WHO IS a chance to play in round 21?

In this week's In the Mix, brought to you by the Toyota WorkHorse Range, 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 R21 ins. Check it out.

Adelaide Crows

Get them in: Defender Alex Keath is set to return for Sunday's encounter with West Coast in Perth after missing the past two games with ankle soreness. Veteran ruckman Sam Jacobs will also be in the frame for his first appearance since round two. The Crows had a bye in the SANFL last weekend, so Josh Jenkins, Paul Seedsman, Hugh Greenwood, Jordan Gallucci and Tyson Stengle couldn't push their case for selection.

Under the pump: Keath's return puts pressure on Kyle Hartigan and Andy Otten, while ruckman Reilly O'Brien might need a rest after getting through a ton of work in his breakout season.

Medical room: Keath is expected to be cleared to return.

Toyota WorkHorse VerdictTwo changes – Keath and Jacobs, for Hartigan and O'Brien. – Lee Gaskin

It's been a frustrating year for Sam Jacobs after an early season injury. Picture: AFL Photos

Brisbane Lions

Get them in: Another huge win in the NEAFL and plenty of players pressing their claims, led by Ben Keays, Ryan Bastinac, Cedric Cox and Corey Lyons.

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Under the pump: Not many dramas with seven wins on the trot. Zac Bailey showed some nice glimpses last week but would love a little more impact. His spot is safe, however.

Medical room: Captain Dayne Zorko may miss after suffering hamstring tightness in the third quarter against the Bulldogs.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict:  Just the one decision to make – who replaces Zorko if he misses? Keays has done well in his opportunities this season and is a good like-for-like replacement with his pressure and tackling. - Michael Whiting

The Lions may Dayne Zorko's leadership, class and niggle against the Suns. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: First-year defender Liam Stocker racked up 22 disposals to continue his strong return from a foot injury in the VFL, while Paddy Dow responded to his axing from the senior team with 20 disposals in a promising display for the Northern Blues. 

Under the pump: It was a quiet afternoon for Darcy Lang on Sunday, with the forward held to just five disposals and one goal against West Coast.

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Medical room: The Blues will get Dale Thomas back from illness, while they'll be hopeful ruckman Matthew Kreuzer will return from a minor hip complaint. Mitch McGovern is also nearing a return, having missed four weeks due to conditioning issues.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: There could be a number of changes for the Blues. Thomas will likely replace last week's debutant Angus Schumacher, Kreuzer should come in for Andrew Phillips, while McGovern will either return via the AFL or VFL. The club will give Liam Jones as much time as he needs, with Hugh Goddard likely to make way for him should he return. - Riley Beveridge

Carlton is a better team with Dale Thomas in it. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Mid-season draftee John Noble was impressive in the VFL after returning from a corked calf and will again be considered for promotion for the clash with Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday, as will inside midfielder Tyler Brown, veteran utility Tyson Goldsack, big man Max Lynch and perhaps forward/midfielder Tim Broomhead.

Under the pump: Giant forward Mason Cox's absence for the rest of the season makes it even more important for Brody Mihocek, now the chief marking target, to provide a strong contest and bring the ball to ground. It won't be easy given the opposition will presumably focus more on him.

Medical room:  Cox (eye) suffered a season-ending eye injury in the win over Gold Coast.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Cox to be replaced by either the speedy one-gamer Noble or prospective debutant Lynch, a third-year rookie ruckman who would spend considerable time in attack while working in tandem with Brodie Grundy. - Ben Collins

Mason Cox's omission leaves a big hole in the Magpies' forward line. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Again, all eyes will be on captain Dyson Heppell, who has missed two weeks with his ongoing foot injury. The Bombers need him back in the midfield. David Myers had 39 disposals and kicked three goals in the VFL, while Mark Baguley (three goals), Ben McNiece (26 disposals) and Josh Begley (24 disposals) were others to impress at that level.

Under the pump: Zac Clarke was well beaten in the ruck last week against Port Adelaide, but the Bombers don't have a lot of other options for that role. Kyle Langford and Michael Hartley will be on the fringes if others are fit.

Medical room: The Bombers will be hoping Darcy Parish (concussion), Adam Saad (hamstring), Aaron Francis (soreness) and Shaun McKernan (illness) are all available to take on the Western Bulldogs on Saturday.

Toyota WorkHorse VerdictTraining will be important this week in terms of Essendon's selection. They should get McKernan back, which could see Hartley go out so Cale Hooker can play in the backline full-time. Heppell will be a wait-and-see proposition. - Callum Twomey

McKernan would be a welcome inclusion for the Bombers. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Travis Colyer was the best for Peel Thunder in their two-point loss to Claremont, gathering 26 disposals and laying nine tackles. Hayden Ballantyne and Cam McCarthy both kicked two goals with McCarthy's game including an impressive six tackles.

Under the pump: Coming off the Dockers' most impressive victory since round five (win over GWS), it's hard to single out any players worthy of the axe.  

Medical room: Nathan Wilson (toe) and Rory Lobb (shoulder) both missed last week's win through injuries and it remains unclear if they'll make the trip to Melbourne to face the Saints.  

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: If Lobb and Wilson are fit they will come into the side, probably for Aaron Sandilands and Lachie Schultz respectively. However if they don't get up, the side will likely remain unchanged.  – Josh Schonafinger

Veteran Aaron Sandilands could be back out of the Freo side again. Picture: AFL Photos

Geelong Cats

Get them in: Quinton Narkle (20 disposals, two goals) impressed in the VFL on Sunday before sitting out parts of the final term with Lachie Fogarty (19, two). James Parsons (28) and Charlie Constable (26) were strong, while Darcy Fort's bag of six majors delivered a timely reminder to the coaching panel. Rhys Stanley (33 hitouts) is back in the frame after he was dropped a fortnight ago. Luke Dahlhaus and Harry Taylor will be back after being rested.

Under the pump: Lachie Henderson was far from Geelong's worst but finds himself outside the best 22. There's still doubt on Scott Selwood's place, while Zac Smith was beaten against the Dockers. Gryan Miers has lacked zip in the past fortnight and may be due a breather. Jed Bews has now played six straight after returning from osteitis pubis.

Medical room: Gary Rohan has been ruled out for at least a fortnight with his knee injury. Brandan Parfitt has now missed three weeks with a back injury and would likely need to return via the VFL. Last week's late out Mark O'Connor will be hoping to be cleared from a toe injury.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Dahlhaus for Rohan, Taylor for Henderson, O'Connor for Bews, Narkle for Miers and Stanley for Smith. – Mitch Cleary

Rhys Stanley may get a chance to grab the Cats' ruck role heading to finals. Picture: AFL Photos

Gold Coast Suns

Get them in: A bye for the NEAFL team at the weekend, but Jordan Murdoch and George Horlin-Smith were good the previous week and could come into consideration.

Under the pump: Coincidentally it's a couple of former Lions struggling ahead of playing Brisbane, with veteran Michael Rischitelli and vice-captain Pearce Hanley battling for their best form.

Medical room: Rare for the Suns, but no new injuries and no-one expected back from its list this week.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict:  Not too much room for coach Stuart Dew to move, but Murdoch's extra zip at half-back and wing, at the expense of Rischitelli, would be useful against the slick Lions. - Michael Whiting

Former Lion Pearce Hanley will be desperate to face his former side. Picture: AFL Photos

GWS Giants

Get them in: The Giants could be boosted by the return of stars Jeremy Cameron (calf) and Josh Kelly (calf), with midfielder Matt de Boer (shoulder), Daniel Lloyd (calf) and Dawson Simpson (managed) also in the mix to face Hawthorn. Adam Kennedy, Jye Caldwell and Nick Shipley will also be seriously looked at this week.

Under the pump: Defenders Jake Stein, Lachie Keeffe and Connor Idun, and young midfielder Aiden Bonar might find it hard to keep their place in the side depending on who coach Leon Cameron has available.

Medical room: Cameron, Kelly, de Boer and Lloyd will need to train solidly on Tuesday and Wednesday to have any chance of facing the Hawks on Friday night.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: There's no room for error at this time of year so the Giants won't be risking their biggest names. Kennedy in for Stein the only change. – Adam Curley

Jeremy Cameron may need to wait another week to boost his Coleman Medal prospects. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Come on down, Mathew Walker. He's kicked nine goals from 12 scoring shots in his past two VFL appearances, on top of plenty of glimpses throughout the season. Jack Scrimshaw is one game back from a long knee-related absence, while James Cousins continues to make his case. Youngsters Jackson Ross and Changkuoth Jiath are waiting for an opportunity, too.

Under the pump: Paul Puopolo struggled the longer the match went on Friday night, and has kicked one goal in his past seven games. A bigger statement would be to send out-of-sorts Luke Breust back to the VFL, while Conor Nash and Oliver Hanrahan are other candidates.

Medical room: Grant Birchall's comeback is on pause again because of a hamstring strain sustained in the loss to North Melbourne on Friday night. Harry Morrison (back soreness) and Dylan Moore (groin) returned in the VFL, but Ryan Schoenmakers (calf) were absent from the VFL again. Demoted ruckman Jon Ceglar didn't appear for Box Hill either.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Scrimshaw and Walker for Birchall and Hanrahan. –  Marc McGowan

Will the stuttering form of the Hawks' veteran forwards give Mathew Walker a chance? Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Expect to see the backline bolstered by Marty Hore after an excellent 34-disposal outing in a VFL loss to Richmond. Another to impress at that level was Billy Stretch, who finished with 23 disposals.

Under the pump: Oscar McDonald could find himself on the outer after a subpar performance in the loss to Richmond.

Medical room: It could be one gun defender in and one gun defender out – Steven May (hamstring) might replace Jake Lever (ankle).

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: May and Hore for Lever and McDonald. - Dinny Navaratnam

Steven May looks likely to replace the injured Jake Lever in Melbourne's backline. Picture: AFL Photos

North Melbourne

Get them in: Midfield bull Jed Anderson could be in line for an instant recall after winning 25 disposals and adding 12 tackles in the VFL on Saturday.

Under the pump: There aren't really any Roos in this category, with Jamie Macmillan producing his best performance last week since returning to the senior side.

Medical room: Luke Davies-Uniacke will undergo a right shoulder reconstruction this week and his season is over. The second-year midfielder suffered an injury earlier in the season while fending off an opponent. Shaun Atley (knee) will try again to prove his fitness after hurting himself a fortnight ago. Declan Watson (medial cruciate ligament) will sit out at least this weekend, because of a setback in his left knee – the same one he had reconstructed in mid-2017. Sam Wright's farewell VFL game ended prematurely on Saturday when he sustained a hamstring injury, but he wasn't going to play again this year anyway.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: It looks like Anderson for Davies-Uniacke, although Atley being healthy might complicate matters. – Marc McGowan

Jed Anderson may get a chance for immediate redemption. Picture: AFL Photos

Port Adelaide

Get them in: Co-captain Ollie Wines has been cleared to play this weekend after missing the past three weeks with a fractured thumb. He might need a run in the SANFL to build match fitness rather than coming straight back against Sydney at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Forward Steven Motlop could be in the frame with Zak Butters under an injury cloud.

Under the pump: In his first game back after a stint in the SANFL, key forward Charlie Dixon was quiet (five disposals, zero goals) in the Power's 59-point win against Essendon last weekend. Mid-season draft recruit Cam Sutcliffe would be unlucky to be squeezed out if Wines is recalled.

Medical room: Butters is in doubt with a bruised sternum.

Toyota WorkHorse VerdictJust the one forced change – Motlop in for Butters. Dixon deserves to get a consistent run in the senior side. – Lee Gaskin

Charlie Dixon was quiet but the Power will want him in form if finals are to happen. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Ruckman Toby Nankervis has done everything possible to get an AFL call-up after two halves and now a full game in the VFL. Usual winger Kamdyn McIntosh continues to play in defence in the seconds, recording 16 disposals and seven marks. Youngster Patrick Naish (26 disposals, nine marks) has continued his strong VFL season, while mid-season recruit Marlion Pickett (20 and a goal) found plenty of the ball in his first match.

Under the pump: Unfortunately it's rinse and repeat for Ivan Soldo, whose stunning soccer goal from a throw-in won't save him if Nankervis returns. Small forward Dan Butler (eight disposals) didn't have a big impact on his return to AFL.

Medical room: Dynamic utility Sydney Stack (calf soreness) is likely to be a test after missing last round, while skipper Trent Cotchin is still a week or two away.

Toyota WorkHorse VerdictAnother week in the twos building match fitness for Pickett, while Nankervis should come back at the expense of Soldo. Stack for Butler if fit. – Sarah Black

Toby Nankervis looks ready to return. Picture: AFL Photos

St Kilda

Get them in: As Sandringham was thumped by Essendon in the VFL, Jimmy Webster and Jack Steven pushed their cases for senior recalls and would be tempting options to face Fremantle on Sunday at Marvel Stadium.

Under the pump: As late ins, Matthew Parker and Dan McKenzie might be first out of the side. Ben Long was quiet in the loss to Adelaide.

Medical room: Expect Dan HanneberyJack Newnes and Ben Paton to overcome their illnesses, while Blake Acres will push to return from a right shoulder complaint. 

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Steven, Webster and Newnes to replace Long, McKenzie and Parker. - Dinny Navaratnam

Jack Steven pushed his case for a recall with a strong performance in the VFL. Picture: AFL Photos

Sydney Swans

Get them in: Co-captain Dane Rampe could be ready to resume against Port Adelaide after missing last week's derby with bleeding behind his eye. He'll need to be cleared by specialists. Rookie ruckman Joel Amartey had 26 possessions, eight marks, six tackles and kicked two goals, while midfielder James Bell had 28 touches and nine tackles in the NEAFL last week if the Swans want to try them at the top level.

Under the pump: Forward James Rose struggled to have an impact against the Giants, veterans Daniel Menzel and Kieren Jack might also be looked at given the Swans' focus on youth.

Medical room: Lance Franklin (hamstring) is an outside chance to face Melbourne next week but looks more likely to be back for the final game of the year against St Kilda at the SCG, with retiring veteran Jarrad McVeigh (calf) on track to join him for a farewell game.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Hayden McLean needs some help in the ruck and Amartey can also provide a target in attack, so he comes in for Rose. Rampe returns for Menzel. – Adam Curley

Anything can happen if Dane Rampe returns. Picture: AFL Photos

West Coast Eagles

Get them in: Veteran Mark Hutchings made a successful return from a hamstring strain through the WAFL, finishing with 21 disposals and a goal to push for his senior place.

Under the pump: He's enjoyed a promising start to his AFL career, but Jarrod Cameron could be squeezed out of the side this week. He finished with just eight disposals and a goal against Carlton on Sunday.

Medical room: It wasn't an ideal return for Liam Duggan, whose comeback in the WAFL from an ankle injury lasted barely 15 minutes due to a knock. However, in a positive, the club is hopeful pressure forward Jamie Cripps will return from an adductor injury this week.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Expect at least one change, with Cripps to replace Cameron- Riley Beveridge

The Eagles won't mind taking their time with Jarrod Cameron's development. Picture: AFL Photos

Western Bulldogs

Get them in: Billy Gowers was the best of the AFL-listed players in Footscray's 70-point win over Frankston, with 17 disposals and two second-half goals. Jordon Sweet continued to push his case for a senior debut with 32 hit outs and two goals and Rhylee West will be hoping for an immediate recall after travelling to Brisbane as the emergency.  

Under the pump: The Bulldogs didn't do a lot wrong against the red-hot Lions, however some crucial skill errors cost them at vital stages. Matt Suckling and Toby McLean both had a limited impact on their return from injury.

Medical room: More time on the sidelines is ahead for Caleb Daniel, who injured his hamstring for the second time this season. Hayden Crozier hurt his ankle after taking a spectacular mark in the closing stages of Sunday's loss, and Josh Dunkley and Easton Wood copped heavy knocks but played out the game. Taylor Duryea missed last week with groin tightness but will be available for selection to face the Bombers.

Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Duryea will return to the side in place of the injured Daniel. - Josh Schonafinger