Big Merv, Magilla, Richo join the party at Aurora

PERSONNEL changes have affected both Team Ponting and Team Gilchrist as the countdown to Ricky Ponting's Tribute Game at Aurora Stadium intensifies.

As well as boxer Daniel Geale, Richmond duo Jack Riewoldt and Brett Deledio have been forced to withdraw because of training commitments with the Tigers, while former Test opener Ed Cowan has Second XI duties with Tasmania.

Coming into the teams will be Ponting's former teammate in leg-spinner Stuart MacGill and lion- hearted paceman Merv Hughes, with Tasmanian Matthew Richardson to fill the shoes of his former Richmond teammates.

Richardson was also part of the David Boon Testimonial in November 1996 at the NTCA Ground.

Ponting's childhood friend and former Tasmanian and Australian player Shaun Young will also play.

Cricket Tasmania has released Tim Paine and Ben Hilfenhaus to act as 12th men.

Ponting's manager James Henderson yesterday said all the additions brought something different to the contest.

"Merv Hughes adds another level of colour and personality and Merv is looking forward to getting the crowd stretching," Henderson said.

"Matty Richardson has done a lot behind the scenes for Ricky's foundation and is an example of a guy that gives back to Tassie, and Stuart MacGill would do absolutely anything for Ricky and has absolute respect for him."

Ticket sales for the Twenty20 match were yesterday at 11,514, with 1303 seats remaining.

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster outlets, with all funds raised going to the Ponting Foundation to help Tasmanians and their families beat cancer.

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