Dion Prestia, Ryley Sanders, Stephen Coniglio. Pictures: AFL Photos

WHO IS a chance to play in round nine?

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 R9 ins and outs. Check it out.

The Crows are building form and extensive changes are unlikely after an impressive Showdown win last Thursday night. There are options at selection, however, after some strong midfield performances in the SANFL that will keep pressure on the AFL team. Harry Schoenberg (27 disposals and seven inside 50s) stood out in full game time, while Billy Dowling (26 and eight clearances) continued what is a very good body of work now. Sam Berry (20 and seven tackles) remains a strong AFL option if change is needed, while Lachlan Gollant (five goals) is an in-form forward at state-league level. – Nathan Schmook   

R8 sub: Brodie Smith (replaced Daniel Curtin)

Lachlan Gollant kicks for goal during the R24 match between Adelaide and West Coast at Optus Stadium on August 26, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

There'll be at least four changes for the Lions' team to face Adelaide on Sunday following the weekend's QClash injury chaosCal Ah Chee is available after overcoming a hamstring problem and could fill the void left by Linc McCarthy (knee). Logan Morris did a fine job as a late replacement against the Suns and should get another opportunity in the forward line in place of Darcy Gardiner (knee). Harry Sharp did enough against the Suns to move into the 22, while Chris Fagan could go with Jimmy Tunstill, James Madden or untried Shadeau Brain as a half-back option to cover for Brandon Starcevich (calf). Brain has had an excellent run in the VFL.

R8 sub: Logan Morris (replaced Lincoln McCarthy)

Shadeau Brain in action during the VFL match between Brisbane and Williamstown at Brighton Homes Arena in round 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues could get a massive boost within their beleaguered backline ahead of Thursday night's clash against the Demons with Caleb Marchbank (back), Mitch McGovern (hamstring) and Zac Williams (glute) all a chance to feature. However, the trio will need to pass fitness tests later this week. Jack Martin (hamstring) is also on the cusp of a return. Brodie Kemp (25 disposals, 13 marks) could feature in a defensive role after impressing in the VFL, while Jaxon Binns (26 disposals, eight tackles, two goals) and Jack Carroll (23 disposals, five clearances, one goal) were also solid. Ollie Hollands was rested from both levels and will be another option to return. - Riley Beveridge

R8 sub: Matt Kennedy (replaced Zac Williams)


Craig McRae will be forced to make at least three changes to the side that beat Carlton last Friday night after Brody Mihocek strained his hamstring, Beau McCreery entered concussion protocols and Lachie Schultz accepted a one-game ban for striking. Tom Mitchell has been ruled out again, while Jordan De Goey is unlikely to be available. Collingwood need a key forward and could recall Reef McInnes after he kicked a couple of goals in the VFL, while Ash Johnson has spent time in defence in the past fortnight but could come back in as a forward. Fin Macrae and SSP signing Jack Bytel are both in form in the reserves and pushing for a spot, while Joe Richards is hunting a debut following a decent start to the VFL season. - Josh Gabelich

R8 sub: Lachie Sullivan (replaced Beau McCreery)


Midfielder Jye Caldwell (calf) will need to get through training to take his place against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday, while Sam Draper will also be tested after missing the win over West Coast due to knee soreness. Whether the Bombers return to playing two rucks is the big question ahead of facing the Giants. No VFL action last week meant Dylan Shiel and Elijah Tsatas didn't get a chance to push their cases again. Alwyn Davey jnr's spot could come under pressure after just four disposals against the Eagles, but the Bombers' balance has looked better with three small forwards. Jye Menzie (shoulder) could return, while defender Zach Reid (hamstring) is also in the frame, but that might be via the VFL. - Dejan Kalinic

R8 sub: Ben Hobbs (replaced Jye Caldwell)

Todd Goldstein (left) and Sam Draper warm up ahead of the match between the Western Bulldogs and Essendon at Marvel Stadium in round five, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The most significant change for Fremantle on a five-day break is the expected return of star midfielder Nat Fyfe to the 22 after being managed as the substitute against Richmond. Small forward Sam Switkowski is another likely inclusion if he has recovered from a concussion suffered in round five. The Dockers are preparing on a five-day break but would be reluctant to make too much change to a winning formula to accommodate fresh legs. If a senior player like Michael Walters is managed, however, Sam Sturt (four goals in the WAFL) would be an option. Inside midfielders Will Brodie and Neil Erasmus, who both had 34 disposals in the WAFL, are pushing hard for selection in a stacked midfield. – Nathan Schmook

R8 sub: Nat Fyfe (replaced Sean Darcy)


Gary Rohan is in line to play his first full AFL game of the season after being subbed on for a sore Tanner Bruhn (shoulder) in the second half against Melbourne last weekend. Bruhn remains in the frame to face Port Adelaide on Friday night if he passes a fitness test on his shoulder, while Brandan Parfitt and Mark O'Connor will be considered for recalls after being managed against the Dees. Toby Conway must also be a chance to replace veteran Rhys Stanley in the ruck, although he was rested from the VFL on Saturday. Shaun Mannagh starred with four goals from 15 touches in the Cats' big VFL win over Frankston, while first-year winger Lawson Humphries capped a fine six-week block with 27 touches in the VFL and Oisin Mullin impressed off half-back. - Michael Rogers

R8 sub: Gary Rohan (replaced Tanner Bruhn)


How hard does Damien Hardwick go at the selection table this week after his team's lifeless showing against Brisbane on Sunday? Bailey Humphrey was rested and should come back to face North Melbourne in Darwin, while Joel Jeffrey could return in front of his home fans, and help the Suns' ball movement from defence, after a strong patch in the VFL. Jy Farrar kicked five goals in just his second match back from injury, while Bodhi Uwland could also be considered to strengthen the defensive stocks.

R8 sub: Ben Long (replaced Ethan Read)


The Giants have cleared Stephen Coniglio (knee) for a return against the Bombers on Saturday, while there are high hopes Tom Green (ankle) will also be available after avoiding major damage. He'll face a fitness test later this week. Callum Brown (suspension) will miss the next three matches, meaning there's an opening in the forward line. Conor Stone (16 disposals, three goals) impressed in the VFL, while Max Gruzewski (10 disposals, three goals) is also vying for a senior debut. Harry Rowston (29 disposals, eight clearances, one goal) and Xavier O'Halloran (24 disposals, six clearances, one goal) were among the best in the VFL, while Nick Haynes (38 disposals, 14 marks) continued to stake his claim for a recall. However, Isaac Cumming (hamstring) is frustratingly expected to be sidelined for another six weeks. - Riley Beveridge

R8 sub: Harvey Thomas (replaced Tom Green)


Mitch Lewis missed a fifth game last weekend due to a knee injury and is no guarantee to return at this stage. Mabior Chol was available after serving a one-game suspension, but a wrist injury means he will be sidelined for at least one more week. Luke Breust should be available for the first time since Easter Monday. SSP signing Ethan Phillips continued his strong start to the season and could be considered for a debut after taking 15 marks against Footscray. Jai Serong also responded strongly to being dropped with 22 disposals and eight marks. Seamus Mitchell was managed and could return. - Josh Gabelich

R8 sub: Nick Watson (replaced Cam Mackenzie)

Luke Breust handballs under pressure from Zach Guthrie during the R3 match between Hawthorn and Geelong at the MCG on April 1, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Coach Simon Goodwin has confirmed fit-again defender Jake Bowey will be immediately recalled to the Demons' side to take on Carlton despite his two-month hiatus with a broken collarbone. Bowey was injured in Opening Round and underwent surgery shortly after but the club says he is ready to re-enter the fold against the Blues. Fresh off an impressive win over previously undefeated Geelong, the Demons aren't expected to make too many other changes. Bailey Laurie could be the one to make way for Bowey having started as the sub for the past two games, while Taj Woewodin and Jack Billings have both been quiet and could drop back to the VFL to find some touch. Adam Tomlinson (22 touches, eight marks, seven tackles) continues to push his case at that level for a recall, while first-round draft pick Koltyn Tholstrup (six tackles, four clearances) and father-son draftee Kynan Brown (22 touches, 10 tackles) are also putting their hands up if the Dees choose to shake things up more. - Alison O'Connor

R8 sub: Bailey Laurie (replaced Jack Billings)

Jake Bowey is tackled by James Jordon during the Opening Round match between Melbourne and Sydney at the SCG on March 7, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

The Kangaroos will consider midfield reinforcements ahead of Saturday night’s clash with the Suns after both Will Phillips (29 disposals, six clearances, six tackles, one goal) and Charlie Lazzaro (28 disposals, seven clearances, seven tackles, one goal) impressed in the VFL. Eddie Ford (18 disposals, six marks, two goals) was also among the best and could earn a recall. Jackson Archer (ankle) will face a fitness test later this week to determine his availability, while Griffin Logue (knee) and Kallan Dawson (ankle) remain sidelined in key defensive posts. – Riley Beveridge

R8 sub: Toby Pink (replaced Riley Hardeman)


There's one easy decision for Ken Hinkley this week and a couple not-so-easy ones. Aliir Aliir will come straight back in to face Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night providing there's no mishaps and he exits concussion protocols on Wednesday as the club expects. The tough call is how to replace skipper Connor Rozee, who suffered the recurrence of a hamstring problemJackson Mead could come from the substitute's and be an option with a reshuffle of positions. Josh Sinn has played well recently in the SANFL and would be an option to replace Lachie Jones (hamstring), while Jeremy Finlayson put his hand up for selection last week with four goals in the reserves.

R8 sub: Jackson Mead (replaced Connor Rozee)


The Tigers could finally be in for a selection crunch of the best kind, with Noah Balta (knee), Dion Prestia and Jack Graham (both hamstring injuries) all possible returnees. After two weeks as sub (playing a variety of roles, including makeshift key forward), it might be time for Kamdyn McIntosh to make way for one of the returning mids. Sam Banks (13 touches) and Thomson Dow (15) may also be considered omissions for those midfield roles. Sam Naismith should be the straight swap for Balta, unless Adem Yze opts for two rucks and two tall forwards, which may offer the opportunity of a week's rest for youngster and small forward Seth Campbell. - Sarah Black

R8 sub: Kamdyn McIntosh (replaced Sam Naismith)

Dion Prestia during Richmond's training session at Punt Road Oval on March 7, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Former first-round pick Lance Collard kicked three goals for Sandringham after being included in the 26-man squad against North Melbourne. Liam Henry could also be available for the first time since straining his hamstring against Collingwood in round two. Zak Jones was strong at VFL level again to keep himself in contention, while Paddy Dow got through another full game and Arie Schoenmaker remains in the hunt for a debut after collecting 27 touches at Trevor Barker Oval. - Josh Gabelich

R8 sub: Ryan Byrnes (replaced Angus Hastie)

Arie Schoenmaker kicks the ball during the VFL match between Sandringham and Collingwood at RSEA Park in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Swans will need to replace Tom McCartin for the trip to Perth to face the Dockers and there are plenty of options to consider. Aaron Francis has been in solid form in the VFL and would be a straight swap in defence, as would former Docker Joel Hamling, although he played mostly as a forward in the twos last Saturday. The versatile Robbie Fox was the sub last week but could come into the starting side as a tall defender, while the option of playing Nick Blakey as a third tall would allow a new addition further up the ground. That could well be Luke Parker, who has amassed 71 disposals in two weeks of VFL action and is pushing hard for a recall. Coach John Longmire said ruckman Peter Ladhams is also in the frame as the Swans look to counter Freo's ruck pairing of Sean Darcy and Luke Jackson, although Darcy is in some doubt due to a calf issue. - Martin Smith

R8 sub: Robbie Fox (replaced Tom McCartin)


The Eagles will be forced into at least three changes due to injury as Elliot Yeo (groin), Jake Waterman (concussion) and Noah Long (knee) nurse setbacks. Forward Ryan Maric, who missed against Essendon because of illness, will be a likely inclusion for Waterman. The Eagles will hope they can also recall defender Jayden Hunt after he missed with a knee injury. In the midfield, Zane Trew has produced the best form of the youngsters but is working through concussion protocols. Big-bodied draftee Clay Hall could be called on to debut if needed, or wingman Harvey Johnston elevated from the substitute role. Jai Culley has been building in the WAFL in his comeback from an ACL injury and spending time forward, with Tyrell Dewar a left-field option to replace Long. – Nathan Schmook 

R8 sub: Harvey Johnston (replaced Noah Long)

Jayden Hunt in action during the R5 match between West Coast and Richmond at Optus Stadium on April 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Tom Liberatore is set to be sidelined for an indefinite period due to another concussion, opening the door for top-10 pick Ryley Sanders to return after a few weeks out of the side. The Tasmanian collected 28 disposals and seven clearances in Footscray's win over Box Hill on Saturday. Caleb Daniel was also busy with 28 touches after being dropped again. Rhylee West should return from suspension. Alex Keath is an option down back if Luke Beveridge opts for more support, while former first-round pick Jedd Busslinger is building a strong base of VFL form in his second season at the Whitten Oval. - Josh Gabelich

R8 sub: Oskar Baker (replaced Charlie Clarke)