Gary Rohan, Harley Reid, Tom Liberatore. Pictures: AFL Photos

WHO IS a chance to play in round eight?

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 R8 ins and outs. Check it out.

The Crows have confirmed that prized draftee Daniel Curtin will make a Showdown debut after another impressive SANFL performance with a team-high 31 disposals, seven marks and a goal. Pick No.8 in last year's AFL Draft, the young gun has the ability to play as a key defender, half-back or even up the ground if needed. The Crows face at least one forced change after a shoulder injury to Luke Pedlar, with midfielder Sam Berry among the options to replace him after overcoming a foot issue. Experienced backman Brodie Smith will push his case after recovering from a back injury, with fellow defender Jordon Butts a potential inclusion after missing two matches with a hamstring injury. Forward Lachlan Murphy will also be in the mix after playing in the SANFL following a month-long lay-off because of a knee injury. – Nathan Schmook

R7 sub: Ned McHenry (replaced Luke Pedlar)


The Lions will likely make at least two changes to face Gold Coast in Sunday night's QClash with ruckman Oscar McInerney expected to return from concussion and someone needed to come in for Cal Ah Chee (hamstring). James Tunstill could be upgraded from the sub role, while untried Bruce Reville has performed well in the VFL, as has wingman Harry Sharp. Last year's No.31 draft pick Logan Morris has also made a strong impression at the lower level and could be considered if the Lions want to change their forward mix. – Michael Whiting

R7 sub: James Tunstill (replaced Callum Ah Chee)

Luke Jackson and Oscar McInerney compete in the ruck during Fremantle's clash against Brisbane in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues will put Adam Cerra (hamstring) and David Cuningham (calf) through fitness tests later this week before determining their availability to take on the Pies on Friday night. Orazio Fantasia (illness) is also no certainty to return. Mitch McGovern (hamstring) should make his comeback next week. Lachie Fogarty (wrist), Caleb Marchbank (back), Jack Martin (hamstring), Jesse Motlop (hamstring) and Adam Saad (hamstring) should make staggered returns over the next month. Only three senior-listed players featured in a 101-point VFL loss over the weekend, with none of them – Harry Lemmey, Ashton Moir or Billy Wilson – having AFL experience. It highlights the extent of the side's injury issues and makes selection difficult to determine. – Riley Beveridge

R7 sub: Jaxon Binns (replaced Matthew Owies)

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

Craig McRae might be forced to make a couple of changes ahead of Friday night with Jordan De Goey and Tom Mitchell both under injury clouds this week. Steele Sidebottom also struggled to back up off a short turnaround. Fin Macrae has banked three strong full games in the VFL and is ready for another senior opportunity, averaging 29 disposals and eight tackles since being dropped. SSP signing Lachie Sullivan is also an option who will come under proper consideration. Ash Johnson returned to form with two goals from 20 disposals and eight marks, playing a variety of roles. Reef McInnes was quiet after being dropped from the 23, while Oleg Markov was included in the 26-man squad on Anzac Day. – Josh Gabelich

R7 sub: Harvey Harrison (replaced Tom Mitchell)

Fin Macrae is tackled by Elijah Tsatas during Collingwood's clash with Essendon in VFL round five, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Bombers face some tough selection calls ahead of a trip to Perth to take on West Coast. Archie Perkins could be available following his hamstring injury, needing just to get through training this week. Forward Harry Jones is fit to play after being cleared of structural damage following a knock to his face in the draw on Anzac Day. Matt Guelfi returned from a calf injury in the VFL and had 16 disposals and kicked a goal, while Elijah Tsatas (40 disposals and five clearances) and Dylan Shiel (24 and a goal) continued to stake their claims for senior recalls. Essendon is unbeaten in its past three matches so may be reluctant to change too much ahead of taking on the Eagles. – Dejan Kalinic

R7 sub: Nick Hind (replaced Harry Jones)


Important small forward Sam Switkowski was held back in round seven after hoping to emerge from concussion protocols and will need to get through training this week to take his place against Richmond. Key forward Jye Amiss is also aiming to return after suffering concussion in round six, although an impressive debut from Pat Voss could allow the club to be conservative with his return. The Dockers could opt to go smaller in defence after losing key defender Josh Draper to a hamstring injury, with Karl WornerCorey Wagner and Ethan Hughes all options. Hugh Davies is a potential tall replacement. Half-forward Cooper Simpson impressed on debut and will give the match committee plenty to ponder when deciding on a substitute. – Nathan Schmook 

R7 sub: Cooper Simpson (replaced Josh Draper)


Veteran forward Gary Rohan is belting the door down for a return, adding another four goals in the Cats' big VFL win over Coburg last weekend to take his tally to seven in the past two games. Shannon Neale also booted 3.2 from 16 disposals and 10 marks to keep the heat on veteran Tom Hawkins, who has gone three games without a goal – his longest drought in almost five years. Toby Conway (20 disposals, 28 hitouts, three goals) could come in for Rhys Stanley in the ruck, while Mitch Hardie and Mitch Knevitt impressed in midfield, where coach Chris Scott will need to find a replacement for injured skipper Patrick Dangerfield, who's out for a least a month after another hamstring injury. Star defender Tom Stewart is expected back from concussion after missing round seven against the Blues.  – Michael Rogers

R7 sub: Tom Atkins (replaced Patrick Dangerfield)


Fresh off beating West Coast, you'd expect Damien Hardwick to keep a relatively settled line-up to face Brisbane on Sunday night. Young key position talent Ethan Read was rested against the Eagles and would be expected to return to play in his first QClash. Ben Long has been shining in the VFL, kicking another three goals at the weekend, while Joel Jeffrey has also strung together some nice football. Bodhi Uwland was dropped last week, but should be considered to defend one of the Lions' dangerous small forwards. – Michael Whiting

R7 sub: David Swallow (replaced Bailey Humphrey)

Ethan Read celebrates a goal during the round five match between Gold Coast and Hawthorn at People First Stadium, on April 13, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

The Giants are hopeful that Stephen Coniglio (knee) and Sam Taylor (concussion) both feature in Saturday's derby against the Swans, but both will need to pass fitness tests later in the week. Toby Greene (suspension) will return to the team, while Brent Daniels will likely come into the 22 after he was an unused sub in the last match having dealt with knee soreness. Isaac Cumming (21 disposals, eight marks) made a promising return from calf and quad injuries in the VFL last weekend. Down back both Nick Haynes (36 disposals, 17 marks) and Josh Fahey (39 disposals, 10 marks) pressed their cases for recalls at reserves level. As did Conor Stone (17 disposals, six clearances, three goals) and Max Gruzewski (11 disposals, three goals) in forward roles. Keep an eye on young ruck Nick Madden (31 disposals, 33 hitouts, 14 clearances, eight tackles), who dominated in the VFL over the weekend. He could get more opportunity given the absence of Braydon Preuss (hamstring) over the next month. – Riley Beveridge

R7 sub: Brent Daniels (unused)


Mitch Lewis missed again on the weekend, despite being named to play. The Hawks were hopeful the key forward would be available for selection against the Western Bulldogs, especially with Mabior Chol being offered a one-game suspension, but Lewis has been ruled out of the clash, making it five games on the sidelines. Massimo D'Ambrosio was managed against Sydney and should return. Henry Hustwaite was busy at Box Hill, collecting 22 touches and seven tackles, while Josh Ward finished with 21 disposals. Sam Mitchell may consider another key defender to help Hawthorn’s defence, with SSP signing Ethan Phillips performing in the reserves. Calsher Dear has kicked 9.9 across his past four games in the VFL but might need more time before a debut, while Chad Wingard is still a few weeks away despite making a successful return from a ruptured Achilles. – Josh Gabelich

R7 sub: Max Ramsden (replaced Jai Serong)

Henry Hustwaite and coach Sam Mitchell after Hawthorn's win over North Melbourne in round six, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

The Demons had no fresh injury concerns out of round seven so won't be forced into any changes, but there's plenty of in-form players at VFL level if they want to shake things up a bit. Shane McAdam starred in his first hitout for Casey with three majors and could be an option for the Demons in attack, while tall forward Josh Schache also kicked three goals and was strong in the air (10 marks). It might be hard to displace four-gamer Daniel Turner after his surprise move forward against Richmond on Anzac Day Eve yielded three goals, while Bailey Laurie should get another chance after kicking two final-quarter goals against the Tigers, having come on as the sub. Harrison Petty is badly out of form and could drop to the lower level to find some touch after kicking just one goal from five games and having a combined eight disposals from his past two outings. Defender Adam Tomlinson (37 disposals, 15 marks) was best on ground for Casey and is pushing hard for another chance at the top level, while fellow defender Marty Hore had 19 touches in his first game back from a thumb injury. - Alison O'Connor

R7 sub: Bailey Laurie (replaced Caleb Windsor)


The Kangaroos will need to make a call on co-captain Jy Simpkin (quad) ahead of Saturday's clash with the Saints, after he pulled up sore this week. However, Eddie Ford (hip) is available again and should return to the team. Curtis Taylor (25 disposals, 14 marks, one goal) could be an option having impressed in the VFL. Toby Pink (17 disposals, eight marks) put his hand up for a defensive recall, while Tyler Sellers (11 disposals, seven marks, three goals) responded well in the reserves. Finnbar Maley (17 disposals, 12 hitouts, two goals) is a raw talent, but has shown a bit at VFL level. Young pair Wil Dawson (shoulder) and Cooper Harvey (syndesmosis) should return through the VFL this week, but luckless duo Hamish Free (concussion) and Brayden George (shoulder) are set for a period on the sidelines. – Riley Beveridge

R7 sub: Zac Fisher (replaced Will Phillips)

Jy Simpkin and Jack Ginnivan compete for the ball during the match between North Melbourne and Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium in round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Injuries hit Port hard last week, with Aliir Aliir (concussion) and Sam Powell-Pepper (knee) certain to miss Thursday night's Showdown against Adelaide. In good news, skipper Connor Rozee (hamstring) is fit to play. Veteran Tom Clurey and experienced Ryan Burton were held out of the SANFL at the weekend with the short turnaround and shape as good defensive cover, while Jed McEntee and Francis Evans shape as ideal pressure players who could replace Powell-Pepper. Jeremy Finlayson has also served his three-match suspension and is available should Ken Hinkley decide one of his key forwards needs a rest. – Michael Whiting

R7 sub: Jackson Mead (replaced Aliir Aliir)

Ryan Burton in action during Port Adelaide's clash against Fremantle in round five, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Jayden Short (calf) will be a welcome return, while Jacob Hopper (hamstring) will come out of the side. Draftee Kane McAuliffe was held out of the VFL game as an emergency for the seniors, while Tyler Sonsie (rarely used as a midfielder at AFL level) dominated Casey with 32 disposals and 10 clearances. The winger permutations are interesting, with Adem Yze last week opting to deploy Marlion Pickett as a tagger and shunting Kamdyn McIntosh to the sub. Hugo Ralphsmith played one of his better games on the wing, so if space on the outside is needed for Short, one of McIntosh or Sam Banks could make way. Given Fremantle plays two genuine rucks, it'd be surprising if Yze swapped out Sam Naismith for Jacob Koschitzke, despite the latter kicking four goals in the VFL. – Sarah Black

R7 sub: Kamdyn McIntosh (replaced Jacob Hopper)

Jayden Short celebrates a goal during the R3 match between Richmond and Sydney at the MCG on March 31, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Ross Lyon will need to make at least one change with Jack Higgins copping a three-game suspension for a dangerous tackle on Aliir Aliir. Lance Collard kicked 2.2 for Sandringham and could be back in the frame after being in the 26 against Port Adelaide. Jack Hayes put his hand up for another AFL shot after kicking 3.2 and six marks against the Northern Bullants. Paddy Dow got through his first game and collected 22 touches. Zak Jones responded to being dropped again with 30 disposals and nine clearances. Draftees Arie Schoenmaker and Angus Hastie were both busy at Trevor Barker Oval to remain in the mix. Jimmy Webster is available for selection after serving his seven-game suspension for a high bump on Roos captain Jy Simpkin. – Josh Gabelich

R7 sub: Angus Hastie (replaced Cooper Sharman)


The Swans may be faced with two difficult decisions ahead of Saturday's Sydney derby, with Luke Parker set to return from injury and Dane Rampe a chance to join him. Both will train this week before a final call on their fitness is made on Thursday. Braeden Campbell, the sub in the past two weeks, is in desperate need of some game time and looks likely to drop down to the VFL, while versatile tall Robbie Fox could be the unlucky one to miss out if Rampe is fit to play. Will Hayward is among a few players managing niggles in the six-day break, but there are no major injury concerns from the win over the Hawks. - Martin Smith

R7 sub: Braeden Campbell (replaced Justin McInerney)


The Eagles have confirmed that young star Harley Reid will return against Essendon on Saturday night after being managed and returning home for a quick visit with family and friends. Key defender Tom Barrass has served his one-match suspension and will face the Bombers, potentially costing an unlucky Harry Edwards who stepped in well against Gold Coast. Small forward Noah Long was sidelined in round seven because of a hip injury and will push to return. Premiership midfielder Dom Sheed has been the Eagles' substitute the past two weeks. – Nathan Schmook 

R7 sub: Dom Sheed (replaced Campbell Chesser)

Dom Sheed in action during the match between Gold Coast and West Coast at People First Stadium in round seven, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Tom Liberatore is expected to return after missing the past fortnight, firstly due to concussion protocols before gastro in Perth ruled him out on Saturday night. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is also set to play for the first time in a fortnight after a personal matter sidelined him. With Cody Weightman injured and Rhylee West suspended, Luke Beveridge might need a small forward and consider Arthur Jones, who has kicked six goals in the VFL this season. Ryley Sanders played a VFL practice match after being dropped for the Fremantle game. – Josh Gabelich

R7 sub: Caleb Daniel (replaced Cody Weightman)

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan at Western Bulldogs training on April 24, 2024. Picture: Western Bulldogs