WHO IS a chance to play in round 23?
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 R23 ins. Check it out.
Get them in: Defender Alex Keath is likely to return for Sunday's crucial encounter with the Western Bulldogs after making a successful comeback from an ankle injury in the SANFL last weekend. Riley Knight (hip) could be available, Rory Atkins had 27 touches in the SANFL after he was dropped and Hugh Greenwood and Jordan Gallucci could be in line for recalls.
Under the pump: Bryce Gibbs, Richard Douglas and David Mackay didn't have an impact against Collingwood. Reilly O'Brien could make way after the two ruckmen experiment backfired.
Medical room: Knight and Jake Kelly (shin) will be assessed.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Three changes – Keath, Atkins and Greenwood, replacing Mackay, Gibbs and O'Brien. Chayce Jones did enough to hold his spot ahead of Knight. - Lee Gaskin
Alex Keath should be right to take on the Dogs in Ballarat. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: It's now 17 games unbeaten for the NEAFL team. Rhys Mathieson (30 disposals and three goals) and Lewy Taylor (34 and two goals) were terrific against GWS at the weekend.
Under the pump: There were a few quiet players against Geelong at the weekend, but no one with a sustained run of poor form to be genuinely in strife.
Medical room: No confirmation on the severity of Allen Christensen's hamstring problem yet, but the early diagnosis was that the small forward would miss some weeks.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Just the one change, with a replacement for Christensen required. Taylor is a logical fit with his creativity, but the Lions need maximum forward pressure against Richmond, and despite an average NEAFL performance, Ben Keays could fit the bill. - Michael Whiting
Get them in: Key defender Hugh Goddard staked his claim for a spot in the senior team with 24 disposals and 10 marks in the VFL, while youngster Angus Schumacher had 25 touches across half-back. Both could be in the frame, given the club's injury issues in defence.
Under the pump: Having been moved back on Saturday, Will Setterfield had just eight disposals. However, he still played an important shutdown role. Young forward Matt Kennedy was well held and finished with just 11 touches.
Medical room: The Blues will be waiting to see how defender Jacob Weitering recovers from a slight tweak to his adductor, while Michael Gibbons will undoubtedly undergo scans on his shoulder after copping a heavy knock against the Saints.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Don't be surprised to see an unchanged team. - Riley Beveridge
Former Giant Matthew Kennedy may feel the axe when Carlton picks its R23 team. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: Star key defender Darcy Moore is expected to return against Essendon at the MCG on Friday night, and the Pies have the option of calling on runners such as Josh Daicos, Tyler Brown and Ben Crocker, each of whom are fresh after a VFL bye.
Under the pump: Jack Madgen has fought hard as an undersized key backman since being promoted two weeks ago, but would loom as the hot favourite to make way for a fit Moore.
Medical room: Moore (hamstring) faces a fitness test this week, while Jordan De Goey (hamstring) is aiming to be fit for the club's first final.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: If Moore returns, it will be at the expense of Madgen. - Ben Collins
Darcy Moore (left) and Jordan De Goey (centre) will be important in September. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: Cale Hooker missed last week's win over Fremantle with a groin injury, so will be pushing to get back against the Pies this week. Of the VFL performers, Jordan Ridley was impressive for the Bombers with 25 disposals and 10 marks, and Josh Begley, Dylan Clarke and Jayden Laverde are all a chance as well.
Under the pump: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher did some solid things on debut but was Hooker's late replacement so will likely go out if Hooker returns. Brayden Ham came into the side but performed well with 16 disposals so should hold his spot.
Medical room: David Zaharakis is in doubt after ending the game on crutches due to an ankle injury. Tom Bellchambers should be available for Friday night, with the decision then to be whether the ruckman plays at AFL or VFL level after an extended absence with a calf injury.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Hooker comes in for Zerk-Thatcher if he's passed fit. Zaharakis seems more unlikely than likely to play, with the midfielder likely to be replaced by Begley or Clarke. Bellchambers for Zac Clarke if the Bombers think he needs a pre-finals tune-up at AFL level. - Callum Twomey
Cale Hooker wearing a protective sleeve in his last outing against the Dogs. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: The last round is an ideal chance to play the kids, so Hugh Dixon, Bailey Banfield – who had 38 disposals, 13 tackles and a goal for Peel – and Sam Sturt would have to be under consideration.
Under the pump: Farewelling the home fans is the ideal way for Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne to go out. There's no need to take them to Port Adelaide.
Medical room: Tall Brennan Cox (hip) and backman Luke Ryan (hamstring) should be available.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Cox or Dixon for Sandilands and Banfield for Ballantyne. If fit, Ryan potentially comes in for Taylin Duman. - Travis King
Get them in: Sam Menegola (29 disposals) responded to his omission, performing well in the VFL alongside Scott Selwood (25), James Parsons (24) and Charlie Constable (21). Rhys Stanley was the Cats' most impressive VFL ruckman with 24 hitouts, 19 disposals and two goals and is next in line. He joined Parsons as a travelling emergency before flying back to play VFL.
Under the pump: Zach Tuohy has been shifted from a jam-packed defence to a new forward role and questions will come over his spot. If the Cats decide to move Mark Blicavs back to full-back, then Lachie Henderson is most vulnerable. Brandan Parfitt (12 disposals) was quiet against the Lions but his match the week prior was strong.
Medical room: Forward Tom Atkins is headed for surgery on a hand injury he sustained prior to the loss to Brisbane and will miss at least one week.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Blicavs back to defence, Stanley to replace Henderson and Menegola in for Atkins. – Mitch Cleary
Get them in: After a strong NEAFL showing (32 disposals, eight marks, one goal) against Sydney, Aaron Young should be called up to play his 100th career game. Izak Rankine was impressive in just his second game of the year, although it may be a bit soon for a call-up. Connor Nutting kicked four goals in the reserves' victory.
Under the pump: It's hard to impact in your first game back, but George Horlin-Smith and Jordan Murdoch were relatively quiet against the Hawks.
Medical room: He was tipped to return last week and was a touch sore, but Jack Martin is expected to be available on Saturday.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Young has done enough to be called up, probably at the expense of Horlin-Smith who hasn't had much continuity. If Martin is available, Murdoch could be the one to make way. - Michael Whiting
Jack Martin was expected to return last week. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: Star forward Jeremy Cameron (corked hamstring) could be back to take on Gold Coast on Saturday night, along with fellow tall forward Jeremy Finlayson (hamstring), key defender Sam Taylor (hamstring) and utility Daniel Lloyd (calf). Ruckman Shane Mumford (illness) will return after being a late withdrawal against the Western Bulldogs. Young defender Isaac Cumming starred in the NEAFL last week and could also be recalled.
Under the pump: Dawson Simpson will make way for Mumford, while talls Zach Sproule, Jake Stein and Lachie Keeffe, and small forward Bobby Hill, could also miss out depending on which players are declared fit to return.
Medical room: Gun defender Nick Haynes has a fractured larynx and will miss this week's clash with the Suns, while Jacob Hopper (hamstring) should be ready to return in the first week of the finals, with Stephen Coniglio (knee) and Brett Deledio (calf) a chance in week two if the Giants get through.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Mumford, Cameron, Taylor and Cumming in for Simpson, Haynes, Stein and Sproule. – Adam Curley
Star forward Jeremy Cameron is pushing for a return against the Suns. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: This is Mathew Walker's best chance to make his senior debut. The 188cm forward has kicked 13 goals in the past month and boasts a huge leap that is sure to make him a fan favourite. Possibly more importantly, Walker's had seven tackles across his past two appearances. Other contenders include Jack Scrimshaw, Jack Ross and James Cousins.
Under the pump: Jarryd Roughead's certainly not under any pressure, but his six-goal outing against Gold Coast was officially his farewell game, so he will go out of the side. Does Jon Ceglar stay in, after carrying the ruck load last week, with Ben McEvoy redeployed in defence?
Medical room: Mitch Lewis' injured shoulder hasn't recovered as quickly as the Hawks would have liked, so he won't make the trip west to face the Eagles. The fresh injuries were to Harry Morrison (broken jaw) and Conor Glass (abdominal muscle). Morrison underwent surgery at the weekend and won't play again in season 2019, whereas Glass may not miss any time. Dan Howe was managed last week, so he is another to watch, while Dylan Moore didn't play at either level at the weekend.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Scrimshaw is in contention after three VFL games, as are untried forwards Walker and Ross. One of them should debut, with Lewis and Roughead unavailable. – Marc McGowan
Get them in: Big man Braydon Preuss posted an absurd stat-line against Frankston: 23 disposals (all kicks), 63 hitouts and 0.5. Jay Lockhart had 19 disposals and was also inaccurate, finishing with 0.3, while Josh Wagner won the same amount of the footy. After being demoted, Jayden Hunt collected 15 disposals and laid six tackles.
Under the pump: Kyle Dunkley was quiet in the loss to Sydney. Ordinarily, there would be plenty on notice after such a disappointing display, but the Dees don't have many to pick from at the moment as they battle a lengthy injury list.
Medical room: A hamstring issue might rule out Max Gawn.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Preuss for Gawn and Hunt for Dunkley. - Dinny Navaratnam
It could be Preuss in, Gawn out for the Dees. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: Mid-season draftee Lachie Hosie's six-goal haul in the VFL has him placed better than ever to push for his AFL debut. Mason Wood kicked two majors among 20 possessions in the same game, with untried midfielder Joel Crocker and ruckman Tom Campbell also good again.
Under the pump: It will be interesting to see if Nathan Hrovat retains his spot, after being a good performer as a (very) late inclusion last week.
Medical room: Paul Ahern was a late withdrawal after experiencing hamstring tightness in the pre-game warm-up, while Jed Anderson (hamstring) came from the ground in the third term. Robbie Tarrant (ankle) also exited the match early, but is confident of facing Melbourne on Saturday. However, Dom Tyson suffered a shoulder setback in his second VFL game back from an extended absence because of a calf issue. Tom McKenzie made his VFL debut at the weekend after overcoming a debilitating back problem, but Curtis Taylor was out again.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Does Wood being a trade chip impact on his selection? If not, he should be a contender. If so, Hosie possibly comes in for Anderson, and Ahern (if fit) replaces Hrovat. – Marc McGowan
Paul Ahern could return after being a late withdrawal last weekend. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: Ruckman Scott Lycett almost certainly has to come back for Sunday's match with Fremantle. Utility Steven Motlop, midfielder Willem Drew, defenders Joel Garner and Jarrod Lienert and forward Kane Farrell will also be considered.
Under the pump: Everyone should be after an embarrassing 86-point drubbing at the hands of North Melbourne. Young ruckman Peter Ladhams was well beaten by Todd Goldstein. Experienced midfielder Tom Rockliff had his second quiet game in a row, while Riley Bonner, Zak Butters and Todd Marshall will be marginal calls.
Medical room: Winger Xavier Duursma could return from a heel injury this week.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Three changes. In: Lycett, Duursma, Garner. Out: Ladhams, Rockliff, Bonner. - Lee Gaskin
Out-of-favour ruckman Scott Lycett should return for the crunch game against Fremantle. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: Skipper Trent Cotchin (hamstring) should be right to go, with coach Damien Hardwick saying he could have played last week if required. Versatile big man Noah Balta (21 hitouts, 18 disposals, two goals) was best in the VFL, while Jacob Townsend was also strong.
Under the pump: It was a very well-rounded performance from the Tigers, with young Tigers Jack Ross (11 disposals) and Mabior Chol (four and 10 hitouts) the ones who could come out of the side.
Medical room: Integral defender Dylan Grimes sent an almighty scare through the Tiger camp when he went down with an ankle injury, but he later returned. At this stage, he's hopeful to play against Brisbane. Sydney Stack had surgery on Monday for an ankle syndesmosis injury suffered in the VFL. Toby Nankervis is battling groin soreness.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Ross for Cotchin, with Ryan Garthwaite waiting in the wings for Grimes if required. Given Ivan Soldo's strong form, Nankervis is a chance to be given another week's break. Chol holds on for now, but Balta's building strong form. –Sarah Black
It's all systems go for Trent Cotchin after overcoming a hamstring issue. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: Regular defender Jimmy Webster impressed for Sandringham, booting a couple of goals while also collecting 15 disposals. Big man Sam Rowe was superb in the ruck, finishing with 16 disposals and 59 hitouts.
Under the pump: If Sydney superstar Lance Franklin returns from a left hamstring injury for his 300th game, Nathan Brown will probably play. Otherwise, he might be squeezed out so the Saints can be more mobile down back.
Medical room: If Jade Gresham is ready to return from a fractured eye socket, he will come straight back into the side.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Gresham for Brown. - Dinny Navaratnam
Get them in: Superstar forward Lance Franklin (hamstring) trained strongly on Tuesday and looks ready to finally play game 300 against St Kilda at the SCG. Veteran Jarrad McVeigh (calf) was also on the track as he pushed for a recall in what will be his farewell game.
Under the pump: Young midfielders Ryan Clarke and James Bell, and forwards Ben Ronke and Daniel Menzel might be looked at if Franklin and McVeigh are fit.
Medical room: Zak Jones (hamstring) was limited to running laps on Tuesday and won't play against the Saints.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Franklin and McVeigh in for Clarke and Menzel. – Adam Curley
Will Buddy finally get game 300? Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: The Eagles have some thinking to do – chiefly, what is their best line-up heading into finals? It looks like Liam Duggan will return in defence, but should Will Schofield also be recalled, or does Jackson Nelson offer versatility as a backman who can tag if needed?
Under the pump: It remains to be seen if late inclusion Josh Rotham holds his spot after a confident display against Richmond, while Jack Petruccelle and Jake Waterman might feel some heat from Jarrod Cameron.
Medical room: Tagger Mark Hutchings might struggle to get back in this year after another hamstring strain, opening the door for veteran Chris Masten to return.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: Masten, Duggan and Schofield for Hutchings, Nelson and Rotham. - Travis King
Mark Hutchings injured his hamstring against Richmond last weekend. Picture: AFL Photos
Get them in: Lukas Webb was best on ground for VFL side Footscray's six-point win over North Melbourne at the weekend. Playing mostly through the midfield, the 23-year-old had 31 disposals, six tackles and kicked the winning goal with just seconds left. Rhylee West was at his consistent best again, with 21 disposals, eight tackles and two goals. Mature-aged recruit Ben Cavarra was also instrumental, kicking a team-high three goals.
Under the pump: Late inclusion Lewis Young was very good after coming in at short notice, with 17 disposals and 12 intercept possessions. But with ruckman Tim English almost certain to return, Young might be squeezed out as Jackson Trengove returns to defence.
Medical room: English was a late withdrawal from the weekend's match with gastro, but is likely to return this weekend. Tory Dickson pulled up a little sore from a contest in the final quarter and only played 60 per cent game time. Tom Liberatore should be close to returning from his latest knee setback.
Toyota WorkHorse Verdict: English and West in for Young and Dickson. Young can consider himself unlucky and West is a logical replacement if Dickson doesn't get up. – Josh Schonafinger
Tim English will make a welcome return to the ruck for the Dogs. Picture: AFL Photos