Main content

In the mix: round nine

Graham Johncock could come back into Adelaide's line-up for the clash against the Kangaroos - ${keywords}
Graham Johncock could come back into Adelaide's line-up for the clash against the Kangaroos
Despite hyperextending his knee last weekend, Josh Jenkins is expected to take his place against North Melbourne on Sunday. He was the only injury concern to come out of last weekend's 40-point win over the Saints, but significant pressure coming from players in the SANFL could see a change or two in Brenton Sanderson's side. Veterans Graham Johncock and Ian Callinan continue to push their cases, with returns of three and five goals. Jared Petrenko was solid too with 24 touches, as was Brad Crouch with 23 while Brodie Martin was at his best with 28 disposals and a goal. - Harry Thring

It's not injuries that will force changes to Michael Voss's winning team this week, but suspension. Big defenders Daniel Merrett and Justin Clarke have been rubbed out of Saturday night's clash against Carlton, but Matt Maguire's timely return from an eight-week absence with a leg injury slightly offsets that somewhat. The Blues don't have an overly tall forward line, so expect Voss to bring in some speed, which might open the door for the return of Sam Docherty or Josh Green. Don't be surprised if rookie Sam Mayes is rested either, after six games in the seniors and an appearance in the sub's vest last week. - Michael Whiting

The Blues could be bolstered by the return of stars Andrew Carrazzo (calf), Bryce Gibbs (hamstring) and Chris Yarran (hamstring) for their crucial clash with the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday night. Their availability will be subject to fitness tests. There are also several strong candidates for promotion in the VFL. Ruckman/forward Shaun Hampson responded strongly after being dropped, having a phenomenal 68 hit-outs and kicking a goal. Backman-turned-forward Jeremy Laidler was also among the Northern Blues' best with two majors, while big man Levi Casboult and defenders Nick Duigan and Matthew Watson were also impressive. Usual forward Sam Rowe was solid at full-back. Little men Dylan Buckley and Aaron Joseph are also in the mix for recalls. - Ben Collins


The Magpies are likely to make few changes for Friday night's MCG clash with the Sydney Swans at the MCG. Ruckman Jarrod Witts hurt his finger at training on Tuesday, and the short week will mean the Pies might need to make a quick call on his availability. Ben Hudson, who starred in the VFL last week, may come in to provide Collingwood with more height. Ben Johnson and Alan Didak continue to press for selection in the VFL, but coach Nathan Buckley would surely be loath to tinker with the side that was so impressive in beating Geelong last week. – Ashley Browne

Doubts remain on key forward Michael Hurley after his concussion last week against the Brisbane Lions. The Bombers will assess him in the next few days to see if he is fit to take on Richmond, but if he doesn't come up, there could be a direct swap for Scott Gumbleton, who was rested last week. Alwyn Davey will miss another week with a hamstring injury but there are a few in-form candidates in the VFL, with Leroy Jetta, Alex Browne and Joe Daniher impressing. Courtenay Dempsey will return after serving his ban for ignoring team protocol, while tough youngster Will Hams is on the verge of an AFL debut. - Callum Twomey

FREMANTLE Although they won't say it publicly, the Dockers will experiment this week against Melbourne to find a forward line mix that can be effective in the face of a mounting injury toll. Matthew Pavlich mooted a possible return against Melbourne two weeks ago, but Ross Lyon said on Saturday night he's still another week away. Tanner Smith will be considered given Michael Johnson's success up forward against the Swans. Hayden Crozier would be expected to come in for Michael Walters who will miss up to a month with an ankle injury. Viv Michie, Tom Sheridan, and Josh Simpson have also been mentioned by Lyon as possible options. - Alex Malcolm

Nine things we learned from round eight

The Cats will be without Billie Smedts for their trip to AAMI Stadium to play Port Adelaide on Saturday. But star midfielder Steve Johnson should be back after shaking off his calf injury. Geelong has also announced that elevated rookie George Burbury will make his debut against the Power. Mitch Brown is also likely to be given another chance at the highest level. Cats coach Chris Scott says ruckman Nathan Vardy won't play in the AFL for at least another two weeks. - Adam McNicol

Zac Smith's ACL injury robs the Suns of one of their most prized youngsters. With Charlie Dixon (ankle) likely to miss a third successive match, the race is down to two, with Tom Nicholls and Dan Gorringe battling for the ruck spot to play Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday. Coach Guy McKenna said Nicholls had his nose in front early in the week to play his second career game. Tom Murphy should return to play his former club after missing last week with concussion, while Karmichael Hunt will have to pass a fitness test to see if he has overcome a hamstring injury. - Michael Whiting

Kevin Sheedy backed his team to give him a response to a poor effort against Adelaide and it responded with a highly competitive showing in Launceston against Hawthorn. There is pressure coming from the reserves with Matthew Buntine showing good form as he continues his recovery from a punctured lung suffered during the NAB Cup. Nathan Wilson, Sam Reid and Shaun Edwards also performed well in the seconds, along with Curtly Hampton and Will Hoskin-Elliott, who are pushing for a recall. - James Dampney

The Hawks should regain Josh Gibson from his ankle injury, and Bradley Hill, a late withdrawal from Saturday's win over Greater Western Sydney, for this weekend's clash with Gold Coast. Others pushing their claims include Shane Savage and Jed Anderson, who both kicked three goals for Box Hill at the weekend, and Mitch Hallahan, who was also among the VFL club's best. - Mark Macgugan

The Demons will be without impressive youngster Jack Viney, who looks set to miss two to three weeks with a hot spot in his foot, while top draft pick Jimmy Toumpas is likely to miss the game against Fremantle with an ankle injury. Experienced small forward Shannon Byrnes, who missed the Richmond game with a wrist injury, will need to pass a fitness test to be declared available for the game in the west. Melbourne could welcome back Jack Watts, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, for the clash with the Dockers. Meanwhile, Cam Pedersen was the Casey Scorpions' best with 27 touches on the weekend, despite a 60-point thrashing at the hands of the Box Hill Hawks. - Ben Guthrie

North's strong showing against West Coast last Friday night means it's unlikely to make many changes this round. Midfielders Levi Greenwood, Jordan Gysberts and Will Sierakowski advanced their claims for a senior spot with strong games in Werribee's win over Coburg on Saturday. Key defender Luke Delaney has been in good form for North Ballarat but the strong form of Scott Thompson, Nathan Grima and Lachlan Hansen means he will probably have to keep biding his time in the VFL. - Nick Bowen

Former skipper Dom Cassisi will miss up to a month of football due to a hamstring strain. While he initially replaced youngster Sam Colquhoun in the senior side last week, concerns over the 18-year-old's size at AFL level could see the Power opt for a more experienced replacement. Defender Campbell Heath responded well after being omitted last week, collecting 24 disposals and 11 marks in the SANFL. Matt Thomas was good once again with 24 touches and two goals and Nick Salter continued his impressive return from injury with another three goals. Daniel Stewart was also in good touch, taking nine marks and booting three majors. Young defenders Jack Hombsch and Nathan Blee are both starting to find form and will push for selection. - Harry Thring

Ruckman Ivan Maric will return from an ankle injury after missing last Sunday's 34-point win over Melbourne, boosting the Tigers’ midfield for the Dreamtime at the 'G clash. Chris Newman is also expected to return after he was withdrawn against the Demons with groin soreness, but he will have to pass a fitness test later this week. At Coburg, Aaron Edwards' impressive run dried up with just one goal against Werribee, while promoted rookie Sam Lonergan was among the best players. Initially expected to push for selection this week, Dylan Grimes (foot) has suffered a setback and won't be available for 6-8 weeks, while Ricky Petterd (calf) isn't likely to return until after the round 11 bye. - Nathan Schmook

Richmond big man Ivan Maric is set to return to face Essendon this weekend. Picture: AFL Media

Justin Koschitzke is available after serving a two-week suspension and there have been several players pushing for an opportunity at VFL level. Youngsters Brodie Murdoch and Josh Saunders impressed on the weekend, as did Trent Dennis-Lane and Tom Lee, while Jason Blake, Sam Dunell and Clint Jones were AFL emergencies last week with the latter two playing VFL. Lenny Hayes (calf), Tom Simpkin (quad) and Nathan Wright (jaw) are listed as one to two weeks away while Adam Schneider (hamstring) is rated two to three. - Jennifer Phelan

Injuries mean some fringe Swans have been getting an opportunity in recent weeks, with mixed results. Dane Rampe has been solid in defence, largely filling the role left by Alex Johnson's season-ending knee injury. There are still some holes in the backline, with Rhyce Shaw (abdominal) and Lewis Roberts-Thomson (knee) still sidelined, while Marty Mattner (hip) will face a late fitness test before Friday night's clash with Collingwood. Andrejs Everitt showed reasonable form against Fremantle, while Tommy Walsh and Mitch Morton didn't really capitalise on their opportunities. Tom Mitchell continues to build his form in the seconds and Jed Lamb, who spent two weeks as a substitute before being sent back to the twos last week, is pushing for some more senior action. - James Dampney

The Eagles thought they had escaped the injury problems of the first six weeks, only to see Sharrod Wellingham (right ankle) and Will Schofield (finger) ruled out until after the bye. Andrew Embley had 28 touches and a goal in the WAFL last weekend and could be a straight swap for Wellingham with Mitch Brown likewise for Schofield. A few Eagles might be rested against GWS, which could provide openings for those doing well in the WAFL. Bradd Dalziell had 31 disposals and a goal for East Fremantle on Saturday to again press his claims, whilst Mark Hutchings unfortunately could not play due to West Perth having the bye. Ashton Hams kicked four goals in a win for South Fremantle, while Blayne Wilson kept prolific WAFL goal kicker Tim Geappen to just one major, helping his side East Perth to a win. - Alex Malcolm

The Bulldogs escaped the loss to Gold Coast without any injuries, but given the result, changes are still on the cards. Michael Talia put in a stronggame for Williamstown in the VFL, as did Mitch Wallis, who had 29 disposals. Lachie Hunter finished the game with three goals and 23 touches, and is nearing his debut, while fellow draftee Nathan Hrovat could well be a wildcard inclusion. - Jacqui Reed
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs