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In the mix: round two

Staff writers  March 29, 2016 6:59 PM

AFL 2015 Training - Carlton 111115

Dale Thomas is back from suspension and likely to come in to face the Swans


The Crows emerged with a clean bill of health after Saturday night's loss to North Melbourne – despite skipper Taylor Walker being spotted in a moonboot – and Don Pyke could have some tough selection calls to make leading into a huge Showdown against Port Adelaide. The Crows' reserves had a thumping win over reigning premiers West Adelaide, with Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Riley Knight and Ricky Henderson among the best, while recruit Troy Menzel booted two majors. With only two players on the injury list, it could be a lengthy selection meeting for the Adelaide hierarchy this week.- Travis King

Brisbane Lions

The Lions have two big ins for Saturday afternoon's match against North Melbourne at the Gabba, with vice-captains Dayne Zorko and Daniel Merrett to return. Zorko missed Sunday's loss against West Coast through suspension, while Merrett was a late withdrawal with illness. Zorko adds pace to the midfield group and half-forward line, while Merrett's experience and strength was sorely missed against the Eagles, where Josh Kennedy kicked eight goals. Tough-nut midfielder Mitch Robinson picked up a calf niggle, which is still being assessed. - Michael Whiting 

Dayne Zorko is in line to return for the Lions after a one-match suspension. Picture: AFL Media


Dale Thomas will return from a one-match suspension that forced him to miss the opening round against Richmond. Coach Brendon Bolton signalled Thomas' likely inclusion immediately after the nine-point loss to the Tigers. The former Magpie is fit and raring to go, determined to silence his critics after overcoming the shoulder injury that ruined his 2015 campaign. There were plenty of promising performances in the Northern Blues' VFL practice match at Punt Road Oval last Thursday against Richmond. Most interest centred around the display by father-son draftee Jack Silvagni, who booted three goals up forward. Dillon Viojo-Rainbow continued his impressive pre-season form, collecting 20 disposals off half-back and a wing, while nominated rookie Ciaran Byrne (28) and Matthew Dick (22) played key roles in defence. Liam Jones and Daniel Gorringe also booted three goals each in the 56-point win. 
- Howard Kotton 


Following their disastrous season-opener against Sydney, the Magpies could make wholesale changes for the huge clash with Richmond at the MCG on Friday night. At the very least they will be forced to replace injured veteran Dane Swan long-term and the suspended Steele Sidebottom, and will also monitor the fitness of defender Nathan Brown (hamstring tightness) and small backman Marley Williams (knee). Among those in contention for promotion are defensive star Ben Reid, who was best afield in a VFL practice match on Saturday, while recruits Jeremy Howe and James Aish (three goals) also performed strongly. Brodie Grundy could once again take the No. 1 ruck mantle from Jarrod Witts, while experienced defender Alan Toovey and the versatile Jonathon Marsh are also in the mix.
- Ben Collins

Ben Reid could be back against the Tigers this Friday night. Picture: AFL Media


The Bombers might be looking to keep their side stable for this week's clash with Melbourne despite a heavy defeat to Gold Coast last weekend. However, if coach John Worsfold is looking for more cover in defence then he might call on Michael Hartley, who performed well in the club's VFL match on the weekend. Rookies Will Hams, Conor McKenna and Jake Long also impressed but would need to be upgraded to face the Demons. Jayden Laverde should be available after nursing an ankle injury in recent weeks, while former Hawk Sam Grimley and small forward Nick Kommer could be in contention for a senior call-up. - Callum Twomey 


Ross Lyon flagged changes following the Dockers' humiliating defeat to the Western Bulldogs in round one. Zac Clarke hurt his knee early against the Bulldogs and is likely to miss, but will be covered by Aaron Sandilands with the veteran available after serving a one-match suspension. Michael Johnson should return after missing last week with a calf issue. There were some big performances in the WAFL by Dockers squad members over the weekend. Key position players Tanner Smith (four goals for Peel Thunder) and Alex Pearce (two) made a case to be included, as the Dockers need to find some scoring avenues. Ed Langdon gathered 32 disposals for Peel while veteran Matt de Boer collected 34. Classy ball users Ethan Hughes (23 disposals) and Darcy Tucker (22) also put their hand up for a start against Gold Coast. - Alex Malcolm


The Cats will be sweating on Mitch Duncan's report but otherwise they are in good shape on the injury front. Daniel Menzel and Nathan Vardy kicked four goals each in a VFL practice match and will be pressing for selection against Greater Western Sydney. Both need to improve their defensive pressure to earn a game. George Horlin-Smith had 35 touches in the VFL and is ready to step into the midfield when an opportunity arises. He might not be a natural replacement for Duncan but he is the next best inside midfielder on Geelong's list. - Peter Ryan

Dan Menzel is ready to stake his claim for a place in the Cats' best 22. Picture: AFL Media

Gold Coast

Coming off a 10-goal win to start its season, don't expect too many changes for Gold Coast's trip to Perth to play Fremantle on Saturday. The one possible inclusion is running defender Kade Kolodjashnij, who was a late scratching from the big win over Essendon with an abdomen problem. The young Tasmanian was sent to hospital for scans. The Suns are treading warily with the illness and still to determine whether he'll make the trip west or not. Brandon Matera and Jarrod Garlett were excellent in the NEAFL and could come into consideration should Rodney Eade decide to make any changes based on form. - Michael Whiting


Midfielder Stephen Coniglio was surprisingly left out of the Giants' round one team after missing the last two NAB Challenge games, but will return this week after getting through a NEAFL practice game against the Sydney Swans unscathed. Power forward Jon Patton kicked five goals in the same match and is sure to be looked at, especially with James Stewart quiet against Melbourne last week, while academy recruit Jacob Hopper found plenty of the footy. Zac Williams and speedy forward Will Hoskin-Elliott will also been in contention for a recall. - Adam Curley


A dismal day at the MCG on Monday, both on the scoreboard and in the medical room. Skipper Luke Hodge has an arm injury and is set to be missing for up to a month, joining Liam Shiels (wrist), Bradley Hill (wrist) and Jarryd Roughead (PCL) on a growing and quality injury list. Ruckman Jon Ceglar was a late withdrawal against the Cats because of back spasms and his return for the Grand Final rematch against West Coast on Sunday is uncertain. Box Hill lost its practice match on the weekend by 20 goals, so the reinforcements appear thin. Daniel Howe seems a certain inclusion for Hodge, while key defender Kaiden Brand shapes as a chance if the Hawks need more height in defence. Brendan Whitecross is on the fringes of selection and offers experience and versatility. - Ashley Browne 


The Demons had a gritty victory against Greater Western Sydney and now turn their attention to Essendon as they strive for back-to-back wins season-opening wins for the first time since 2005. Young defender Oscar McDonald (ankle) was on crutches at the end of the game and looks likely to miss a few weeks. Veteran Lynden Dunn serves as the ideal replacement after missing out on round one. Angus Brayshaw will be in contention after a solid performance in the Casey Scorpions' intra-club match on Good Friday, as will Heritier Lumumba against the Bombers. Luckless pair Christian Petracca and Jack Trengove moved a step closer to a return to senior football with impressive displays in the practice match. - Ben Guthrie

Angus Brayshaw could be back this week but Christian Petracca must wait. Picture: AFL Media

North Melbourne

The Roos will be forced to make at least one change from their round one team, with forward Jed Anderson set to miss up to 10 weeks with a hamstring injury. Kayne Turner looms as his most likely replacement after initially being listed as an emergency for the Adelaide clash, but the small forward will have to prove he is over the hamstring niggle that forced him to withdraw the day before the game. Fellow small forward Robbie Nahas will also be strongly considered after kicking three goals in Werribee's most recent VFL practice match. Werribee did not play last weekend, making it hard for North's fringe players to push for senior recalls. North is also unlikely to make many changes after its comeback win over the Crows, but Ben Jacobs could be considered if the Roos feel they need a lockdown midfielder against the Brisbane Lions, while Aaron Mullett appears to be on the brink of senior selection after a strong pre-season. - Nick Bowen

Port Adelaide

Matt White's pectoral injury opens up a spot for Jimmy Toumpas or Aaron Young. Both won their fair share of ball in the SANFL last week. Matthew Lobbe was beaten by St Kilda's Tom Hickey in round one but Port Adelaide will almost certainly stick by him, particularly since the club does not have an abundance of ruckmen. Dougal Howard spent time in the ruck during the NAB Challenge and kicked three goals last weekend in the reserves, but the 20-year-old is not yet ready to assume the mantle as Port's primary ruckman. - Dinny Navaratnam


Half-forward Ben Lennon appears likely to face Collingwood on Friday night as a replacement for Shane Edwards, who suffered a broken hand in round one. Lennon booted four goals in a VFL practice match last Thursday and is a like-for-like swap for Edwards. The Tigers will be desperate for influential ruckman Ivan Maric to return after missing round one, but he will need to prove he is over a back problem this week. If available, he would be a direct swap for back-up big man Shaun Hampson. Coach Damien Hardwick has ruled out vice-captain Brett Deledio (quadricep) for one more week, but midfielder Shaun Grigg (thumb) is likely to return. Other changes from a scratchy first-up win could see round one emergencies Andrew Moore and Taylor Hunt considered. – Nathan Schmook

Ben Lennon looks a good replacement for the injured Shane Edwards. Picture: AFL Media

St Kilda

The Saints were brave in defeat in their season opener against Port Adelaide, so the side should be little changed. Paddy McCartin made a compelling case in Sandringham's VFL practice match against Box Hill, kicking seven goals and picking up 25 disposals. If St Kilda decides to play him against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, it will most likely be a smaller player who makes way. Eli Templeton and Jade Gresham may be nervous about keeping their spots after quiet games. Darren Minchington had 44 disposals and three goals in the seconds, and he is another contender to play the Dogs. - Dinny Navaratnam 

Sydney Swans

Experienced duo Ted Richards (calf) and Ben McGlynn (hamstring) both got through a reserves scratch match against the Giants and will push their case for a return to the senior team at training this week. The pair sat out the first quarter of the game but both had an impact when they were introduced. There's unlikely to be many, if any changes from John Longmire apart from the injured Michael Talia, but livewire forward James Rose kicked three against GWS, with draftee Jordan Dawson and rookie-listed defender Nic Newman in good touch. - Adam Curley

Ben McGlynn might find it hard to break into the victorious Swans' line-up. Picture: AFL Media


West Coast

It will be hard to make changes after a 64-point win over the Brisbane Lions, but there are a couple of first-choice players in the mix. Lewis Jetta and Chris Masten will need to get through training this week, but should they do so Adam Simpson said they could be included to face Hawthorn, despite both coming off injuries. It will be tough for others to find their way in, given the Eagles got through round one without any injury issues. West Coast's WAFL affiliate side East Perth suffered a second straight loss on the weekend. Mark Hutchings gathered 23 disposals as he continues to work his way back from a calf niggle. Kane Lucas also collected 23 touches. Young key position prospect Tom Lamb gathered 23 disposals, took six marks and kicked a goal as he continues his development, but he will have to wait for an opportunity given how well the Eagles' forward line is functioning. - Alex Malcolm

Western Bulldogs

Luke Beveridge will be spoilt for choice for ruckmen with Tom Campbell (ankle) and Will Minson (hamstring) both available to face the Saints at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Jordan Roughead and Tom Boyd worked well in tandem against the Dockers and both would be stiff to be dropped.  Midfielders Lin Jong (23 possessions and a goal), Mitch Honeychurch (two goals) and untried Declan Hamilton (21 touches) were all prominent in a VFL practice match while defenders Joel Hamling, Josh Prudden and Zaine Cordy showed they're ready for a senior call up. And Jed Adcock did his chances of an upgrade from the rookie list no harm with 21 possessions and two goals. With forward Tory Dickson sidelined with a quad complaint for at least another two weeks, impressive draftee Josh Dunkley will likely retain his spot. - Ryan Davidson