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In the mix: round two

Kieren Jack of the Swans leads the Swans onto the field during the 2013 2nd Preliminary Final match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Sydney Swans at Patersons Stadium, Perth on September 21, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
The Swans will be hoping Kieren Jack is passed fit to face the Magpies
ADELAIDE
Skipper Nathan van Berlo put the club's last-quarter fadeout against Geelong down to falling contested possession and tackling numbers late in the game, which is why the return of Richard Douglas this week could prove so influential. The experienced midfielder was expected to miss up to a month of football after a sickening knock to the groin on March 7, but he's recovered quickly and will seek medical approval to line up against the Power. In good news for the Crows' forward line, Lewis Johnston escaped sanction for a clumsy bump on Steve Johnson while Brent Reilly continued his return from a shoulder reconstruction with a solid performance in a SANFL trial at the weekend. Fellow defender Kyle Hartigan also performed strongly, as did small forward Jared Petrenko. - Harry Thring

BRISBANE LIONS
There will be one forced change for Sunday's home match against Geelong following the one-week suspension for vice-captain Tom Rockliff. Coach Justin Leppitsch is likely to go with either first-year midfielder Nick Robertson or veteran Andrew Raines. Rockliff played a defensive role on Sam Mitchell last week, so if Leppitsch wants a like-for-like swap he could go with Raines to shut down Cats skipper Joel Selwood. However, the rookie coach has shown an early liking for throwing youngsters into the mix, so it wouldn't surprise to see West Australian Robertson make his debut after a promising NAB Challenge campaign. - Michael Whiting

CARLTON
Andrew Walker’s one-game suspension will force the Blues to make at least one change to their defence that looked shaky at times in round one against Port Adelaide. Dylan Buckley, who impressed during the NAB Challenge with his run and carry, is a big chance to be promoted. Sam Rowe and Simon White would also be in contention as they have the ability to play at both ends of the ground, giving coach Mick Malthouse more flexibility. Nick Graham, who made his AFL debut against Richmond in round 21 last season, pressed his claims for senior selection in last weekend’s VFL practice match against Sandringham at Visy Park, gathering 30 possessions. Inside midfielder Jaryd Cachia was also impressive and key forward Levi Casboult kicked two goals. - Howard Kotton 

COLLINGWOOD
The Pies are expected to make several changes to the team that was walloped by a hungrier Fremantle side in round one. Jesse White has been passed fit and immediately gives Collingwood some much-needed structure. Ben Reid, however, will miss another few weeks with a lingering calf issue. Jarryd Blair and Sam Dwyer, in their third matches back from injury, both made significant contributions in the VFL and the club says they are ready to go if called upon. Lachie Keeffe will be considered after his surprising non-selection against the Dockers, while Alex Fasolo was damaging in a new role off half-back for the VFL Magpies. - Ben Guthrie

ESSENDON
It is hard to see the Bombers making many changes after their imposing win over North Melbourne last week. Half-back Courtenay Dempsey played three quarters of a VFL practice match at the weekend but will still spend more time at that level before returning to the senior side. Jake Melksham has another week to serve on his suspension before making his way into the midfield, and the club won't risk rushing back Jason Winderlich from a hamstring strain. - Callum Twomey

FREMANTLE
It will be tough to break into the Fremantle side this week given the quality of the performance against Collingwood on the opening night of the season. Nick Suban was suspended for round one but is now eligible and is in the best 22. Zac Clarke put his hand up to return after a solid performance in the WAFL for Peel. Clarke had 30 hit-outs, 13 disposals and kicked a goal. He could potentially replace Jack Hannath but Ross Lyon was pleased with the performance of the incumbent against the Magpies. Hayden Crozier was polished for Peel in the WAFL with 18 disposals and will push his case. Garrick Ibbotson will likely need another week or two in the WAFL but he did play well on return from Achilles surgery. - Alex Malcolm







Zac Clarke is a chance to bolster Fremantle's ruck stocks this weekend. Picture: AFL Media

GEELONG
After a horror run of injuries during the pre-season, the Cats emerged unscathed from their round one win over Adelaide on Thursday night. Geelong's VFL side played a practice match against Essendon's reserves at the weekend, and a number of fringe players pushed their claims for a berth in the team to play the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Sunday. George Horlin-Smith and Josh Walker booted two goals, while midfielder Jackson Sheringham, who was recently promoted off the rookie list, was best on ground. - Adam McNicol

GOLD COAST
The cavalry is slowly starting to return for the Suns, with fullback Rory Thompson a strong chance to play against Fremantle at Patersons Stadium on Saturday. Thompson missed much of the pre-season following hip surgery, but played a full game in the reserves on March 15. Coach Guy McKenna may decide Thompson needs another run in the twos, but he's one of Gold Coast's most important players and would enjoy the challenge against the Dockers. Jack Martin's unfortunate shoulder injury opens the door for another inclusion, with No.5 draft pick Kade Kolodjashnij a big chance to debut. The Tasmanian had 45 disposals in his most recent NEAFL game and is bashing down the selection door. Andrew Boston is also a chance to replace Martin in a similar half-forward role. - Michael Whiting




Gold Coast may unveil No.5 Kade Kolodjashnij after a dominant NEAFL outing. Picture: AFL Media

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
Giants coach Leon Cameron has a welcome quandary heading into Saturday afternoon's clash with St Kilda at Etihad Stadium – does he change a winning team? GWS is still basking in its first victory over the Swans and will be desperate to follow that up with another strong performance in round two. The club will need to find a replacement for defender and co-captain Phil Davis, as he continues his recovery from a kidney problem. Fellow tall Adam Tomlinson would be firmly in the mix, while last year's top two draft picks Tom Boyd and Josh Kelly could also make their debuts. Jed Lamb is also pushing for his first appearance in Giants colours. - James Dampney

HAWTHORN
Star midfielder/forward Cyril Rioli is set to return after serving his one-game suspension from last year's Grand Final, but it's down back where the Hawks are most in need. Essendon's twin towers Joe Daniher and Jake Carlisle will have significant height advantages over Kyle Cheney and Josh Gibson. The Hawks could consider 195cm key position player Matt Spangher, who is regaining fitness after a calf issue and played a half for Box Hill at the weekend, while 192cm defender Angus Litherland is a left-field chance to make his debut after three seasons on the Hawks' list. Ryan Schoenmakers (ruptured ACL) is expected to play for Box Hill in his first game for nearly 12 months. - Travis King

MELBOURNE
Melbourne lost key talls regularly during the pre-season and unfortunately the trend continued in round one. Jack Fitzpatrick (concussion) and Tom McDonald (corked thigh) were ineffective after half-time and will be assessed later in the week to see whether they are available. Max Gawn performed well in the VFL practice match and is set to play as a ruck/forward while Jack Viney will get another week in the VFL to build his match fitness. Michael Evans played well in the VFL and might get his chance while Dean Kent is in contention. Either Kent or Sam Blease could be suitable substitutes to replace Jay Kennedy-Harris if the club decides to push him back to the VFL after he made his debut in round one. - Peter Ryan

NORTH MELBOURNE
Todd Goldstein is battling to overcome a severely bruised left shoulder in time for Sunday's game against the Western Bulldogs. North remains hopeful its No. 1 ruckman will be fit to take on the Bulldogs, but Daniel Currie shapes as an able replacement if he is ruled out. After the Roos' dismal loss to Essendon last Friday night, coach Brad Scott warned that players who could not win the ball would be dropped. If Scott wields the axe, Levi Greenwood, Liam Anthony and Ben Jacobs are among the Roos' most likely inclusions, having all racked up at least 30 possessions in a VFL practice match on the weekend. Forward Mason Wood also put his hand up with a dominant performance for Werribee. - Nick Bowen

PORT ADELAIDE
It will be difficult for coach Ken Hinkley to justify changing a winning formula ahead of Saturday's Showdown, but with key defender Alipate Carlile getting through his first competitive run of the year last Saturday in a SANFL trial, Hinkley will have plenty to think about. Carlile didn't feature in the NAB Challenge after suffering a quad injury, but was solid in the Magpies' win over Central District. Midfielder Aaron Young and small forward Cam Hitchcock were also impressive in the win. Inserting versatile forward Paul Stewart straight into the senior side is another selection quandary. Stewart strained his calf against St Kilda on March 8 and will be assessed at training this week. - Harry Thring

RICHMOND
Club champion Daniel Jackson was eased back from a hamstring injury with the Tigers' VFL team on Saturday, playing three quarters of a practice match against Footscray. The strong-bodied midfielder will have five days to recover for Thursday night's blockbuster against Carlton but appears set to return. Pushing strong cases for inclusion were half-forward Chris Knights (24 possessions), who regularly drifted into defence, and midfielder Anthony Miles (20 possessions and six clearances). Prized draftee Ben Lennon has recovered from a knee injury and played a half but is unlikely to feature in senior calculations yet. - Nathan Schmook   

ST KILDA
Lenny Hayes and Leigh Montagna will almost certainly play after serving one-match suspensions but it will be hard to decide who to jettison from the team that beat Melbourne on Saturday night. Jimmy Webster will be tested after being subbed out with groin soreness and David Armitage needs to prove his fitness after pulling up with knee soreness. Sam Fisher is unlikely to return from a hamstring for 1-2 weeks. Trent Dennis-Lane, Billy Longer and Daniel Markworth put in good showings in a VFL practice match on the weekend while Josh Bruce played well in defence. Jack Steven is tracking for a round four return in either the VFL or AFL.  - Jennifer Phelan


St Kilda will welcome back Lenny Hayes with open arms this week. Picture: AFL Media

SYDNEY SWANS
The Swans will be aiming to bounce back hard from their shock loss to GWS. There will be plenty of interest in whether Ryan O'Keefe retains his place following a last minute reprieve in round one. But the man he replaced, co-captain Kieren Jack, is expected to recover from his back injury and play, leaving spots hard to come by in the final 22. Lewis Roberts-Thomson is also battling a groin complaint. Coach John Longmire will give 'LRT' plenty of time to prove his fitness, as he is happy for him to back-up Mike Pyke in the ruck. But if he can't recover in time, former Richmond ruck Tom Derickx, another round one emergency, could make his Swans debut against the Pies. - James Dampney

WEST COAST
There are plenty of players in the mix at West Coast as selection for round one was extremely competitive, but it is unlikely Adam Simpson will make many changes if any. Josh Hill didn't play at all, as he was held over as an emergency so he will likely play in the WAFL. Brad Sheppard had 28 touches for East Perth and Adam Carter 31. Simpson was impressed with Brant Colledge in the pre-season and the youngster had 23 disposals and kicked a goal in the WAFL. Will Schofield, Sam Butler, and Jacob Brennan all had injury concerns in the pre-season but all played well in the WAFL last Saturday and will be capable of coming in.  - Alex Malcolm

WESTERN BULLDOGS
The Bulldogs will be hoping skipper Ryan Griffen has finally overcome a lingering back complaint to face the Kangaroos. They may look to Liam Jones to add reinforcement to a forward line the lacked height and potency against West Coast. The 23-year-old key forward impressed in a VFL practice match against Richmond at the weekend, taking several contested marks and spending time in the ruck. Mature-age recruit Matt Fuller may also come in to contention for spot in defence, after Brett Goodes struggled against a rampant Eagles' forward line. - Ryan Davidson

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs