Dustin Martin, Steven May and Jason Horne-Francis. Pictures: AFL Photos

WHO IS a chance to play in round four?

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

GATHER ROUND 2024 All you need to know about the Festival of Footy in SA

Who's going out, who's sore, who is under the pump? Our reporters attempt to pick all the R4 ins and outs. Check it out.

The Crows will have two forced changes this week and potentially more after a third straight defeat. A season-ending knee injury for half-back Wayne Milera could open the door for the flexible Luke Nankervis (26 disposals and 10 marks in the SANFL), who has shown promise as a young rebounding defender. Prized draftee Dan Curtin (18 and 10) is edging towards a debut, while fellow defender Jordon Butts will be available if he passes a fitness test for his ankle injury. Substitute Lachlan Murphy (knee) will not be available, opening the door for midfielder Sam Berry to potentially return. Another who could be considered is SANFL standout Billy Dowling (34 disposals and nine inside 50s), who did not debut in his first season at the club. – Nathan Schmook 

R3 sub: Lachlan Murphy (replaced Luke Pedlar)


After three straight losses to start their season, does Lions coach Chris Fagan stick with what and who he knows, or make some changes ahead of facing North Melbourne on Friday at Norwood Oval? Darcy Gardiner played in the VFL last Friday and is a chance to return, while Jimmy Tunstill continued to press his claims with 26 disposals. Draftee Logan Morris is young, but again impressed with three goals, while Jaxon Prior and Jimmy Madden are also not without a chance. – Michael Whiting

R3 sub: Kai Lohmann (replaced Deven Robertson)

Darcy Gardiner in action during Brisbane's clash against Carlton in Opening Round, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues will need to replace Caleb Marchbank (concussion), who has entered the AFL's protocols. Lewis Young (18 disposals, five marks) will be an option after he impressed at VFL level last Friday, while Brodie Kemp (19 disposals, eight marks, one goal) was also good but spent large periods playing forward. Marc Pittonet (25 disposals, 12 clearances, one goal) was among the best, leaving coach Michael Voss with an interesting selection conundrum given Tom De Koning's success playing as a sole ruck. David Cuningham (calf), Jack Martin (hamstring) and Jesse Motlop (hamstring) are all expected to miss multiple weeks, while Sam Walsh (back) could return as soon as the club returns from Gather Round. – Riley Beveridge

R3 sub: Orazio Fantasia (replaced Corey Durdin)

Marc Pittonet and Max Gawn contest the ruck during Carlton's clash against Melbourne in the AAMI Community Series on February 28, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

SSP signing Lachie Sullivan is edging closer towards a long-awaited AFL debut after banking another strong showing in the VFL. The former Footscray captain amassed 32 touches and nine clearances against Brisbane, after being named as an emergency last Thursday night. Harvey Harrison also kept his name in contention by finishing with 23 disposals, nine tackles and a goal. Joe Richards' blistering start to the VFL season continued with the crafty forward booting six goals a week after kicking three in round one. Oleg Markov was relatively quiet after being dropped for John Noble. Steele Sidebottom will come back in after being managed for the trip to Brisbane. – Josh Gabelich

R3 sub: Jack Crisp (replaced Fin Macrae)


The Bombers will be forced into at least one change for their Gather Round clash against Port Adelaide on Friday night, with Sam Durham (concussion) sidelined. Will Setterfield is available after being a late withdrawal for the win over St Kilda due to knee soreness. However, important defender Jordan Ridley is a week away from returning from his quad injury, while Dylan Shiel (oblique strain) is a week away from his comeback. Archie Roberts (23 disposals) was busy again at VFL level, while Elijah Tsatas had 24 disposals and five clearances, but the Bombers appear unlikely to make many changes. – Dejan Kalinic

R3 sub: Nick Hind (replaced Sam Durham)

Will Setterfield in action during the R1 match between Essendon and Hawthorn at the MCG on March 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

There is a case for the undefeated Dockers to go into Gather Round unchanged after escaping without injury concerns, but there are options if the match committee chooses to tweak the 23 around half-forward or in the midfield. Jaeger O'Meara has been the starting substitute for two weeks and may need a full game. He looked good with seven disposals after coming on for the fourth quarter against Adelaide and can go forward. Likewise midfielder Neil Erasmus (36 disposals in the WAFL), who is pushing hard for selection. Midfielder/half-forward Cooper Simpson (15 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal) looms large for a debut and would be an exciting substitute. Defender Karl Worner is due to be available after a round one concussion. – Nathan Schmook 

R3 sub: Jaeger O'Meara (replaced Tom Emmett)


After ringing five changes ahead of Easter Monday, it looms as a quieter week at match committee for Chris Scott and his coaches. Tom AtkinsJack Bowes and Tanner Bruhn all made successful playing returns against the Hawks, as did first-year midfielder George Stevens at VFL level in a 34-point loss to Box Hill. Top pick Connor O'Sullivan had seven marks, 13 disposals and six tackles in the VFL, while Mitch Hardie continued to find the footy with 22 touches and six clearances. – Michael Rogers

R3 sub: Jack Bowes (replaced Tom Atkins)

Connor O'Sullivan poses for a photo after being drafted by Geelong in the AFL Draft on November 20, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

The Suns have some serious quality in the frame to come in and face Greater Western Sydney at Mt Barker on Sunday, led by co-captain Jarrod Witts. The towering ruckman has been cleared to face the Giants after missing the last-start loss to the Western Bulldogs with a groin injury. Youngster Bailey Humphrey (shoulder) is a test after also missing the most recent match, while livewire forward Malcolm Rosas jnr is available after serving a one-match suspension. Keep an eye on draftees Jake RogersWill Graham and Ethan Read, who all impressed in the opening round of the VFL. – Michael Whiting

R2 sub: Rory Atkins (replaced Ben Long)

Reilly O'Brien and Jarrod Witts compete during Gold Coast's clash against Adelaide in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Giants will be refreshed after the bye, but are unlikely to get Callan Ward (shoulder) back just yet. He could resume action after the team's Gather Round clash against the Suns on Sunday. Nick Haynes could return, after missing the team's round two game due to the birth of his first child. He was the sub the last time he featured and could again suit up in that role. First-round pick Phoenix Gothard (illness) and experienced ruck Braydon Preuss (back) are set to make their long-awaited comebacks in the VFL this weekend. – Riley Beveridge

R2 sub: James Peatling (replaced Lachie Ash)

Nick Haynes and Brayden Maynard contest the ball during the match between Greater Western Sydney and Collingwood at Engie Stadium in Opening Round, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Max Ramsden was the holdover emergency for both the AFL and VFL teams and looms as Mitch Lewis' replacement after the key forward was ruled out of Gather Round due to a hamstring injury. Jack Gunston might also be considered after being dropped after round two. Finn Maginness collected 28 disposals against Geelong on Saturday after being dropped and seems a likely inclusion to shadow Nick Daicos on Sunday, while Seamus Mitchell is waiting in the wings for another AFL opportunity after an impressive display at GMHBA Stadium. Sam Butler booted four goals in the VFL and appears first in line to replace the injured Nick Watson (syndesmosis). Ned Reeves played in the VFL against Geelong but might struggle to regain his spot after Lloyd Meek performed well against Chris Scott’s side. – Josh Gabelich

R3 sub: Harry Morrison (replaced Henry Hustwaite)

Max Ramsden in his debut game during the R7 match between Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on April 29, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

All-Australian defender Steven May is pushing to return from broken ribs in what would be a massive boost for the Demons ahead of their Gather Round clash with Adelaide, however they will need to cover for the loss of fellow backman Marty Hore who has been ruled out with a fractured thumb. May's inclusion means swingman Harrison Petty could return to the forward line, while Adam Tomlinson was held over from the VFL and could slot into the backline in place of Hore. Bailey Laurie is a chance to earn a recall if forward Kade Chandler is unable to overcome a knee injury. Winger Lachie Hunter is expected to return via the VFL after overcoming a niggling calf injury. - Alison O'Connor

R3 sub: Taj Woewodin (replaced Jack Billings)


The Kangas will need to find a replacement for Callum Coleman-Jones (Achilles), who has undergone surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. Tyler Sellers will be one option after again impressing at VFL level, kicking three goals from 12 disposals last Friday having booted six the week before. Charlie Comben (22 disposals, 13 marks) will be another, although he's played in the backline at reserves level. Finnbar Maley (21 disposals, 13 marks, two goals) was also fantastic in the VFL, but is still raw. Curtis Taylor (back) and Riley Hardeman (concussion) will be unavailable this week, but Blake Drury (21 disposals, two goals) and Will Phillips (20 disposals, eight tackles) were among the best at VFL level. – Riley Beveridge

R3 sub: Eddie Ford (replaced Callum Coleman-Jones)

Tyler Sellers celebrates a goal during North Melbourne's clash with Richmond in VFL round 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

At least one change for Friday's match against Essendon with Jason Horne-Francis available after missing two games with a hamstring injury, while Ollie Wines will miss with the same problem. Half-back Josh Sinn impressed in the SANFL at the weekend, while Mitch Georgiades showed some promising form with three goals should Ken Hinkley wish to tinker with his forward line. – Michael Whiting

R3 sub: Jase Burgoyne (replaced Francis Evans)

Jason Horne-Francis kicks a goal during Port Adelaide's clash against West Coast in round one, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Yet another busy match committee ahead for Richmond. Tom Lynch (hamstring) and Noah Balta (knee) will miss, opening the door for one or two of Samson Ryan (three goals, 16 hitouts in the VFL), a resting ruck in Sam Naismith (two goals, 17 hitouts) or Jacob Koschitzke (12 disposals, seven marks). If Dustin Martin (calf) is fit, he could also be a smaller forward replacement option. Tom Brown would be desperately unlucky to be omitted after a strong game, but it's difficult to see just which more senior defender would make way for Dylan Grimes, if recovered from his wrist injury. Jack Graham (quad) may be the perfect replacement for Liam Baker (suspended), while draftee Kane McAuliffe continues to push for a debut, recording another 30-disposal game in the VFL. – Sarah Black

R3 sub: Sam Banks (replaced Mykelti Lefau)

Dustin Martin in action during the R2 match between Richmond and Port Adelaide at the MCG on March 24, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Ross Lyon will regain Max King for Gather Round after the star forward missed on the weekend due to suspension. Draftee Hugo Garcia continued to hunt a debut with a strong showing for Sandringham on Sunday, finishing with 22 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances against Essendon. Last year's first-round pick Lance Collard put his hand up for a recall by kicking four goals at Trevor Barker Oval. Arie Schoenmaker wasn't as busy in round two after finding plenty of the ball the previous week. Jack Hayes kicked two goals in his VFL return. – Josh Gabelich

R3 sub: Angus Hastie (replaced Cooper Sharman)


Recruit Taylor Adams is in the frame to make his Swans debut against West Coast after getting through two-and-a-half quarters in the VFL last week. Harry Cunningham is also a chance to return following a concussion, while the hamstring injury to Dane Rampe could see Aaron Francis recalled, with defensive recruit Joel Hamling sitting out the VFL last week due to illness. Robbie Fox is also an option to swing back into defence to cover the loss of Rampe. The status of Sam Wicks remains unclear after he spent time away from the club due to a personal issue with a teammate. - Martin Smith

R3 sub: Corey Warner (replaced Dane Rampe)


The Eagles need to make at least one change after half-forward recruit Tyler Brockman suffered concussion, but more are likely after a 76-point defeat. Midfield draftee Clay Hall (18 disposals) is a big-bodied youngster who could earn his debut in the coming weeks, while Tyrell Dewar (two goals) has been on the edge of selection following a period of significant improvement. Rookie Loch Rawlinson (three goals) could be the best small forward option to replace Brockman, while wingman Andrew Gaff has found form at WAFL level to put his name forward again, laying nine tackles against Swan Districts. Alex Witherden's defensive organisation has been missed since he was dropped after round one. - Nathan Schmook

R3 sub: Luke Edwards (replaced Tyler Brockman)

Andrew Gaff handballs during the match between West Coast and Fremantle at Optus Stadium in round 22, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

James Harmes was forced to come back through the VFL after serving a one-game suspension but the former Demon won't be there for too long after collecting 33 disposals, six clearances and a goal against Casey. Riley Garcia continued his fast start to the year with 31 touches, seven clearances and six tackles at Casey Fields. Rory Lobb kicked five goals from seven marks and 20 hitouts to keep the pressure on Sam Darcy. Ed Richards is expected to return after missing the Easter Sunday win over West Coast due to concussion. James O'Donnell played in the VFL again after an interrupted end to the pre-season. – Josh Gabelich

R3 sub: Caleb Poulter (replaced Tom Liberatore)