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In the mix: round 19

Dion Prestia of the Suns evades Scott Thompson of the Crows during the 2013 AFL Round 14 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast on June 29, 2013. (Photo: Bradley Kanaris/AFL Media)
Dion Prestia was a late withdrawal last week, but may return to face the Eagles
Patrick Dangerfield will make his return from a sprained AC joint for this weekend's Showdown and will be joined by defender Ben Rutten. Josh Jenkins will miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle and fellow big man Shaun McKernan faces a fitness test after spraining his against Fremantle. Former Sydney Swans' key forward Lewis Johnston is all but certain of earning his second game for the Crows after booting seven goals in the SANFL. Jared Petrenko impressed for Woodville/West Torrens with 28 disposals, teammate Cam Ellis-Yolmen continued his good form (20 disposals), Matthew Jaensch was again prolific (32, one goal) and Sam Kerridge was solid too (26, one goal). - Harry Thring
Don't expect too many changes to the Lions team that narrowly lost against Port Adelaide last week when they host St Kilda at the Gabba on Saturday night. Simon Black (groin) is still at least another week away, while Brent Moloney (hamstring) is expected to be fine after coming off late against the Power. Coach Michael Voss may reinstate Ryan Lester or James Polkinghorne is he wants a little more physicality in the midfield.  - Michael Whiting

Unlikely to be many, if any, changes to the Blues' line-up, but Nick Graham continues to knock down the door to make his AFL debut. The 2012 Morrish medallist amassed 33 possessions (14 contested), including 15 in the first quarter, nine clearances, eight tackles and a goal in the Northern Blues' easy VFL win over Coburg. Fellow inside midfielder Tom Bell was superb in his first game back from a broken jaw, also gathering 33 touches (21 contested) and slotting two goals. Nick Duigan took 13 marks as a leading target from half-forward, while defenders Marcus Davies, Aaron Joseph and Jeremy Laidler were solid performers. Levi Casboult kicked three goals and highly-talented youngster Troy Menzel will always be in the mix. Ruckman Rob Warnock had 45 hit-outs and kicked a goal. - Ben Collins

Several Magpies players will have fitness tests ahead of Sunday's twilight blockbuster against Essendon. Ben Reid (ankle) remains a chance to line up at the MCG but will be put through his paces later in the week to determine availability. The club is hopeful Paul Seedsman, Ben Hudson and Luke Ball have all overcome calf complaints, while Darren Jolly (knee) will be tested. Andrew Krakouer (28 touches), Quinten Lynch (27) and Alan Didak (27) all bounced back to form in the VFL and may be called upon by Nathan Buckley. - Ben Guthrie

Collingwood hopes Luke Ball can return this week to bring a steadying hand to the side.   Picture: AFL Media

The Bombers could welcome back a number of stars for Sunday's meeting with Collingwood, headed by captain Jobe Watson. Watson will see his surgeon this week before being cleared to return from his broken collarbone. Dustin Fletcher (back), Jason Winderlich (soreness) and Stewart Crameri (ankle) are all in line to return. Essendon could also look to bring in Scott Gumbleton from the VFL as it continues to reshuffle its forward line. - Callum Twomey

Jobe Watson could make his much-anticipated comeback this weekend. Picture: AFL Media

Ross Lyon said on Monday night that Hayden Ballantyne was a "certainty" to return against the Blues following a hamstring injury. Matthew Pavlich has to wait another week with suspension and Luke McPharlin is still a couple of weeks away from recovering from his calf problem. Viv Michie had 32 touches in the WAFL as he continues to pressure the selection committee. Jesse Chrichton had 26 disposals in the same game for Peel and Hayden Crozier had 22 touches and kicked two goals. All have put their hand up but it will be very hard for them to break in given Lyon said Tom Sheridan was unlucky to miss last week. - Alex Malcolm

The Cats are likely to bring ruckmen Trent West and Mark Blicavs into their team to replace Dawson Simpson (knee injury) and James Podsiadly (suspended). West has spent a number of weeks in the VFL, while Blicavs was rested last weekend. However, fellow big man Josh Walker has also been pressing his case in the VFL. Walker booted six goals in a best-on-ground performance against Sandringham on Sunday. Geelong will also regain a trio of premiership players, with Jimmy Bartel (suspended last weekend), Allen Christensen (recovered from a hamstring injury) and Josh Hunt (recovered from a shin problem) set to line up against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Friday night. - Adam McNicol

The Suns have three crucial players racing the clock to make the long trip west to play the Eagles on Saturday. Dion Prestia (hamstring) and Rory Thompson (ankle) were late withdrawals against Carlton last week, and along with David Swallow (knee) are big chances to play. Daniel Gorringe is an obvious replacement for injured Tom Nicholls (knee) as coach Guy McKenna is desperate to play a two-pronged ruck attack against the Eagles. - Michael Whiting

After some difficult weeks, the Giants have shown some vastly improved form over the past fortnight, competing well against Essendon and Collingwood before falling short in the final quarters. The club's reserves had a disappointing weekend, however, giving up a 43-point half-time lead to lose to Gold Coast by one point. There were some good signs, with Stephen Coniglio making his return from a hamstring injury and enjoying a quality battle with budding Suns star Jack Martin in the first half. Defender Matthew Buntine also performed well as he tries to add to his two senior appearances this season. Rookie-listed teenager Joe Redfern kicked two goals in the reserves in an encouraging sign. - James Dampney

Stephen Coniglio is close to making his senior return for the Giants. Picture: AFL Media

The Hawks received contributions from all 22 players during Friday night's outstanding win over Essendon, but one will have to make way for the returning Shaun Burgoyne this week. Burgoyne has missed the past fortnight through suspension, and is certain to slot straight back into the line-up. Youngsters Sam Grimley, Jed Anderson and Will Langford all impressed in the VFL at the weekend and will be desperate for another senior opportunity. - Mark Macgugan

The Demons will be desperate to regain Colin Garland in defence now that James Frawley is missing for three to four weeks. Jeremy Cameron looms and while Tom McDonald is likely to get first crack, experienced support is needed. Rory Taggert may get his first chance at senior football after impressing with the Casey Scorpions at the weekend, while it is time to consider Dom Barry to make his debut given the inexperience of the opposition. James Strauss deserves another chance with the list of needs now long. - Peter Ryan

Much of North's pre-match planning this round will centre on trying to cover injured skipper Andrew Swallow'midfield grunt. Levi Greenwood and Ben Jacobs appear best placed to play the inside role North will need in Swallow's absence, and both performed solidly in the clash of North's VFL affiliates North Ballarat and Werribee last Saturday. Midfielders Liam Anthony (30 possessions) and Jordan Gysberts (19) could also be considered after strong performances for North Ballarat and Werribee respectively. Meanwhile, key defender Luke Delaney yet again thrust his name before North's selectors with another impressive performance for the Roosters. - Nick Bowen

North Melbourne is hoping someone stands up to cover the loss of Andrew Swallow. Picture: AFL Media 

Brad Ebert and Jay Schulz both had headaches after their win over the Brisbane Lions, but high performance manager Darren Burgess said their issues were "nothing to worry about". The pair will face the Crows on Sunday. Aaron Young backed up a solid showing last week with another 23 disposals and two goals in the SANFL, Matt Thomas continued his fine form with 24 and two goals, dogged defender Tom Logan had 24 and running defender Nathan Blee pushed further for selection with 23 touches and three goals. - Harry Thring

The medical staff will be busy this week with Jake King (hamstring), Matt Dea (shoulder), Aaron Edwards (shin) and Ty Vickery, Brett O'Hanlon and Ben Griffiths (all with concussion) needing fitness tests. Ricky Petterd (groin) will miss, Matt Arnot (back) is out for the year and Vickery is unlikely to come up. The Tigers could look towards Luke McGuane as the latter's replacement given he didn't play VFL on Sunday and was an emergency for the senior team. Matt McDonough and Robin Nahas were good in the VFL, while David Astbury is reportedly close to earning a recall. Dylan Grimes will play in the VFL again after getting through a half for the reserves on the weekend. - Jennifer Phelan

Veteran Adam Schneider is close to playing his first senior game since round two after impressing in his second VFL game back from a serious hamstring injury. Schneider finished with 30 possessions and would add valuable experience and versatility in the midfield and forward line this week. Midfielders Tom Ledger (30 disposals) and Seb Ross (19 and seven tackles) also pushed strong claims with Sandringham, while Nathan Wright and Brodie Murdoch are available if young players are rotated out of the team. It has been suggested half-back Cameron Shenton could bolt into contention to make his senior debut after a strong performance with the Zebras, finishing with 28 possessions and nine marks. - Nathan Schmook

Adam Schneider could be a chance to slot back into St Kilda's senior team this week. Picture: AFL Media

The Swans have enjoyed a settled line-up in recent weeks and a five-match winning streak makes it hard for those on the outside to force their way in. The reserves had a bye at the weekend, although players such as Rhyce Shaw and Gary Rohan had an additional training session as they move closer to a senior return. Shane Biggs was promoted to the senior list and would be an outside chance of earning his first AFL game in the closing weeks, while Mitch Morton has been one of the last players cut from the final 22 in the past few games. He will be hoping to emulate last season, when he cracked the senior side in round 21 and fought his way to a premiership. - James Dampney
The mix at West Coast has become 'who is left standing' this week. Chris Masten is out for at least two to three weeks with an ankle injury. Mark LeCras will miss a similar period with a foot injury that had him on crutches on Monday. Nic Naitanui is now listed as indefinite on the club's injury list and it would be unlikely he will return this year. Andrew Embley and Patrick McGinnity are available having served their suspensions, and both will probably come back in. Brad Sheppard had 30 disposals for East Fremantle and will be strongly considered. Darren Glass, Matt Rosa and Daniel Kerr are all possible inclusions following injuries and soreness, but none are guaranteed.  - Alex Malcolm

Jake Stringer booted a game-high three goals in a strong performance in Williamstown's win over Frankston on Saturday, putting his hand up for a senior recall. Daniel Cross again looms after being named among the best, but it appears the club is going in a different direction, opting to give opportunities to younger players. Daniel Pearce is a chance for selection, while Tom Campbell had a good game in the VFL. Nick Lower could also slot back into the side after missing with concussion. - Jacqui Reed
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs