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In the mix: Who's a chance for round 20?

Bombers defender Patrick Ambrose could be in the frame for his first senior game since round six - AFL,In the Mix
Bombers defender Patrick Ambrose could be in the frame for his first senior game since round six

The Crows could welcome back Eddie Betts (appendix), Brad Crouch (fractured cheekbone) and Jake Lever (hamstring) for Sunday's Showdown with Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval. The Crows expect the trio to be available, but will assess their fitness during the week. Draftee Myles Poholke was the travelling emergency for last Sunday's thrilling draw with Collingwood at the MCG and will again come into consideration. Harrison Wigg (34 disposals, 10 Inside 50s) and Jordan Gallucci (21 disposals and 14 tackles) impressed for Adelaide's SANFL team in its loss to Glenelg, while veteran Scott Thompson (25 disposals and 14 tackles) turned in another reliable game. - Lee Gaskin 

No-one loves a Showdown more than Eddie Betts and he'll be keen to come back. Picture: AFL Photos

Dayne Zorko will return from suspension for Saturday's home match against the Western Bulldogs to lead a host of changes for the Lions. Rested teenagers Eric Hipwood, Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry will also walk back into the team, as will emerging defender Dan McStay, who is expected to completely overcome a shoulder problem. The biggest problem for coach Chris Fagan will be who to leave out. - Michael Whiting 

With several of the Blues’ youngsters showing signs of fatigue, it may be an opportune time to rest a few and give some forgotten players another chance to resurrect their careers. Rhys Palmer, who has played only one senior game at his third club (against Essendon in round three), has been performing well for the Northern Blues and collected 22 disposals in the their win over Geelong last Saturday. Kristian Jaksch, who has not played in the AFL since round 17 last season, showed significant improvement on previous games to boot four goals. Veteran Dennis Armfield and defender Ciaran Sheehan, who have each made two senior appearances this season, could come under consideration as the Blues seek to end a six-game losing streak. Jarrod Pickett (two goals) was also instrumental in the narrow victory. – Howard Kotton

After a strong showing against league leader Adelaide, the Magpies could go into Saturday's dead rubber with North Melbourne unchanged for the first time since round 10 last year. However, those who could enter the frame for a call up include midfielders Tim Broomhead (who had a game-high 37 possessions in a 14-point VFL loss to Essendon), James Aish (27 and a goal), Callum Brown (the on-standby emergency for the Crows' clash), big man Mason Cox (15 touches, 30 hit-outs and two goals) and defenders Josh Smith (33) and Jackson Ramsay (24). - Ben Collins 

Mason Cox will be keen for another chance to claim a regular senior spot. Picture: AFL Photos

Defender Patrick Ambrose could be in the frame for his first senior game since round six after playing his second VFL game on the weekend. The hard-at-it backman suffered back-to-back quad tears at training but the Bombers may look to reshuffle their defence after leaking goals in recent weeks. Small forward Josh Green may also be available after missing two weeks with a hamstring injury. Midfielders Brent Stanton (28 disposals, two goals) was a standout at VFL level, while Craig Bird had 25 disposals and Kobe Mutch continued to press his claims for a debut with 23 touches. - Callum Twomey

It was ugly viewing seeing Connor Blakely twice requiring treatment for a painful dislocated shoulder against GWS, and the youngster would appear to be in grave doubt to face Gold Coast this Saturday night, which could open the door for out-of-favour backman Garrick Ibbotson to return. Ibbotson hasn't played in the AFL since he was dropped after round 10 but had 20 touches for Peel and was among the best in a loss to Swan Districts. Key defender Sam Collins has been dominant all season for the Thunder and might earn a call-up to combat the Suns' tall timber Tom Lynch and Peter Wright. Tommy Sheridan might be considered after a hamstring, while Josh Deluca (12 disposals, one goal), Danyle Pearce (24 disposals, one goal), Ryan Nyhuis and tall forward Matt Taberner, who was quieter for Peel with 14 touches after a purple patch in the previous three weeks, might also be in the mix. First-year ruckman Sean Darcy has been shouldering a heavy load recently and Jonathon Griffin might come into calculations if the Dockers rest the youngster. - Travis King 

Nakia Cockatoo will miss with another hamstring injury, which was sustained in his first game since round 13. The extent isn't yet known, but given the young gun's recent history with hamstring complaints, the Cats won't take any risks. Patrick Dangerfield will miss the clash against the Swans after accepting a one-week ban for his tackle on Matthew Kreuzer and will obviously be hard to cover. Daniel Menzel missed last week with soreness but is in the selection frame, along with Steven Motlop (managed) and Rhys Stanley (omitted). Aaron Black has now kicked six goals in two weeks after another three against the Northern Blues on Saturday, while Stanley's hand is up after 34 hit-outs and 21 touches. - Jennifer Phelan.  

The Suns are facing another injury crisis but should be significantly bolstered for Saturday's clash against Fremantle in Perth, with co-captain Steven May and champion midfielder Gary Ablett expected to return from hamstring problems. The star duo has missed the past fortnight and were close to playing Richmond at the weekend. Coach Rodney Eade could have to find anywhere from three to five new faces after the loss to the Tigers, such was the injury toll. Defender Jack Leslie (leg) is an outside chance to return, while Trent McKenzie and Josh Schoenfeld were strong at NEAFL level. - Michael Whiting 

Gary Ablett and Steven May will add desperately needed leadership to the Suns. Picture: AFL Photos

The Giants have lost star forward Jeremy Cameron with a hamstring strain but could have a host of big names back for their clash with Melbourne in Canberra. Steve Johnson (knee) and Shane Mumford (ankle) will be tested on Wednesday and could return after missing last week's win over Fremantle, while Jacob Hopper is in line to face the Demons. Brett Deledio has been confirmed for his Giants debut after he gathered 25 possessions in his second game in a row in the NEAFL last week, after missing most of the year with calf problems, while Hopper picked up 22 touches in his first appearance since round seven, after recovering from a broken finger and an ankle injury. Defender Harry Himmelberg has been impressive over the past fortnight in his two reserves games and must be a chance to get picked after showing no signs of the finger problem that cost him his place in the senior side after the Giants' round 14 win over the Brisbane Lions. - Adam Curley  

The Hawks will be sweating on a Tribunal appeal for Luke Hodge’s one-match suspension, which could rule him out of Sunday’s clash with Richmond. If the ban is upheld, it would mean the champion has played his last game at the MCG unless Hawthorn makes a miraculous entry to the finals. Paul Puopolo could come straight back into the side and return to his customary small forward role, freeing Taylor Duryea, who has made a reasonable fist of playing forward of the ball, to return to the backline. Teia Miles kicked five goals for Box Hill on the weekend and has been in good form, and may be given the chance to add to his two senior games from the start of the year. Blake Hardwick also needs to overcome a concussion test to be passed fit to play this week. - Ashley Browne

Melbourne is desperately missing the presence of co-captain Nathan Jones through the midfield, so his impending return from a quad injury is an important boost for the Demons. Jones could have played against the Roos, but Melbourne's fitness staff took a conservative approach to limit the chance of re-injury. Fellow leader Bernie Vince is also ready to resume after serving a two-match suspension. With star forward Jesse Hogan to miss several weeks with a broken collarbone, Sam Weideman pushed his claims for a recall in a standout display. The young forward gathered 20 disposals, nine marks and kicked three goals with a best afield performance for Casey. Cam Pedersen was a little unlucky to lose his place in the side two weeks ago and will also be considered as a replacement for Hogan. Rookie Corey Maynard continues to edge closer to a debut, after being elevated to the senior list in place of Pat McKenna last week, racking up 28 disposals and kicking one goal. Josh Wagner (22 touches) was also prominent, while Angus Brayshaw (23 touches) bobbed up in his second game back from a long layoff due to concussion. - Ben Guthrie

The Demons need Nathan Jones back to strengthen finals claims. Picture: AFL Photos

Todd Goldstein's fortnight out of the senior side could end on Saturday, with his best-on-ground VFL performance coinciding with Braydon Preuss hurting his back again. It remains to be seen how bad Preuss' back is, but Goldstein looms as a logical replacement if Brad Scott wants to play two ruckmen. There will be a spot available, with Jarrad Waite (calf) to miss the next fortnight. Mason Wood (calf) would have provided handy cover for Waite, but will miss more time. Another key forward, Nick Larkey, missed last week because of a knee injury sustained in his AFL debut, but could return at some level this weekend. There doesn't appear great need for change elsewhere, although Cameron Zurhaar and veteran Lindsay Thomas, who booted four goals for Werribee, might be in contention. Key forward Nick Larkey missed last week because of a knee injury sustained in his AFL debut, but should return at some level this weekend. – Marc McGowan 

Apart from star midfielder/forward Chad Wingard, the Power have a full list to choose from for Sunday's Showdown with Adelaide at Adelaide Oval. It'll be unlikely the Power will make many changes after their thrilling two-point win over St Kilda last weekend. Port Adelaide's SANFL team had the bye. Midfielders Brendon Ah Chee and Joe Atley, small forwards Jake Neade and Aidyn Johnson and defender Dan Houston are pushing to return to the senior side. Experienced forward Angus Monfries is also getting close for his first game of the year. - Lee Gaskin 

Key forward Jack Riewoldt is expected to find out on Thursday morning if he will be available for Sunday's clash against Hawthorn as he recovers from an eye injury. Riewoldt was a surprise omission against Gold Coast in round 19 after requiring several stitches in his right eye following a training mishap. His fate is in the hands of doctors, but the Tigers would be desperate to add the star goalkicker to an undersized forward line. Midfielder Dion Prestia is expected to be available after he was rested for one match with knee and calf soreness. In the VFL, half-back Jayden Short pushed his case for an immediate recall with 25 possessions, six rebound 50s and a goal. Ben Lennon booted three goals and, if Riewoldt is unavailable, remains a medium-sized option in a forward line lacking height. Tyson Stengle also booted three goals. - Nathan Schmook

Both Nick and Jack Riewoldt should make returns after missing last round. Picture: AFL Photos

Retiring champion Nick Riewoldt declared he would return after he was rested against Port Adelaide. Midfielder Koby Stevens missed that game with a sore groin but could return to face West Coast at Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Tall forward Rowan Marshall was a late change from the side that faced the Power because of the wet conditions but after the Saints performed well, Marshall may have to bide his time with Sandringham. Tough nut Nathan Wright and rookie Nick O'Kearney both played well in the VFL, as did ruckman Tom Hickey. - Dinny Navaratnam 

The Swans could receive a welcome boost for Friday night's massive clash with Geelong, with Jake Lloyd (hip), Gary Rohan (back spasms) and Sam Reid (groin) all chances to prove their fitness on Wednesday. Lloyd and Rohan were late withdrawals from last week's loss to Hawthorn at the MCG, while Reid has missed the past two games after pulling up sore from the Swans' round 17 win over GWS. With captain Josh Kennedy (hamstring), Callum Sinclair (ankle) and Sam Naismith (knee) also struggling after finishing last week's game hurt, there could be multiple changes for the trip to Geelong. Kurt Tippett is likely first in line should any of Sydney's talls not get up after he booted five goals a fortnight ago before last week's NEAFL bye. John Longmire has plenty of other options in the reserves, with Jordan Dawson, Aliir Aliir, Harry Marsh, Oliver Florent and Jeremy Laidler all in form and ready to step up if they get the call. - Adam Curley 

The Eagles have a number of players under injury clouds ahead of an 'eight-point' game against St Kilda. Nathan Vardy missed the Lions win due to a sore glute and isn't certain to be fit to give Drew Petrie some ruck assistance, although speedster Lewis Jetta (calf) should be available. A quad issue kept retiring veteran Matt Priddis out and, although Adam Simpson didn't guarantee he would slot straight back into the line-up, the Brownlow medallist should be "pretty close" to returning. East Perth got up for a tight win over Claremont with Sharrod Wellingham (22 disposals) among the better AFL-listed performers. Jonathan Giles (41 hit-outs) or Fraser McInnes (15 disposals) might come into consideration if the Eagles need more tall timber to support Petrie. Youngsters Tom Cole and Kurt Mutimer have been on the fringes lately, while Chris Masten found a lot of the ball (38 touches) for the Royals, although his disposal efficiency was questionable. - Travis King 

After announcing his retirement Matt Priddis will be hungry for a few games. Picture: AFL Photos

With a long injury list, Luke Beveridge doesn't have much in reserve ahead of the clash with the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba. One decision the coach will have to make is whether Travis Cloke retains his spot with Jack Redpath available after a one-week suspension. Beveridge said last week he could see both key forwards playing in the same side. Tough midfielder Mitch Honeychurch should be available for selection after being a late withdrawal from the win over Essendon due to illness, but it would be hard to drop his replacement Lukas Webb following his two-goal performance. Veteran Matthew Boyd could also be considered, but the defender didn't play at any level on the weekend as he was the standby player for the senior side. The 34-year-old is likely to play in the VFL again. First-year ruckman Tim English should be available after being cleared if a facial injury sustained in the VFL. - Ryan Davidson