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In the mix: Who's pushing for selection for round nine?

Big Pie Mason Cox, Essendon spearhead Joe Daniher, and lively Eagle Willie Rioli are all in the mix  - AFL,Adelaide Crows,Brisbane Lions,Carlton Blues,Collingwood Magpies,Essendon Bombers,Fremantle Dockers,Geelong Cats,Gold Coast Suns,GWS Giants,Hawthorn Hawks,Melbourne Demons,North Melbourne Kangaroos,Port Adelaide Power,Richmond Tigers,St Kilda Saints,Sydney Swans,West Coast Eagles,Western Bulldogs,News,In the Mix
Big Pie Mason Cox, Essendon spearhead Joe Daniher, and lively Eagle Willie Rioli are all in the mix

Get them in: Utility Bryce Gibbs (back) is expected to be available for Saturday's clash with Brisbane at the Gabba. Winger Paul Seedsman (knee) and veteran Richard Douglas (ankle) are outside chances, but might need a run in the SANFL to build their match fitness. Myles PoholkeChayce JonesNed McHenry and Patrick Wilson will be in the frame if Matt Crouch (hip) can't get up.

Under the pump: Kyle HartiganJordan Gallucci and Riley Knight could be on the outer if Gibbs, Seedsman and Douglas are cleared to return.

Medical room: Crouch failed to finish the Showdown with a hip injury. Gibbs, Seedsman and Douglas will be assessed this week.

Verdict: The Crows will go in unchanged if Crouch is cleared to play. Gibbs to come in if Crouch is ruled out. – Lee Gaskin

Midfielder Bryce Gibbs appears close to a recall for the Crows. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: He was unlucky to be dropped for match-up reasons last week and Josh Walker deserves a recall. Jacob Allison has also been close for a few weeks, and Allen Christensen, Rhys Mathieson and Nick Robertson advanced their cases for a recall with strong NEAFL performances at the weekend.

Under the pump: He was very solid against the Bulldogs, but much like Walker last week, Ryan Lester might be under the spotlight purely for match-up reasons this week.

Medical room: Just minutes into his comeback, Zac Bailey re-injured his hamstring last Saturday. Jarrod Berry copped a knock to the face against the Bulldogs and will be assessed through the week.

Verdict: The Crows have a taller forward line than the Bulldogs, meaning Walker should return, possibly at the expense of an unlucky Lester. With Bailey injured, Allison would provide similar run from the back half. – Michael Whiting

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Get them in: The Blues are hopeful Nic Newman will be fit to play against the Giants, having missed a couple of weeks due to a knee injury. Hugh Goddard might be in line for a club debut due to a defensive injury crisis. The Northern Blues had the VFL bye over the weekend, so no fringe players were able to press their claim for a place in the side.

Under the pump: Injury issues, particularly down back, could mean the only changes for Carlton this week are enforced ones.

Medical room: The Blues have suffered a number of injuries to key defensive players, with Lachie Plowman (fractured cheekbone) and Tom Williamson (back) both set to go out of the team. Kade Simpson (hamstring) and Liam Jones (concussion) are still unlikely to be available, but Newman (knee) should be fit to play.

Verdict: Expect Newman to be the automatic replacement for Williamson, while Goddard is the most likely to come into the team for the hobbled Plowman. - Riley Beveridge

The Blues are hopeful Nic Newman will be fit to take on the Giants this weekend. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Forward/ruckman Mason Cox, star midfielder Dayne Beams and defender James Aish are chances to return against St Kilda at the MCG on Saturday. Top draftee Isaac Quaynor continues to press his claims for an AFL debut while veteran runner Travis Varcoe is another option.

Under the pump: Inside midfielder Rupert Wills played his first AFL game in 21 months against Carlton, but a Beams return would make him vulnerable.

Medical room: Cox (ankle), Beams (hip) and defender Aish (concussion) could return, but runner Chris Mayne (concussion) is in doubt and small forward Josh Thomas (ankle) is also sore.

Verdict: If passed fit, Cox and Beams would likely replace Reid and Wills. - Ben Collins

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Get them in: All eyes will be on how Joe Daniher trains this week after being managed last week. Jordan Ridley (two goals), Kyle Langford (25 disposals) and Dylan Clarke (30) are among the possible inclusions after strong VFL efforts, while they could bring in Michael Hartley as a defender and push Cale Hooker forward if the Bombers want to change things up.

Under the pump: Brayden Ham was very quiet last week with only five disposals in his second game, while Aaron Francis and David Myers had little impact last week against the Swans. If Daniher returns, Zac Clarke is unlikely to hold his spot. 

Medical room: Out goes Orazio Fantasia (calf) with another injury setback, adding to their list of other unavailable forwards Mitch Brown (wrist), Shaun McKernan (hamstring), James Stewart (groin) and possible Daniher. 

Verdict: Daniher should be back after being rested last week and replace Clarke, while they could bring back Mark Baguley for Fantasia. - Callum Twomey

Get them in: He was close to a recall for the loss to Richmond and Connor Blakely's time must surely have arrived, while dumped forward Cam McCarthy, out-of-favour ruckman Sean Darcy and lanky defender Taylin Duman will be among those in the mix to face Essendon despite being unable to push their case due to the state game bye last round.

Under the pump: Changes are likely to come after consecutive losses and the last man in, Brennan Cox, could be back out, while Ethan Hughes might also make way.

Medical room: Griffin Logue is a forgotten man at Freo and might need another game back at WAFL level to press his claims after returning two weeks ago from hamstring issues.

Verdict: Blakely to play his first game since round 13 last year with Hughes the one to make way. - Travis King

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Will Connor Blakely finally earn a recall for his first game since round 13 last year? Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Ruckman Darcy Fort continues to bang down the door. An emergency last week, the 25-year-old booted three goals in the VFL. James Parsons remains in the frame, while Zach Guthrie is the next defender in line.

Under the pump: A late inclusion, Charlie Constable didn't do much wrong, however remains on the fringe. Jordan Clark has pushed onto the wing and may be forced out in coming weeks.

Medical room: Gary Rohan will be monitored for concussion after he was knocked out against the Roos. Tom Atkins' hip hampered his running and will be a watch. Joel Selwood (lower leg) and Sam Menegola (knee) will need to pass fitness tests.

Verdict: If deemed fit, Selwood and Menegola to return for Constable and Rohan. If Gary Ablett needs a rest, then Parsons is the man. - Mitch Cleary

Get them in: Another big win in the NEAFL saw strong performances from midfielder Will Brodie, defender Jesse Joyce and No.6 draft pick Ben King, who kicked three goals.

Under the pump: He's been quiet for a few weeks and Jordan Murdoch had just five disposals against Melbourne and struggled to influence the contest.

Medical room: The Suns will be without speedy forward Sean Lemmens who re-injured his ankle against the Demons. Brayden Fiorini (knee) and Aaron Young (knee) will be tested through the week with the former more likely to be available at this stage.

Verdict: Providing Fiorini is fit, he would come back into the Suns' midfield and maybe push Ben Ainsworth to more of a forward line role to cover for Lemmens. While Murdoch has great attributes with his strong running and powerful kicking, a lockdown defender like Joyce might be more suitable to take on Port's small forwards. – Michael Whiting

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Get them in: The Giants will be hoping club champion Lachie Whitfield (hip/quad) and ruckman Shane Mumford (knee) could be fit to face Carlton on Sunday. Veteran Brett Deledio, Harry Perryman, Jackson Hately and Isaac Cumming are others likely to be looked at after last week's poor showing against Hawthorn.

Under the pump: Forwards Brent Daniels and Daniel Lloyd struggled to have an impact against the Hawks, while Matt Buntine also had a tough day. Dawson Simpson's selection depends on Mumford's availability.

Medical room: Coleman Medal leader Jeremy Cameron has been troubled by a shoulder problem so might not get up to face the Blues, while Zac Langdon (ankle) and Zac Williams (shoulder/head knock) also needed treatment against the Hawks.

Verdict: Star runner Whitfield and the aggressive Mumford will return to give the Giants a boost, along with hard-nut Perryman. The trio replace Buntine, Daniels and Simpson. - Adam Curley

Star ball user Lachie Whitfield will be a massive boost to the Giants. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Former skipper Jarryd Roughead booted five goals after his high-profile demotion. There might be an opening in defence if Jack Scrimshaw doesn't sufficiently recover from the migraine he suffered from in the win over Greater Western Sydney. Conor Glass, David Mirra and untried Changkuoth Jiath were all good performers down back in the VFL.

Under the pump: Jon Ceglar showed plenty against the Giants, including in attack, but do the Hawks need a second ruckman against the Toby Nankervis-less Tigers?

Medical room: Isaac Smith (foot) was a late withdrawal on Sunday but should be right to go this week, while Chad Wingard (hamstring) will also try to prove his fitness. Scrimshaw (migraine) sat out most of the second half against GWS.

Verdict: Smith returns for Ceglar or Harry Morrison and Wingard comes in if he’s fit. Roughead could be part of a Hawthorn plan to stretch Richmond's under-strength defence. - Marc McGowan

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Get them in: With Melbourne being forced into making two changes, Tim Smith (four goals) and Alex Neal-Bullen (carryover emergency) are heading the queue of players to come into the side. Braydon Preuss was best afield against Essendon in the VFL and will be considered, alongside Corey Wagner, Harrison Petty and Tom Sparrow.

Under the pump: Declan Keilty has been OK in his opening two AFL games, but Preuss is putting pressure on to make his return. Petty could also come into contention if the Demons lose patience with Oscar McDonald.

Medical room: Michael Hibberd (collarbone) and Jake Melksham (foot) have already been ruled out. Jordan Lewis (ankle) barely did anything at training on Tuesday and the Demons will need to see more from him late in the week if he's any chance of getting up off a six-day break.

Verdict: Smith for Melksham, Neal-Bullen for Hibberd and Preuss for Keilty. – Ben Guthrie

Get them in:  Nathan Hrovat (six goals) continues to fight hard for a senior spot, while Aaron Hall, Paul Ahern and Luke Davies-Uniacke won plenty of the Sherrin. Defensive midfielder Kyron Hayden will get his shot soon.

Under the pump:  Curtis Taylor and Sam Durdin will struggle to hold their spots with key personnel likely to be fit again. Either way, Durdin is set to miss through suspension.

Medical room: None of defenders Luke McDonald (knee), Marley Williams (managed) or Scott Thompson (adductor) played last weekend. Ben McKay (quad) and Tom Murphy (ankle) also missed out on VFL duty. Bailey Scott (concussion) and Dom Tyson (calf) were others who were unavailable.

Verdict: Thompson, Williams and McDonald return, assuming they're all fit, for Durdin, Taylor and Sam Wright. - Marc McGowan

 

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Get them in: Star forward Robbie Gray is a chance to return from a broken hand for Sunday's match with Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval. Defender Riley Bonner looms as the replacement for the injured Ryan Burton, youngster Zak Butters got a much-needed rest last week and forward/ruck Billy Frampton could add a target up forward.

Under the pump: Tall forward Todd Marshall didn't hit the scoreboard in Showdown 46. Forwards Kane Farrell and Aidyn Johnson, midfielder Karl Amon and utility Steven Motlop – who played in defence – were quiet.

Medical room: Burton will miss up to a month with a hamstring injury. Brad Ebert could miss another game with concussion and co-captain Tom Jonas (calf) is out again.

Verdict: Bonner will come in for Burton. Gray – pending a fitness test – replaces Johnson. Butters replaces Marshall, with defender Dougal Howard to play as a key forward. - Lee Gaskin

Robbie Gray could make an earlier-than-expected return to the field. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Father-son selection Patrick Naish is knocking the door down to make his debut, finishing with 29 disposals and four goals while playing on the wing in the VFL. Draftee Riley Collier-Dawkins is another building strong VFL form, while Dan Butler was the travelling emergency and didn't play VFL.

Under the pump: Richmond is so injury-ravaged at the minute, it's unlikely anyone will make way due to a lack of form. Connor Menadue could once again be the unlucky one to give way for Nick Vlastuin, despite showing poise playing further up the ground. Damien Hardwick has indicated Ryan Garthwaite will now have a run in the ones.

Medical room: Yet another brutal week on the injury front for the Tigers, with Toby Nankervis (adductor) and Jack Ross (ankle) set for long stints on the sidelines. In better news, Vlastuin (ankle) and Daniel Rioli (soreness) are likely to return.

Verdict: It's Ivan Soldo time, with the big man set to add to his eight games by coming in for Nankervis. Rioli for Ross (and some switching of the magnets with Jack Higgins and Liam Baker set to spend more time in the middle), while Menadue may be desperately unlucky to miss for Vlastuin – Sarah Black

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Get them in: It was no surprise to see Hunter Clark star with 28 disposals for Sandringham, while Jonathon Marsh was dominant down back. With kicking a problem for the Saints, Brandon White and Nick Hind continue to shine. Robbie Young offered pressure and snapped a brilliant goal.

Under the pump: Up forward, Ben Long is likely to be dropped, while Matt Parker is hanging on to his spot. 

Medical room: Wingman Jack Newnes missed the main training session last week and was quiet in the loss to West Coast last Saturday. The Saints will want him in better nick against Collingwood. Jimmy Webster has a sore left hand but he should be right. 

Verdict: Young to debut in place of Long. - Dinny Navaratnam

Robbie Young is expected to make his debut against Collingwood. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Superstar forward Lance Franklin is a chance to face North Melbourne after missing three games with a hamstring strain. Daniel Menzel kicked three goals in his first game for the Swans in the NEAFL, while Ryan Clarke (42 possessions and 11 tackles) and James Rowbottom (27 disposals, 11 clearances, nine inside 50s and two goals) were dominant midfielders.

Under the pump: After a stirring win over the Bombers last week there are unlikely to be any unforced changes, but Isaac Heeney and Tom Papley might need a break after playing sore in recent weeks.

Medical room: Sam Reid (hip flexor) and Kieren Jack (head knock) both spent time off the ground against Essendon but should be fit for the Kangaroos clash.

Verdict: Franklin will get close again but a night game in Tassie doesn't provide great conditions for a veteran coming off a hammy. No change. - Adam Curley

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Get them in: The Eagles face some interesting selection calls, with goalsneak Willie Rioli (foot) and ruckman Tom Hickey (hamstring) pushing to return against Melbourne on Friday night. 

Under the pump: Nathan Vardy produced a solid effort leading the ruck against St Kilda but still might make way for Hickey, whose form was excellent before his two week spell on the sidelines. 

Medical room: There is a watch on defender Will Schofield who copped a heavy knock early against St Kilda and has only six days to prove he is fit.

Verdict: Hickey replacing Vardy and Rioli into the side, potentially sending Oscar Allen to defence if Schofield misses. - Travis King

Eagles goalsneak Willie Rioli is in line for a return to the line-up. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: While Hawthorn forward Jarryd Roughead took the spotlight for Box Hill, Bailey Williams led the way for Footscray with 31 disposals and nine marks in a draw between the VFL sides at the MCG. Forward Tory Dickson was omitted from the senior team and rediscovered form, kicking three goals.

Under the pump: The form of Williams and Dickson asks questions of forward Billy Gowers and defenders Fletcher Roberts and Lachie Young. Roberts was a late inclusion for ruckman Tim English against Brisbane at Mars Stadium in Ballarat, prompting a move into the middle for Jackson Trengove.

Medical room: English was rested due to soreness and needs to get through training unscathed to be selected. Lin Jong is expected to play at VFL level after missing three weeks from surgery to remove his appendix. Otherwise it's a largely clean bill of health at Whitten Oval.

Verdict: English back in to replace fill-in Roberts, Williams might have done enough to nudge Young. Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has found a settled line-up. – Paul Bastin

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs