(L-R): Zac Williams, Ash Johnson and Kai Lohmann. Picture: AFL Photos

WHO IS a chance to play in Opening Round?

In this week's In the Mix we find the players who are giving their selectors plenty of food for thought.

Who's going out, who's sore, who is under the pump? Our reporters attempt to pick all the OR ins and outs. Check it out.

Not a lot of difficult decisions for the settled Lions. After off-season wrist surgery, Deven Robertson will likely miss from last year’s Grand Final team, with Kai Lohmann and Jimmy Tunstill pushing hard for a utility spot. Darcy Gardiner has been deployed forward for the entire pre-season and looks like starting there against Carlton, while Jimmy Madden and Jaxon Prior are also in the running to replace Conor McKenna (hamstring), who is still another week away. – Michael Whiting

Deven Robertson during Brisbane's game against Collingwood in R23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues will finally welcome back Zac Williams after a year on the sidelines with a knee injury. It eases some selection concerns in the backline, with Jacob Weitering (calf) and Caleb Marchbank (illness) both set to miss. That should mean Brodie Kemp and Lewis Young anchor the defensive unit. A toe injury to Jesse Motlop should open the door for Orazio Fantasia's club debut. He could be joined by fellow potential debutant Ashton Moir in attack, especially with Jack Martin (knee) absent for the opening fortnight and if Corey Durdin (hamstring) and Matt Owies (calf) don't get up. Sam Walsh (back) will miss, which will open more midfield minutes for Ollie Hollands and Sam Docherty. New recruit Elijah Hollands is suspended and will be unavailable, otherwise would be a walk-up start. The Blues will ponder whether Marc Pittonet plays, or if Harry McKay is used as a second ruck. - Riley Beveridge

Zac Williams during Carlton's training session at Ikon Park on September 2, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Will Jeremy Howe's absence on Saturday night open the door for a long-awaited debut? Charlie Dean is not a like-for-like replacement, but the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medallist is in the frame after banking a pre-season and impressing last week. Fin Macrae should be rewarded after taking the next step over the summer. Ash Johnson and Reef McInnes have been hunting Dan McStay's spot all pre-season and both produced eye-catching moments. John Noble was squeezed out of the side last September but has been impressive across the practice match block. Pat Lipinski has reclaimed his spot in the best 22 after a strong summer. Lachie Schultz will slot straight in after being recruited in October. - Josh Gabelich

Charlie Dean in action during the AAMI Community Series match between Collingwood and Richmond at Ikon Park on February 27, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Two pre-season losses have left coach Damien Hardwick with a few tricky decisions ahead of the Opening Round against Richmond. Connor Budarick has earned his spot in defence, doing enough to edge Bodhi Uwland, while Tom Berry might have done enough at the other end of the ground as a small pressure forward alongside Nick Holman and Darcy Macpherson. Mac Andrew has proven himself in defence but played inside the forward 50 against Greater Western Sydney and could be deployed at either end. – Michael Whiting

Connor Budarick kicks the ball during round 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

The Giants will be without both Finn Callaghan (shoulder) and Harry Perryman (hamstring) for their Opening Round clash, having initially hoped both would recover from summer setbacks in time. It should mean that Nick Haynes will play in a defensive role, while Josh Kelly is likely to spend more time as an inside midfielder. Isaac Cumming (quad) will also be absent, opening the door for Jacob Wehr to win a spot on the wing. Former No.1 pick Aaron Cadman should play, having enjoyed a standout pre-season, while there could be an AFL debut for Academy graduate Harvey Thomas. Small forward Darcy Jones would be in contention for his first senior appearance, but is dealing with a minor knee injury. - Riley Beveridge

Aaron Cadman poses during Greater Western Sydney's 2024 team photo day at the VAILO Community Centre. Picture: AFL Photos

Clayton Oliver has put a tumultuous off-season behind him and is a confirmed starter for the Demons' Opening Round clash against Sydney, while exciting No.7 pick Caleb Windsor, young defender Blake Howes and recruit Jack Billings have all been named to make their Demons debut. Harrison Petty (toe) has been ruled out of the season opener but could be available as soon as round two, while Kysaiah Pickett will miss the first game through suspension. Premiership forwards Charlie Spargo (Achilles) and Ben Brown (knee) have passed their respective fitness tests but are unlikely to step straight back into the top side, having missed the practice match block. - Alison O'Connor

Clayton Oliver in action at Melbourne training on March 4, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Dustin Martin is touch and go for Opening Round after suffering a corky at training on Tuesday, with the club to monitor the Brownlow medallist closely throughout the week. Toby Nankervis (foot) has been ruled out, and but with the preferred ruck structure of new coach Adem Yze still unknown, Samson Ryan could be joined in the side by Sam Naismith making his long-awaited return to football. Nick Vlastuin missed the practice match through load management but should play, while young midfielder Thomson Dow looks likely to start after Jack Graham's quad injury. Potential debutants Steely Green and Seth Campbell are the favourites for the small pressure forward role, but it would be a surprise if both are selected. Tom Lynch has been ruled out, but Dion Prestia (hamstring) is right to go. – Sarah Black

Dustin Martin is tackled by Oleg Markov during the AAMI Community Series match between Richmond and Collingwood at Ikon Park on February 27, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

After being rested for the Swans' practice match against Brisbane, Chad Warner and Tom Papley will feature in Opening Round, while Taylor Adams and Luke Parker will miss after suffering injuries during the pre-season hitouts. Peter Ladhams is in the frame for a spot in the forward line after a strong showing against the Lions, while off-season recruit James Jordon looks set for a club debut in Opening Round, as is Brodie Grundy. John Longmire may send a midfielder back to combat Melbourne's forward line, with Matt Roberts the likely candidate. - Sophie Welsh