SCG

SWANS

Thursday night TBA

SAINTS

Thursday night TBA

NORTH MELBOURNE v ADELAIDE CROWS

Sunday, June 26, 1:10 p.m. at Blundstone Arena

Kangaroos

Thursday night TBA

CROWS

Thursday night TBA

COLLINGWOOD vs. GWS GIANTS

Sunday, June 26, 3:20 p.m. at the MCG

PIES

Thursday night TBA

GIANTS

Thursday night TBA

PORT ADELAIDE vs. GOLD COAST SUNS

Sunday June 26, 4:10 p.m. at Adelaide Oval

POWERFUL

Thursday night TBA

SUNS

Thursday night TBA

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