Harley Reid, Scott Pendlebury and Aaron Naughton. Pictures: AFL Photos

WHO IS a chance to play in round 16?

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 R16 ins and outs. Check it out.

Key forward Taylor Walker was not ready to resume from a back injury before the bye but is expected to face Greater Western Sydney after the extra rest. Defender Brodie Smith (knee) and key forward Elliott Himmelberg (fractured cheekbone) are also set to be available. It is too early for bulked-up forward Riley Thilthorpe as his recovery from a knee injury wraps up. The Crows are 4-9-1 and could well look to boost the experience of draftee Daniel Curtin or young midfielder Zac Taylor. Ruckman Reilly O'Brien is available and performing in the SANFL after the club opted for Kieran Strachan in recent weeks, as is forward/midfielder Luke Pedlar– Nathan Schmook    

R14 sub: Sam Berry (replaced Harry Schoenberg)

Reilly O'Brien (R) competes with Bailey Williams in the ruck during the R11 match between Kuwarna (Adelaide) and Waalitj Marawar (West Coast) at Adelaide Oval on May 26, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

All eyes are on Will Ashcroft this week with confirmation the 20-year-old is back at either AFL or VFL level following almost 12 months out of the game with a ruptured ACL. His inclusion at the top level would mean an unlucky omission for someone after the Lions' 79-point win over Port Adelaide, but the young midfielder would be hard to overlook. Harry Sharp (22 disposals and three goals) keeps putting pressure on the wing spot with strong VFL form, as does Deven Robertson (33). – Michael Whiting

Last week's sub: Shadeau Brain (replaced Kai Lohmann)

Will Ashcroft in action during the R16 match between Brisbane and Richmond at the Gabba on June 29, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues are confident Adam Cerra (hamstring) will return for Sunday's clash with the Tigers, but he will need to undergo a fitness test later this week to determine his availability. However, Matt Cottrell (foot) and Jack Martin (calf) remain the best part of a fortnight away. Marc Pittonet (24 disposals, 21 hitouts, nine clearances, one goal) was among the best in the VFL over the weekend upon returning from a finger injury, but coach Michael Voss may have doubts over messing with Tom De Koning's superb run of form as a solo ruck. Jack Carroll (24 disposals, five clearances) impressed through the midfield at reserves level, while Jesse Motlop (13 disposals, two goals) and Caleb Marchbank (19 disposals, eight marks) were solid at either end of the ground. – Riley Beveridge

Last week's sub: Corey Durdin (replaced Orazio Fantasia)


Finally, the cavalry is returning. Collingwood will regain Scott Pendlebury and Brody Mihocek for Saturday's clash against Gold Coast. Jordan De Goey is also a chance to make the trip to Queensland, while Joe Richards will need to pass a fitness test later in the week to be cleared to return. Oleg Markov missed the win over North Melbourne with a jarred back but is available to play. Ed Allan was the carryover emergency in round 14 and is on the cusp of another senior game. – Josh Gabelich

R14 sub: Reef McInnes (replaced Finlay Macrae)

Brody Mihocek in action during the match between Walyalup (Fremantle) and Collingwood at Optus Stadium in round 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Bombers face big selection decisions again for their clash against Geelong on Saturday night as they look to end a six-game losing streak to the Cats. Todd Goldstein was managed for the win over West Coast and could be recalled to play alongside Sam Draper, although forecast wet weather could change the Bombers' plans. Jade Gresham may also return after being sidelined last week due to personal reasons. Goldstein's replacement, Nate Caddy, was a good contributor in his second AFL game, kicking two goals from 11 disposals. Ben Hobbs (22 disposals, seven tackles and six clearances) impressed on return from injury in the VFL, while Will Setterfield (23, nine and seven) and Dylan Shiel (26, nine clearances and a goal) were also good as pressure builds for spots. – Dejan Kalinic

Last week's sub: Jye Menzie (replaced Nik Cox)

Todd Goldstein during an Essendon training session at The Hangar on June 6, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

The loss of captain Alex Pearce will force a change after a win against Gold Coast, with Josh Draper an option for an immediate recall after he was replaced by impressive debutant Hugh Davies. It is too soon to bring in Brennan Cox (hamstring) after managed minutes in the WAFL reserves. Defender Ethan Hughes is an under-sized but experienced option. If the Dockers get creative and move tall forwards, Pat Voss could come into the attack after four goals in the WAFL to maintain a three-pronged forward structure. Midfield change is unlikely after an excellent performance from the onballers. – Nathan Schmook    

Last week's sub: Karl Worner (replaced Alex Pearce)


Tom Hawkins' absence for at least six weeks paves the way for Shannon Neale to have an extended run in the forward line, after his three-goal, 18-disposal performance in the Cats' VFL loss to Port Melbourne. Toby Conway also impressed with 20 disposals, 38 hitouts and eight clearances and could come in to face Bomber duo Sam Draper and Todd Goldstein, after Geelong opted for Sam De Koning and Mark Blicavs in the ruck in their heavy loss to Carlton. Mitch Knevitt was among the strongest VFL onballers with 24 disposals, 10 tackles and eight clearances. - Michael Rogers

Last week's sub: Gary Rohan (replaced Oisin Mullin)


Full-forward Ben King will need to prove himself at main training on Thursday to be considered for Saturday's match against Collingwood and would be an automatic inclusion should he move well. Ethan Read (five goals) and Jed Walter (2.4) showed their wares at VFL level and could come under consideration, although Sam Day did a terrific job against Fremantle. Brayden Fiorini and Nick Holman also performed well at the lower level after being demoted and should be right in the frame. – Michael Whiting

Last week's sub: Brandon Ellis (replaced Bailey Humphrey)


The Giants are hopeful that Stephen Coniglio (shoulder) and Harry Perryman (hamstring) pass fitness tests later this week, putting them in the frame to face the Crows on Saturday night. Sam Taylor (testicle) will still be unavailable. Darcy Jones (15 disposals, six tackles, two goals) was among the best in the VFL over the weekend after making his return from a hamstring issue. Aaron Cadman (18 disposals, two goals) also responded well to losing his place in the senior side. First-round pick Phoenix Gothard (20 disposals, one goal) continues to perform, staking his claim for an AFL debut. – Riley Beveridge

Last week's sub: James Peatling (replaced Ryan Angwin)


Mitch Lewis got through his return game in the VFL before the bye and will be considered for the trip west to face West Coast on Sunday. Seamus Mitchell was squeezed out of the 23 for Nick Watson in round 14 and had 34 touches for Box Hill. Josh Ward, Harry Morrison, Finn Maginness and Henry Hustwaite all had plenty of the ball in the win over Richmond's VFL side last start, while Jai Serong finished with 18 touches and 11 marks. Jasper Scaife showed plenty in his first game for Box Hill after being picked in the AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft, kicking 3.1 from seven marks at Punt Road. – Josh Gabelich

R14 sub: Luke Breust (replaced Jack Gunston)

Mitch Lewis celebrates a goal during the round two match between Hawthorn and Melbourne at the MCG, March 23, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

A huge boost for the Demons with Jake Lever to return to help quell in-form Brisbane duo Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood. Adam Tomlinson looks the most likely to make way. Christian Salem (knee) is also expected to take his place but coach Simon Goodwin was slightly more cautious about his prospects, compared to Lever. Speedster Andy Moniz-Wakefield will make his debut as a small defender after a standout 35-disposal effort in the VFL, while last week's debutant Kynan Brown's place could hinge on Salem's fitness. Koltyn Tholstrup looks set to hold his spot after an effusive post-game review from Goodwin. Lachie Hunter is fit again but will return from his calf strain via the VFL, rather than the senior team. Young key forward Matthew Jefferson booted four goals in the VFL, taking his tally to 13 goals in the past five games and bringing himself firmly into AFL calculations in the coming weeks. – Michael Rogers

Last week's sub: Kynan Brown (replaced Christian Salem)


The Kangas should regain Kallan Dawson from a one-game suspension ahead of Saturday's clash with the Dogs, but Toby Pink (ankle) is under an injury cloud and will need to prove his fitness later this week. Colby McKercher (31 disposals, eight marks) played modified minutes in the VFL over the weekend, but is edging closer to a return, while Griffin Logue (14 disposals, seven marks) played three quarters in his comeback from an ACL injury. Robert Hansen jnr (18 disposals, four goals) and Charlie Lazzaro (31 disposals, eight clearances) were among the best at reserves level, while Jaidyn Stephenson (25 disposals, 14 marks) also produced a strong response to his dropping. Riley Hardeman (21 disposals, nine marks, one goal) was another to impress. – Riley Beveridge

Last week's sub: Dylan Stephens (replaced Toby Pink)


How deep Ken Hinkley cuts following the heavy loss to Brisbane is anyone's guess, but after falling just short of a return against the Lions, Willie Rioli (calf) will again put his hand up. Travis Boak should be available after missing through illness, while Dylan Williams was one of few to impress in the SANFL, which could make for a straight swap with injured Jase Burgoyne (hamstring). The Magpies' struggles at that level might leave Port a little short on options if they're hoping to shake things up. – Michael Whiting

Last week's sub: Quinton Narkle (replaced Brandon Zerk-Thatcher)

Willie Rioli during a Port Adelaide training session at Alberton Oval on June 24, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Richmond has just one additional player – midfielder Jacob Hopper – coming off the injury list post-bye, and is losing key forward Tom Lynch for another fortnight. With Samson Ryan (ankle) unavailable, Noah Balta is likely required up forward, opening the door for mid-season recruit Jacob Blight to slot into the backline. The 192cm Jacob Bauer is another option who has played at both ends of the field in the VFL in recent weeks. Noah Cumberland (four disposals, zero tackles) was very quiet against Hawthorn, while sub Kane McAuliffe still managed six disposals in 20 per cent game time. – Sarah Black

R14 sub: Kane McAuliffe (replaced Noah Cumberland)

Jacob Hopper in action during the R1 match between Richmond and Carlton at the MCG on March 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera will be available after missing the trip to Queensland for a personal reason. Paddy Dow, Jimmy Webster and Liam Stocker all should be right after getting an extra week off to prove their fitness ahead of round 16. Mattaes Phillipou put his hand up for an AFL recall by amassing 28 touches and eight clearances in the VFL before the bye. Mid-season recruit Max Hall kicked three goals to indicate he could get a shot in the back half of the year. Tim Membrey kicked two goals from four touches after being dropped. – Josh Gabelich

R14 sub: Zak Jones (replaced Zaine Cordy)

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera in action during the R2 match between St Kilda and Collingwood at the MCG on March 21, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

This Swans side is fit, firing and getting harder and harder to break into, but the likes of Robbie Fox, Matt Roberts and Corey Warner are pushing for recalls. Returning from a shoulder injury, Fox featured all over the ground in the VFL on Saturday, kicking 1.1 in front of goal and also picking up six clearances to go with 18 disposals, showing the versatility that has earned him the sub role in the seniors this year. Roberts enjoyed a full game for just the second time in six weeks and had 21 disposals and four clearances, which could put pressure on Braeden Campbell to hold his spot, while Warner produced a best-on-ground display with three goals, nine clearances and 25 possessions. Caiden Cleary was only given minimal game time as the sub on AFL debut against the Giants, so might head back to the twos to get a full game this weekend. - Martin Smith

Last week's sub: Caiden Cleary (replaced Lewis Melican)

Corey Warner in action during the R3 match between Sydney and Richmond at the MCG on March 31, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The midfield receives a massive boost this week when Harley Reid and Tim Kelly return from suspension and a hip injury, respectively. Their inclusion will force a shuffle in the allocation of midfield minutes after both Liam Ryan and Tyler Brockman showed good signs onball against Essendon. If the Eagles choose to tweak the ruck structure, which has been shared between Matt Fynn and Bailey Williams in recent weeks, then Jack Williams could be an option to return. Extra midfield options, if the match committee opts for a smaller line-up, include emergencies Jai Culley and Andrew Gaff and potential debutant Clay Hall– Nathan Schmook  

Last week's sub: Jack Hutchinson (replaced Ryan Maric)

Harley Reid and Tim Kelly after the R10 match between Waalitj Marawar (West Coast) and Narrm (Melbourne) at Optus Stadium on May 19, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Luke Beveridge could regain star key forward Aaron Naughton for Saturday's clash against North Melbourne. The West Australian will need to prove his fitness later in the week. Sam Darcy will return from suspension, creating a selection headache with Rory Lobb in decent form. James Harmes is pushing to be available from a hamstring strain, while Nick Coffield is on track to be available to play for the first time since undergoing a shoulder reconstruction in March. Oskar Baker, Jedd Busslinger and Lachie McNeil were all in the squad before the bye. – Josh Gabelich

R14 sub: Caleb Daniel (replaced Anthony Scott)

Aaron Naughton and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan celebrate a goal for the Western Bulldogs against Essendon in R5, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos