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In the mix: round 21

Stewart Crameri of the Bombers marks the ball during the 2013 VFL round 17 match between Box Hill Hawks and Essendon Bombers at Box Hill City Oval, Melbourne on August 10, 2013. (Photo: Theo Karanikos/AFL Media)
Stewart Crameri takes a mark in the VFL against Box Hill at the weekend
A corked hip to Mitch Grigg was the only injury concern out of the club's nine-point win over North Melbourne last weekend, but the impressive youngster will be fit to face the Western Bulldogs. Richard Tambling was arguably the club's best in the SANFL at the weekend with 21 disposals eight tackles, five clearances and seven marks, while Sturt teammates Matthew Jaensch (22 disposals, one goal), Sam Kerridge (19 possessions, one goal) and Tim McIntyre (three goals) also produced. Defender Kyle Hartigan continued his strong form in defence with 20 touches and 11 marks, as did veteran Ian Callinan (22 possessions, one goal). - Harry Thring

Brownlow medallist Simon Black just has to get through training this week to regain his spot against GWS at the Gabba on Saturday night. The champion on-baller has missed six matches with a groin injury, but Michael Voss indicated on Tuesday he was all-but certain to play the Giants. His return is timely for the Lions, who will be missing Brent Moloney (hamstring) and Justin Clarke (shoulder) from the team that fought hard before losing against Richmond last week. Jordan Lisle should get another chance to impress in the forward line, allowing Daniel Merrett to revert to his favoured backline position to cover Clarke's absence. - Michael Whiting

Ruckman Matthew Kreuzer could return from a minor calf problem and Nick Graham appears set to finally make his AFL debut in Carlton's blockbuster against Richmond at the MCG on Saturday. Defender Andrew McInnes could also be elevated to help fill the void left by Matthew Watson (fractured foot). Several others pressed their claims for senior recalls after strong performances in the VFL. David Ellard was best-afield with 29 disposals (12 contested) and multiple goal assists on his return from injury, omitted pair Kane Lucas (24 disposals) and Mitch Robinson (eight clearances, seven tackles and a long goal) responded well, Levi Casboult took 13 marks and kicked two goals in a forward/ruck role, Tom Bell had 23 touches and slotted two goals, while defenders Aaron Joseph and Marcus Davies were also prominent. - Ben Collins

An unchanged line-up for the past two weeks may well continue. The main query will relate to whether Ben Hudson is brought in to give Brodie Grundy further support. Beyond that, all eyes will be on the VFL team and whether Dale Thomas makes his long-awaited return and Darren Jolly has recovered well enough to resume his attempt to regain match fitness before the finals. Clinton Young remains one to two weeks away and is running out of time, particularly if the club's VFL team misses finals action. Alan Didak, Kyle Martin, Jarrod Witts and Tim Broomhead continue to keep pressure on the senior team. - Peter Ryan

There's likely to be a few changes at Essendon this week given the suspensions to Patrick Ryder and Dustin Fletcher, while Jason Winderlich is out with hamstring tightness. Elliott Kavanagh could be in contention, while Travis Colyer, Joe Daniher and Will Hams will push for a senior recall. Stewart Crameri, who leads the club's goalkicking, could also be in line to re-join the Bombers' attack after spending two weeks in the VFL to get some match fitness. - Callum Twomey

The Dockers could get a couple of handy inclusions this week. Stephen Hill was withdrawn with hamstring tightness just before the clash with GWS. He should be fine to face Melbourne on Sunday. Garrick Ibbotson has missed the past two matches with Achilles tightness but should also return given he was close to playing against the Giants. Paul Duffield copped a cork on Sunday but Ross Lyon said he should be fine. Hayden Ballantyne was subbed with illness and hamstring tightness but it was precautionary. Hayden Crozier had 27 touches in the WAFL and is waiting for an opportunity. - Alex Malcolm

Freo fans and a lot of AFL Fantasy players will hope Garrick Ibbotson returns this week. Picture: AFL Media

The Cats are likely to leave big forward Tom Hawkins (back) out of their team to play West Coast at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night. Among his possible replacements is veteran midfielder Paul Chapman, who was among the best performers for Geelong's VFL side against Williamstown at the weekend. First-year player Jackson Thurlow is also in the mix after gathering 29 disposals and kicking three goals in the VFL team's win over the Seagulls. Ruckmen Trent West and Mark Blicavs are waiting in the wings, as are young midfielders Jordan Murdoch and George Horlin-Smith. - Adam McNicol

The Suns will need to make a number of changes for Saturday's away match against Port Adelaide, with Nathan Bock (leg) and Alex Sexton (shoulder) certain to miss, and Sam Day (hamstring) also highly unlikely. After missing the past two matches, Tom Nicholls is still a week-to-week proposition with his knee troubles, and his return would allow Charlie Dixon and Dan Gorringe to remain in the forward line. Jared Brennan kicked six goals in the NEAFL last week and will be closely considered, as will utility Jack Hutchins who was also strong in the twos. Michael Rischitelli (elbow) and Karmichael Hunt (calf) returned through the reserves last week but would likely need more match fitness before being considered. - Michael Whiting

The Giants are keen to ease their troops through the final weeks of a tough campaign and will be resting and rotating some for the trip to Brisbane to face the Lions. As they did last year, players are already being put on the shelf in preparation for 2014, with Andrew Phillips and Jacob Townsend undergoing season-ending hip surgery last week. Coach Kevin Sheedy is contemplating whether to rest Jeremy Cameron, who he feels is right on the cusp of All Australian selection. In the reserves, Matt Buntine, Dom Tyson, Liam Sumner and Stephen Gilham all played well and could earn recalls this week. - James Dampney

The Hawks look certain to regain star forward Lance Franklin for Friday night's clash with Collingwood, after he missed last week with a hamstring niggle. Luke Hodge (thumb), Grant Birchall (knee) and Max Bailey (knee soreness) will all face tests, while Liam Shiels could come into contention after returning successfully from an ankle injury in the VFL on the weekend. Kyle Cheney continued his ultra-consistent form at Box Hill. - Mark Macgugan

Forgotten utility Nev Jetta played his best game for the season in the VFL on Sunday, kicking three goals to go with his 21 touches in Casey's big win against Frankston. Whether thats's enough to force his way back into the senior team is debatable, after Melbourne's midfield performed admirably against Gold Coast. Fellow mids Jimmy Toumpas (24 disposals, eight marks), David Rodan (23 touches, five inside 50s) and Sam Blease (20 possessions and a goal) were also solid at VFL level. In terms of talls, Max Gawn (22 disposals, 10 marks, 40 hit-outs) and James Sellar (12 marks, two goals) were dominant and could be called upon if the Demons need big man support. - Niall Seewang

Majak Daw put his hand up for a senior recall with a strong four-goal performance for Werribee against Port Melbourne on Sunday. Will Sierakowski, a North emergency last round, was also one of Werribee's best players, along with experienced defenders Michael Firrito and Scott McMahon. Brad McKenzie bounced back well after being dropped last round, winning 25 possessions on the wing in North Ballarat's win over Collingwood's VFL team on Sunday, while Liam Anthony (38 possessions) continued his outstanding run of form for the Roosters. - Nick Bowen

Majak Daw put his hand up for senior selection with a four-goal haul in the VFL. Picture: AFL Media

The Power's defence will be boosted by the return of the much-valued Tom Jonas from suspension. Jonas has served his three-week stint on the sidelines and should slip back into the starting line-up. Dom Cassisi is in doubt for the clash against Gold Coast after pulling up from last weekend's game with hamstring tightness. The former skipper had scans on his hamstring on Monday and will be assessed throughout the week. Campbell Heath was sensational in the SANFL (21 disposals, seven rebound 50s, one goal), while Aaron Young (20 possessions, six cleraances) and Jake Neade (16 touches, four inside 50s) also found a bit of the ball. - Harry Thring

Improved midfielder Shane Edwards should be available after missing one match with hamstring tightness. The 24-year-old, who has played every other game this season, will likely replace small forward Robin Nahas. The Tigers have options to ponder at selection after VFL affiliate Coburg beat Bendigo by 74 points at the weekend. Aaron Edwards (seven goals and 23 possessions) was outstanding, while Sam Lonergan racked up 40 possessions, including 16 clearances. Dylan Grimes was strong defensively in his second full VFL match, but he could do with one more week with Coburg to regain his touch. Jake King (hamstring) is expected to return through the VFL this week. - Nathan Schmook

Beau Maister and Sam Gilbert are inching closer to returns from hamstring and knee injuries respectively, although the former has been out since round 11 and the latter round six. In the VFL, Trent Dennis-Lane kicked three goals while Seb Ross had 30 disposals, Sam Dunell 25 and Tom Ledger 22. Nathan Wright racked up 22 while Tom Hickey was good in the first half. - Jennifer Phelan

Swans coach John Longmire put Gary Rohan firmly in the mix this week when he labelled the speedy youngster "a realistic chance" of playing senior football again this season. He may not quite be ready for Sunday's clash with St Kilda, but the fact he is so close to a return is a huge boost to the premiers. Jed Lamb is also in contention for a recall after he was dropped for the returning Ben McGlynn last week. Longmire felt very few of his players could hold their heads up after the defeat to Collingwood, so many will face nervous waits ahead of selection on Thursday. - James Dampney

Mark LeCras is in doubt with some rib cartilege damage from Sunday's win against Essendon. Given he's coming off five goals, it will be a frustration if he misses. Luke Shuey is very close to returning from a hamstring strain but John Worsfold will think very carefully about risking him this week. The Eagles have some experience in the WAFL waiting to come in. Andrew Embley had 24 touches and kicked a goal for Swan Districts, Matt Rosa had 33 possessions and Adam Selwood gathered 27 disposals for East Perth. - Alex Malcolm

West Coast veteran Andrew Embley could be recalled after a strong game in the WAFL. Picture: AFL Media

The Dogs have been fielding a relatively settled side in recent weeks. Their great form, and the fact they didn't sustain any serious injuries during their victory over Carlton on Saturday, means there's unlikely to be many changes for their Sunday twilight clash with Adelaide at Etihad Stadium. Of the players trying to break back into the team, Ayce Cordy kicked two goals for Williamstown last weekend while Lukas Markovic was among the Seagulls' best players. - Adam McNicol
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs