Dylan Shiel, Dom Sheed, Mitch Lewis. Pictures: AFL Photos

WHO IS a chance to play in round six?

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 R6 ins and outs. Check it out.

A one-match suspension for midfielder Matt Crouch should open the door for substitute Sam Berry to play a full game after being injected with maximum impact against Carlton on Saturday. Berry had nine disposals, four score involvements and a match-winning goal in his fourth-quarter cameo, with the inside midfielder the perfect replacement for Crouch. Luke Pedlar (18 disposals, five clearances and six inside 50s in the SANFL) is another option with power and speed, while Daniel Curtin (20 and five rebounds) keeps producing at the lower level. Change won't be extensive after the Crows' first win of the season, but midfielder Billy Dowling (23 and six clearances) has put in excellent back-to-back performances in the SANFL to apply selection pressure. Elliott Himmelberg played as a forward-ruck in the SANFL, potentially giving the match committee a look at how he could support Reilly O'Brien. – Nathan Schmook

R5 sub: Sam Berry (replaced Lachlan Gollant) 


The Lions will be bolstered by the availability of dashing defender Conor McKenna who has recovered after three weeks absent with a hamstring problem. Facing Geelong on Saturday night followed by Greater Western Sydney in Canberra just five days later, Brisbane must decide whether they want McKenna back in immediately or prove himself in the VFL before facing the Giants. James Tunstill was the unused sub last week and is knocking the door down, while Deven Robertson had 33 disposals and kicked a goal in the VFL and is a half-forward/midfield option. – Michael Whiting

R5 sub: James Tunstill (unused)

The Blues will lose Adam Saad (hamstring) for the next six weeks, while Adam Cerra (hamstring) and Mitch McGovern (hamstring) will likely miss a fortnight. Caleb Marchbank (back) had appeared a replacement option for McGovern, but will miss again. It could put Lewis Young (19 disposals, 10 marks in the VFL) in the frame to feature against the unbeaten Giants on Saturday. Lachie Cowan (24 disposals, eight marks) will be considered to replace Saad, as will Alex Cincotta despite being managed from the VFL last week. Jaxon Binns (25 disposals, one goal) could also be a chance to make his AFL debut in a team that could be missing 14 playersDom Akuei (concussion), Matt Carroll (groin), David Cuningham (calf), Sam Docherty (knee), Lachie Fogarty (wrist), Jack Martin (hamstring), Jack Silvagni (knee) and Billy Wilson (concussion) will also be unavailable. – Riley Beveridge

R5 sub: Jack Carroll (replaced Adam Saad)


Scott Pendlebury will need to prove his fitness later in the week after fracturing his rib before the bye, potentially opening the door for a midfielder to replace him on Saturday. After being subbed in and out of three AFL games to start 2024, Fin Macrae played his first full game since the pre-season and fired in the VFL, amassing 31 disposals, 11 tackles and six clearances at Ikon Park on Sunday. Lachie Sullivan was deployed off half-back and finished with 21 touches, where Oleg Markov also played well. Former first-round pick Ed Allan is still hunting a debut but showed more signs of growth in the VFL. Joe Richards was quieter after a strong start to the VFL season. – Josh Gabelich

R4 sub: Steele Sidebottom (replaced Scott Pendlebury)


The Bombers will have to make one forced change after an impressive win over the Western Bulldogs last week. Small forward Jye Menzie (four disposals) was substituted and is set to miss at least the next fortnight due to a shoulder injury. The sub in Essendon's past three games, Nick Hind could be given a chance to start in the 22. Alwyn Davey jnr (nine disposals and a goal) was solid and led the Bombers for pressure acts against the Bulldogs. Dylan Shiel made a strong return from injury in the VFL, with 18 disposals and six clearances, while Elijah Tsatas had 14 touches and four clearances before being rested for the second half. – Dejan Kalinic

R5 sub: Nick Hind (replaced Jye Menzie)


Ruckman Sean Darcy was close to being declared fit last week after flying into Adelaide so should return from a knee injury for Saturday night's Derby, allowing the Dockers to inject Luke Jackson into their forward line. Michael Frederick is expected to recover from a minor hamstring complaint and is an automatic inclusion against West Coast if he does. The loss of Sam Switkowski to concussion could open the door for Cooper Simpson to make a Derby debut coming off a week sidelined with illness. A cautious approach appears likely with defender Heath Chapman as he builds match minutes in the WAFL, rather than returning quickly to AFL level after hamstring issues. – Nathan Schmook 

R5 sub: Neil Erasmus (replaced Jaeger O'Meara)

Having adopted a conservative approach to Patrick Dangerfield's hamstring tweak ahead of round five, the Cats will welcome their skipper back for the trip to the Gabba to face Brisbane. He will be joined by Tom Hawkins and Jake Kolodjashnij (both managed), while Gary Rohan is also available for selection after a successful return via the VFL, although he may remain at state league level after a quiet five-disposal first outing. Mitch Hardie continues to rack up possessions, collecting 30 disposals and two goals in a 63-point VFL win over the Northern Bullants, while Mitch Knevitt (23 disposals, one goal) also had a productive day. – Michael Rogers

R5 sub: Jhye Clark (replaced Mark Blicavs)

Gary Rohan during Geelong's training session at GMHBA Stadium on March 6, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Could we see another Academy debutant on Sunday when the Suns travel to Sydney to face the Swans? With Malcolm Rosas jnr (hamstring) missing through injury, the No.14 pick from last year's AFL Draft, Jake Rogers, is right in the frame to play his first game. Competition is stiff in that part of the ground though, with Ben Long kicking five goals in the VFL last weekend and Darcy Macpherson already showing he can do the job in that role. If Damien Hardwick decided on another shuffle elsewhere, Rory Atkins put his hand up with 37 disposals at the lower level last weekend. – Michael Whiting

R5 sub: David Swallow (replaced Malcolm Rosas jnr)


The unbeaten Giants will be forced into at least two changes ahead of Saturday's clash with the Blues. Sam Taylor (concussion) won't play, with Nick Haynes a potential replacement option down back. Leek Aleer could also be considered. Stephen Coniglio (knee) will miss the next fortnight, but Callan Ward (33 disposals, 12 clearances) dominated in the VFL last week after recovering from a shoulder injury and seems an obvious inclusion. Harry Rowston (30 disposals, four clearances) was also among the best at VFL level. The attack looks settled, but Darcy Jones (22 disposals, two goals) continues to stake his claim for an AFL debut. Max Gruzewski (13 disposals, four goals) and Conor Stone (18 disposals, three goals) were also good in the reserves. – Riley Beveridge

R5 sub: James Peatling (replaced Sam Taylor)


Sam Mitchell is set to make some changes this weekend after a bad loss to Gold Coast on Saturday night. Luke Breust won't be available against North Melbourne on Sunday and will miss another fortnight, while Changkuoth Jiath is will be available for selection, although the Hawks will manage his minutes in the VFL. Mitch Lewis is pushing to play but will need to prove his fitness later in the week. Harry Morrison collected 21 touches and laid seven tackles in the VFL, while Jack Gunston finished with 2.2 from 17 disposals in his second game for Box Hill. – Josh Gabelich

R5 sub: Henry Hustwaite (replaced Cam Mackenzie)


The Kangas are hopeful that Cam Zurhaar (calf) will return ahead of a winnable clash against the Hawks on Sunday, but he'll face a fitness test later this week. Miller Bergman (jaw) and Liam Shiels (calf) could also feature, but Kallan Dawson (ankle) will be sidelined for at least the next fortnight. It should mean that Charlie Comben and Biggy Nyuon retain their places in the backline, with Griffin Logue (knee) still two months away from a comeback. Will Phillips (21 disposals, 13 tackles) and Curtis Taylor (17 disposals, two goals) were among the best in the VFL last weekend and could be considered, as the club looks to secure its first win of the season. – Riley Beveridge

R5 sub: Charlie Lazzaro (replaced Colby McKercher)

Cam Zurhaar celebrates a goal during North Melbourne's clash against Fremantle in round two, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

After sneaking over the line against Fremantle at the weekend, it's unlikely Ken Hinkley will make many changes for Saturday's contest at the MCG against premier Collingwood. Veteran Travis Boak missed the win over the Dockers with a back injury and will be available, while Francis Evans and Trent McKenzie performed well in the SANFL to keep their names in front of Hinkley should any mishaps occur at training during the week. – Michael Whiting

R5 sub: Jackson Mead (replaced Jed McEntee)

Travis Boak warms up ahead of the match between Port Adelaide and Essendon at Adelaide Oval in R4, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Star key forward Max King will need to prove his fitness this week after hurting his knee in Canberra last weekend. Zak Jones produced a strong response after being dropped, amassing 31 disposals and five clearances for Sandringham. Arie Schoenmaker continues to accumulate plenty of ball in the VFL, collecting 32 touches and eight marks to press his case for a debut. Dougal Howard made a successful return in the VFL and could be considered against the Western Bulldogs. – Josh Gabelich

R5 sub: Hugo Garcia (replaced Dan Butler)


Luke Parker is still at least a week away from returning from injury, so the Swans could well be unchanged from the side that beat West Coast in Gather Round. John Longmire opted against a tall reinforcement against the Eagles to replace Dane Rampe in defence, although Gold Coast's dangerous forward line could force a re-think and put Joel Hamling in the frame for a club debut. Pressure forward Sam Wicks could also be considered again after spending time away from the club due to a personal dispute with a teammate, although competition for spots is hot in a side that is 5-1 and has a relatively healthy list. – Martin Smith

R4 sub: Caleb Mitchell (replaced Taylor Adams)

Joel Hamling at Sydney training on December 4, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Premiership forward Liam Ryan is pushing to be available to play his first AFL game in more than 12 months after suffering a serious hamstring injury in the round three Derby last season. Ryan played as a half-back in his WAFL return, prompting intrigue about the role he will play if selected for Saturday night's Derby. The loss of Luke Edwards (concussion) has given the Eagles plenty else to ponder as up to five midfielders push for Derby selection. Premiership hero Dom Sheed could return, but his role will be interesting after the Eagles built a strong centre square mix in recent weeks. Clay Hall (15 disposals and a goal) and Harvey Johnston (13 and two) are options to debut, but Zane Trew (24 and one) is probably pushing the strongest case of the trio to replace Edwards. Andrew Gaff is also available and played an important role in the Eagles' WAFL win. – Nathan Schmook 

R5 sub: Ryan Maric, (replaced Luke Edwards)


Luke Beveridge will be forced to make at least one change ahead of Thursday night's clash against St Kilda after Tom Liberatore entered concussion protocols over the weekend. Off-season signing James Harmes fired for Footscray again, accumulating 34 disposals and six clearances, while Riley Garcia finished with 35 touches to continue his blistering run of form. All-Australian Caleb Daniel finished with 26 disposals after being dropped and could earn a recall. Arty Jones kicked three goals under the roof at Marvel Stadium. – Josh Gabelich

R5 sub: Bailey Dale (replaced Ryley Sanders)