Main content

In the mix: Who's a chance for round nine?

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 16:  Dayne Beams of the Lions kicks during the round four AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Richmond Tigers at The Gabba on April 16, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images/AFL Media)
The struggling Lions could do with Dayne Beams' skill in the midfield

Defender Jake Lever and midfielder/forward Riley Knight are set to return to take on the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday night. Lever missed last weekend's 41-point loss to Melbourne with hamstring tightness, while Knight was ruled out with a glute injury. Adelaide's SANFL team had a bye last weekend. Midfielder Scott Thompson could play his first AFL game of the season to add more muscle to the Crows' midfield. The 34-year-old, a veteran of 307 games over 17 seasons, had an interrupted pre-season with shoulder, calf and adductor injuries, but has regained match fitness with two games in the state league. Former under-19 Australian basketball representative Hugh Greenwood, third-year midfielder Harrison Wigg and draftees Myles Poholke and Jordan Gallucci will be in consideration for a senior debut. Defender Kyle Cheney is expected to play his first game of the season this weekend after a hamstring injury, but will come through the SANFL before returning to the senior side. - Lee Gaskin

After seven straight losses, the Lions are sweating on the fitness of skipper Dayne Beams ahead of Saturday's match against Adelaide at the Gabba. Beams has missed the past two weeks with a quad strain and is touch-and-go to return against the Crows. Vice-captain Tom Rockliff dislocated his shoulder against Hawthorn on Saturday and is still awaiting scan results. After travelling twice in the past fortnight, coach Chris Fagan might be looking to make some changes, with No.3 draft pick Hugh McCluggage likely to return after being rested for a week. Young midfield bull Rhys Mathieson has been impressive in the NEAFL, as has Ryan Bastinac if Fagan's looking for some experience. - Michael Whiting

Versatile key position player Kristian Jaksch is pressing hard for senior selection after a five-goal haul for the Northern Blues in their win against the Casey Demons last Sunday. Jaksch, who is one of 27 Carlton players uncontracted beyond 2017, last played in the AFL in round 17 last season. Liam Sumner, another out of contract at the end of this year, picked up 14 disposals and booted three goals. Sam Kerridge, omitted from last Saturday’s team against St Kilda, was again the major ball-winner with 28 disposals and 12 marks. Cameron Polson also impressed, booting two opportunist goals. - Howard Kotton

Another ex-Giant, Kristian Jaksch, could get the call up for the Blues. Picture: AFL Photos

Gun midfielder Adam Treloar is highly likely to return from an ankle injury and fellow speedster Travis Varcoe remains a possibility to overcome his hamstring issue for the clash with Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday night. With swingman Ben Reid sidelined for up to a month after playing in attack in the loss to Greater Western Sydney, Mason Cox looms as a replacement given the big American bagged 4.2 from 15 touches and eight marks in a VFL loss to Werribee. Defender Matthew Scharenberg appears primed for promotion after amassing 34 touches for the second week running in the reserves. Former Docker Chris Mayne and young forward Ben Crocker (13 kicks, seven marks and two goals) are also potential options. Others to press senior claims in the VFL included Jackson Ramsay (25 touches) and Josh Thomas (30 touches, eight clearances and a goal, while father-son prospect Callum Brown (31 possessions, 10 clearances, seven tackles and a goal) is edging towards his AFL debut. - Ben Collins

After plenty of changes in recent weeks it might be a good time to settle Essendon's team following its impressive win over Geelong. But that's not to say there won't be a number of players who will be in contention for the Bombers after an impressive win in the VFL. Tom Bellchambers showed his ability to go forward with three goals, Craig Bird continued his run of form with 37 disposals, and Ben McNiece put up his name for a recall with 28 disposals across half-back. Veteran Brent Stanton also had 24 touches. Others such as Kyle Langford, Aaron Francis, Ben Howlett, Heath Hocking and Jackson Merrett may also come under consideration. - Callum Twomey

It will be hard to wipe the smiles off the Dockers' faces this week and the mood could be buoyed further if stars Stephen Hill and Hayden Ballantyne are ticked-off to return in round nine. Hill has missed the past three games with a hamstring strain but should be close to resuming against Carlton this Sunday – 29 days after suffering his injury – in a major boost. Whether Ballantyne returns this week, and if he would step straight back into the AFL side, remains to be seen coming back from hamstring tendon surgery, but the goalsneak is back sprinting and won't be far away. First-year midfielder Harley Balic missed the Tigers win due to illness and could stick up his hand, while Tommy Sheridan racked up 34 touches with six tackles from a wing in Peel's win on Saturday and looms as the most likely contender from the WAFL to push for a spot. - Travis King

Hayden Ballantyne is back in the selection mix for the in-form Dockers. Picture: AFL Photos

To some extent its slim pickings, making any desire to swing the axe after three straight losses difficult to do. Scott Selwood had 21 touches and, importantly, 10 tackles in his fourth game back in the VFL and should find a spot in the team. Lachie Henderson is set to return after being close to playing against Essendon following a knock to the ribs that forced him to miss two games. Jackson Thurlow might need more time in the VFL as he tries to find his feet on his return from a knee reconstruction, while Tom Ruggles is an option to play as a small defender if Jed Bews loses his spot. Ruggles does provide some nastiness though, which Geelong lacks at times. Darcy Lang was quiet in the VFL, while a punt could be taken on the yet-to-debut Jordan Cunico despite him being just OK on the weekend. - Peter Ryan

The Suns have a bye after their trip to Shanghai.

With another long-term injury for Stephen Coniglio, and Aidan Corr and Sam Reid under a concussion cloud, Leon Cameron could be forced to make multiple changes again this week. The positive news is that 2016 club champion and All Australian forward Toby Greene returns from his two-game suspension to face Richmond at Spotless Stadium, and adds immediate star power to the line up. Midfielders Harry Perryman and Matt de Boer continued their impressive form in the NEAFL last week, combining for 76 possessions, 11 tackles and two goals despite the Giants' big loss to Aspley. The pair have been emergencies for the past few weeks and could be rewarded, with de Boer's experience sure to count in his favour, with GWS missing plenty of their best 22. Matt Kennedy had a solid game after being dropped for round eight, and gives Cameron another onballer to choose from for the clash with the Tigers. - Adam Curley

Thanks to the carnage on the injury front, Hawthorn’s selection committee meeting this week will be long and complicated. The fall-out from the 38-point win over the Brisbane Lions on Saturday was huge with Cyril Rioli, Ben Stratton and James Frawley all suffering medium-term injuries and Jack Fitzpatrick another concussion. That makes at least four changes for the Saturday night MCG clash with Collingwood. The Hawks held Kaiden Brand out of the VFL last Sunday so he figures to return to the backline to replace Frawley, but the rest of the changes aren’t as straightforward. The Pies don't have a stack of key defenders so the Hawks might not necessarily bring back Ty Vickery and instead look to add more medium-sized players to go with the deep and talented Collingwood midfield. Taylor Duryea, Kade Stewart and Brendan Whitecross are in the selection frame, while a name to watch this week is James Cousins, an inside midfielder from the rookie list who has been starring for the unbeaten Box Hill Hawks. Does James Sicily get a reprieve after a week in the VFL? Where is Ryan Schoenmakers at? The Hawks could place Rioli on the long-term injury list and upgrade Cousins. None of Jaeger O’Meara, Grant Birchall, Teia Miles will be returning any time soon. Complicating selection at the Hawks is that after this week they have consecutive six-day breaks with trips to play Sydney at the SCG and Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval. - Ashley Browne

With a vast injury list, the Hawks may not be able to hold back Taylor Duryea. Picture: AFL Photos

Star forward Jesse Hogan will be unavailable for selection for an indefinite period following his cancer diagnosis, leaving the Demons to rely on a makeshift forward line that performed superbly in the club's 41-point win over the Crows. Emerging defender Jayden Hunt suffered a concussion against Adelaide and will be monitored carefully during the week before a decision is made on whether he will be fit to face North Melbourne. If he is not cleared following the concussion protocol, Alex Neal-Bullen and James Harmes will be in line for a recall after performing strongly for Casey in the VFL. Neal-Bullen racked up 35 disposals and kicked a goal, while Harmes had 41 touches and was named Casey's best player in a 55-point loss. Jake Melksham is available for selection after serving his one-week suspension by the VFL tribunal and could also be considered by Simon Goodwin and his match committee. – Ben Guthrie

Coach Brad Scott has already forecast changes in reaction to the midfield beatdown Sydney meted out to the Kangaroos on Sunday night. Whether that means a recall for former captain Andrew Swallow remains to be seen. Declan Mountford was held out of the VFL at the weekend as the first AFL emergency and appears to be the first midfield cab off the rank. Mitch Hibberd might also come into calculations, but tagger Ben Jacobs is likely to spend some time regaining match fitness in the VFL. First-round draft pick Jy Simpkin (shoulder) will miss, in an unfortunate setback for the teenager. There could be mass turnover, with Jarrad Waite certain to return from suspension – probably at Sam Durdin's expense – and Aaron Mullett (broken hand) and Taylor Garner (hamstring tightness) should be fit, too. Cult ruckman Braydon Preuss is perennially in the selection mix, depending on North's preference for tall timber. - Marc McGowan

The Power have a bye after their trip to Shanghai.

After an extra week of recovery with hamstring soreness, recruit Dion Prestia is expected to return against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday to bolster a flagging midfield. Coach Damien Hardwick forecast changes after an 0-3 run and there should be multiple moves following a lacklustre three quarters against Fremantle. In line for promotion from the VFL are midfielder Anthony Miles (29 possessions) and forward Sam Lloyd (three goals), while half-forward Ben Lennon is available after being held over as a senior emergency last week. Jacob Townsend returned impressively from an eye injury and could be called on for his first senior game this season. - Nathan Schmook

Trent Cotchin will get some help in the engine room with Dion Prestia's return. Picture: AFL Photos

Young forward Paddy McCartin couldn't have done much more to demand a spot in the senior side. He was dominant in a four-goal effort for Sandringham last Sunday, which also included 18 disposals and 13 marks, and has performed well in his five-week stint in the VFL. Meanwhile, with in-form defender Jimmy Webster having broken his right hand against Carlton last week, a few backmen will be in line to play. Shane Savage picked up 33 disposals while Daniel McKenzie had 26 against Coburg. Another couple of youngsters will likely be discussed – Bailey Rice has impressed this season while Brandon White made his debut in round 23 last year and looks like he will be a good player. – Dinny Navaratnam

After two straight wins it seems unlikely that John Longmire will be swinging the changes this week, but for the first time all season he has plenty of options to choose from. Kurt Tippett (hip) and Gary Rohan (concussion) dominated their return through the NEAFL with four goals apiece, with the ruckman adding 23 possessions in the Swans' one-sided win over Canberra, while Dan Robinson (collarbone) also made a fantastic return from his injury to collect 26 disposals and boot three goals. Aliir Aliir and Jeremy Laidler both had 21 touches to push their case for a recall in defence, while youngster Jordan Dawson had a day out with 40 possessions, eight tackles and two goals. All Australian backman Dane Rampe (arm) will put his arm to the test on the track this week in a bid to prove his fitness, and Oliver Florent (rested), who was a late out for last week's win over North Melbourne, will also be looked at for this week's clash with St Kilda. - Adam Curley

The Eagles' injury list is dwindling and, for the first time since breaking his hand in round one, Drew Petrie could be back in action this weekend. The veteran might be forced to return via East Perth given Fraser McInnes' impressive effort playing forward-ruck against the Western Bulldogs, however pressure forward Jamie Cripps is almost certain to walk straight back into the 22 if his rapid recovery from a nasty ankle injury is given the all-clear ahead of the clash with Essendon. Dashing young defender Jackson Nelson could also make his comeback from a broken wrist. Mark Hutchings responded well to being dropped by helping himself to 31 touches and laying 10 tackles in East Perth's rout of East Fremantle, while Malcolm Karpany kept his name in the mix with two goals from 19 touches. - Travis King

The Eagles could be boosted by Drew Petrie's experience against Essendon. Picture: AFL Photos

The reigning premiers could welcome back Dale Morris (leg), Travis Cloke (ribs) and Jordan Roughead (hamstring) for Friday night's clash with Geelong at Simonds Stadium. The important trio just needs to train this week to be available for selection. Skipper Robert Murphy,  who was rested for the loss to West Coast, will return. Mitch Wallis has proved he's over his broken leg, with the midfielder breaking the 25-possession barrier for the third straight in the VFL. Goal sneak Tory Dickson, who was rested last week from all levels of football, is also a chance to play his first game of the year after an injury plagued pre-season. With a host of guns set to resume, it appears talented youngsters Bailey Dale, Bailey Williams and Lukas Webb are likely to be the unlucky ones to make way. - Ryan Davidson