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In the mix: Who's pushing for selection in round 18?

Taylor Adams, Shaun Higgins and Jesse Hogan are all chances to return from injury this week - 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
Taylor Adams, Shaun Higgins and Jesse Hogan are all chances to return from injury this week

Get them in: Veteran Bryce Gibbs had a team-high 25 disposals for the Crows in their 30-point SANFL loss to Port Adelaide. Jordan Gallucci had 18 touches after he was dropped and Richard Douglas and Ben Davis were carry-over emergencies on the Gold Coast.

Under the pump: The Crows look pretty settled after their emphatic victory over the Suns.

Medical room: Forward Tom Lynch is unlikely to return this week from a calf injury, while midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen is another week away.

Verdict: The Crows will be unchanged to face Essendon at Adelaide Oval on Friday night. – Lee Gaskin

Could Bryce Gibbs get yet another recall after a rollercoaster year? Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Veteran Luke Hodge had the feet up for a rest last week but is ready to return against North Melbourne. The NEAFL team had a bye at the weekend.

Under the pump: Only two matches in, and he was part of a strong back-seven against Port Adelaide, but Marcus Adams is still finding his feet. Zac Bailey is also struggling a touch.

Medical room: Classy midfielder Hugh McCluggage (hamstring) and tall forward Eric Hipwood (knee) both have to pass tests but are a chance to play after missing last weekend.

Verdict: A lot will depend on the fitness of McCluggage and Hipwood. If they're available, it would come at the expense of either Bailey or the unlucky Ben Keays to cover McCluggage and Josh Walker for McCluggage, who both performed admirably against Port. Hodge's return will mean either Adams or Ryan Lester will have to make way, depending on defensive match-ups. – Michael Whiting

Veteran Luke Hodge will return to shore up the Lions' backline. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: The Blues have had success in going small in their forward line recently, but do they consider 203cm option Tom De Koning this week? The youngster had 17 disposals, 29 hitouts and seven marks in the Northern Blues' victory over the weekend.

Under the pump: It was a quiet afternoon for Darcy Lang on Saturday, who had just six disposals. Matthew Kennedy and Paddy Dow were also well held in the forward line, but have looked lively recently and should keep their spots in the team.

Medical room: The Blues will hope Jacob Weitering will return from a broken nose, but they will likely lose fellow defender Hugh Goddard to a fractured cheekbone. David Cuningham will face a fitness test later in the week as he recovers from a knee injury.

Verdict: Expect two changes, with Cuningham and Weitering to replace Lang and Goddard.

The Blues should have Jacob Weitering back on his feet this week. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Star duo Taylor Adams and Jeremy Howe seem certain starters against Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium on Saturday. Defenders Matt Scharenberg and Tyson Goldsack were good in the VFL, while runners Tyler Brown and Josh Daicos could also be in contention.

Under the pump: Forward/wingman Ben Crocker was elevated for his first AFL game of the season but struggled to adapt to the increased tempo in the win over West Coast in Perth.

Medical room: Howe (calf) is ready to return but skipper Scott Pendlebury (broken finger) is only a slight chance and key defender Darcy Moore (hamstring) will miss multiple games. James Aish (shoulder) is also sore.

Verdict: Adams, Howe and Brown/Daicos for Pendlebury, Moore and Crocker. - Ben Collins

Taylor Adams is finally ready to return to the senior side. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Dyson Heppell would be a welcome addition to the midfield after missing the past two weeks with a foot injury. Patrick Ambrose will also be looking to return from a quad injury when the Bombers face Adelaide on Friday night. Josh Begley (three goals), and defenders Michael Hartley and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher are a chance for a senior call-up too.

Under the pump: Orazio Fantasia is struggling to find form, and only picked up five disposals last week, but they won't drop him. If Heppell returns, then the Bombers could omit Kyle Langford, who came in for him two weeks ago. 

Medical room: The Bombers lose Michael Hurley, potentially for the rest of the season, to a shoulder injury. He'll be a hard player to replace for the Bombers in the back half. 

Verdict: It's hard to see more than two changes made this week after last week's win over North. The Bombers will be hoping to be able to recall Ambrose and Heppell to bolster their side in an important meeting with the Crows. - Callum Twomey

Will Bombers skipper Heppell return? Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Spearhead Jesse Hogan could be a massive inclusion against Sydney after a month out with a foot sprain. It remains to be seen if veteran ruckman Aaron Sandilands is recalled, while small forward Lachie Schultz might return after 22 touches and two goals in the WAFL.

Under the pump: Recruit Travis Colyer hasn't hit his straps in two games back and will be feeling the heat, and tackling machine Sam Switkowski, who has four goals from 13 games, might make way if Ross Lyon wants more firepower. 

Medical room: Hogan should be back and it will be interesting to see how Sandilands pulled up from his first game back in a year in the Western Derby. 

Verdict: Hogan for Colyer. Griffin Logue was stiff to be dropped and he or Taylin Duman might come in to offer more height down back. - Travis King

Hogan would be a huge in for the Dockers. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Lachie Fogarty (26 disposals) responded strongly to being dropped, while James Parsons (24) appears the next midfielder/forward in line. Carryover emergencies Ryan Abbott and Zach Guthrie are in the frame, while Zac Smith continues to put his hand up in the VFL.

Under the pump: Rhys Stanley was beaten around the ground by Rowan Marshall last week and the Cats' back-up ruckmen keep applying pressure. Tom Atkins also has a few chasing at his heels for a small forward role.

Medical room: Gary Ablett will be a watch this week after pulling up sore with his hip. Jack Henry is expected to fulfill his planned rest that was put on hold to replace Jake Kolodjashnij from concussion.

Verdict: Kolodjashnij for Henry. Parsons to return should Ablett miss.  – Mitch Cleary

Jake Kolodjashnij is a likely return to defence ... or maybe on the wing? Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: As coach Stuart Dew said, there's not many "knocking the door down" in the NEAFL, but Corey Ellis has been solid, while George Horlin-Smith has also strung some nice weeks together. Draftee Jez McLennan is also a chance.

Under the pump: It might be quicker to list "who's safe?" after the past fortnight. Jesse Joyce and Jacob Heron battled in defence, Ben King looks tired, Brad Scheer struggled to impact and Brayden Fiorini would love to produce more (although his position is well and truly safe).

Medical room: No relief coming here, although in a win of sorts for Gold Coast, no new faces either.

Verdict: Dew doesn't have a lot of options to turn to for Saturday's match against Carlton, but Horlin-Smith returning for the suspended Anthony Miles would allow Will Brodie to play more pure midfield minutes. It's time to debut McLennan and return Ellis at the expense of Joyce and Heron. – Michael Whiting

No.23 draft pick Jez McLennan could make his debut this weekend against Carlton. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Ruckman Shane Mumford (knee) could be ready to resume after missing the past two games, while Zac Langdon (ankle) might also be fit after missing the loss to Richmond. Forward Jeremy Finlayson was dropped last week and travelled to Melbourne as the emergency. Young midfielders Aiden Bonar, Jackson Hately, Jye Caldwell and Nick Shipley will be considered to replace injured star Stephen Coniglio.

Under the pump: Matt Buntine couldn't repeat the outstanding job he did on Tigers gun Nick Vlastuin earlier in the year as a defensive forward and might struggle to hold his place this week.

Medical room: Coniglio will have knee surgery on Tuesday and is expected to miss the rest of the home and away season at least, facing a huge task to get back at all.

Verdict: Mumford will be a massive inclusion at the expense of Dawson Simpson, while Bonar and Finlayson also come in, for Buntine and Coniglio. – Adam Curley

The Giants walk taller when Shane Mumford's around. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: Midfielder James Cousins again won plenty of the Sherrin in the VFL, while defenders Kaiden Brand and David Mirra are usually around the mark.

Under the pump: The player who seems the most vulnerable with Jack Gunston's impending return is Conor Nash.

Medical room: The Hawks gave Gunston (leg) last week off after an extended period of soreness, but he is available to return. Jon Ceglar (managed) is also ready to go. However, promising second-year midfielder Harry Jones' season is over because of a PCL injury sustained playing for Box Hill. Jack Scrimshaw (knee), who last played in round 10, and Dylan Moore (groin) will miss at least another fortnight. Harry Morrison was unable to finish the match for Box Hill and Jackson Ross didn't play at all.

Verdict: Gunston in for Nash. – Marc McGowan

Jack Gunston appears likely to return after missing last week. Picture: AFL Photos 

Get them in: Corey Wagner (30 touches, 10 tackles and two goals) was named Casey's best in the VFL last week. Jay Kennedy Harris (31) and Oscar McDonald (17 and six marks) also continue to push for a senior recall.

Under the pump: Mitch Hannan had just three disposals and one tackle, while mid-season recruit Kyle Dunkley was also quiet with five touches (although he did kick a goal over brother Josh).

Medical room: A few bumps and bruises from the loss to the Bulldogs, with Angus Brayshaw (corked buttock), James Harmes (hip) and Braydon Preuss (winded) all spending time off the ground, but nothing too serious.

Verdict: Hannan may survive given his marking presence up forward is needed, but Dunkley could make way for Corey Wagner. - Sarah Black

Kyle Dunkley might be squeezed out despite kicking his first career goal last week. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: The Roos recalled Jy Simpkin after just one VFL game when he was demoted, and Luke Davies-Uniacke (31 disposals, 11 tackles) might have a similar experience. Sam Durdin and Sam Wright will be eyeing Luke McDonald's defensive spot.

Under the pump: Second-gamer Curtis Taylor struggled to make an impact against Essendon, while Paul Ahern hasn't grabbed his latest chance and Nathan Hrovat is always borderline.

Medical room: Higgins (AC joint) is pushing hard to return after last playing almost six weeks ago, and late withdrawal Mason Wood (quad) is a strong contender to return. However, Luke McDonald's season is over because of a fracture near his right ankle, while Nick Larkey again suffered from heart palpitations late in North's loss to Essendon. Meanwhile, Majak Daw (hips/pelvis) played a half in his second VFL game back, and Tom Wilkinson (ankle) returned.

Verdict: Will Higgins and Wood be fit? Is Larkey OK? Will the Roos replace McDonald with a defender or just reshuffle? Assuming everyone's fit: Higgins, Wood and Wright for Ahern, Taylor and McDonald. Possibly one more week in the VFL for LDU, or the Roos send Hrovat back to the state league. - Marc McGowan

Shaun Higgins would be a welcome return for the Roos. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Dan Houston, Xavier Duursma, Matthew Broadbent and Willem Drew are among the possible inclusions for the Power's crunch clash with Richmond at the MCG on Saturday. Houston missed the 48-point loss to Brisbane with a virus. Broadbent had 38 touches in Port's 30-point SANFL win over Adelaide, Drew had 24 disposals and Duursma was unlucky to be dropped. Defender Jarrod Lienert and forward Todd Marshall could also be in the frame.

Under the pump: Cam Sutcliffe's tagging role on Lachie Neale backfired, while first-year livewire Zak Butters might need a rest.

Medical room: Ryan Burton (hamstring) and Brad Ebert (knee) will be sidelined, while Ollie Wines is doubtful with a fractured thumb.

Verdict: Four changes – Burton, Ebert, Wines and Sutcliffe out of the side, replaced by Houston, Duursma, Broadbent and Drew. - Lee Gaskin

Xavier Duursma could return after being a surprise omission. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: After failing to win his spot back, Josh Caddy (26 disposals, two goals) was named Richmond's best in the VFL. A growing group of small forwards are being kept out of the side, including Liam Baker, Jack Higgins and Dan Butler, with Baker the best-performed of the trio. Unlucky omittee Jack Graham was a carryover emergency and didn't play at either level.

Under the pump: Young defender Derek Eggmolesse-Smith fumbled at times during his second match (and first at the MCG). Mabior Chol played just 48 per cent game time in wet conditions, but other than that, it was a strong team performance.

Medical room: No new injuries at either level, with Toby Nankervis still a couple of weeks away.

Verdict: Just the one change, with Caddy in for Eggmolesse-Smith, and Shane Edwards to move back. - Sarah Black

Caddy starred for the Tigers in the twos. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Continuing his excellent VFL form, Brandon White had 23 disposals, while Jonathon Marsh had 19 and booted a goal. Rookie Doulton Langlands collected 22 disposals and laid seven tackles.

Under the pump: After a competitive performance against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, there are unlikely to be many changes, although interim coach Brett Ratten might seek to make his mark.

Medical room: The Saints will hope Dan Hannebery can overcome a hamstring issue.

Verdict: An unchanged 22 to face the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Sunday. - Dinny Navaratnam

Dan Hannebery might need a second week to overcome his hamstring injury. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Midfielder Ryan Clarke (41) and defender Ryley Stoddart (29) shared 70 possessions between them in last week's NEAFL win over Southport, while Robbie Fox and James Rose also found plenty of the footy. Young ruck options Michael Knoll and Joel Amartey were solid, and both will be heavily considered for the trip to Perth to take on Fremantle.

Under the pump: In-form defender Jordan Dawson has been suspended so will miss the Dockers clash, while forwards Kieren Jack, Ben Ronke and Will Hayward struggled to have an impact in last week's loss to Carlton.

Medical room: Superstar forward Lance Franklin (hamstring) will miss at least another 2-3 matches, with Callum Sinclair (shoulder) also not close to returning. Veteran Jarrad McVeigh will miss a month after suffering a calf strain in his comeback game in the NEAFL.

Verdict: Stoddart comes in for the suspended Dawson across half back, with Fox recalled in place of Ronke. The midfielder will play as an undersized ruckman with help from Sam Reid, which allows Aliir Aliir to play in his preferred position as a rebounding defender. – Adam Curley

Robbie Fox may not win a lot of taps but he can give the Swans better balance. Picture: AFL Photos


Get them in: With hard-working forward Jamie Cripps (adductor) set for a stint on the sidelines, Jake Waterman (six goals, 25 disposals) and Jack Petruccelle (five goals) put their hands up for his spot against Melbourne. The Eagles' defence was all at sea early against Collingwood, and lockdown backman Will Schofield might be reconsidered.

Under the pump: West Coast is fairly settled apart from injuries, but Jackson Nelson could make way for Schofield.

Medical room: With Nic Naitanui (ankle) out for an extended period the Eagles are likely to turn to mature recruit Keegan Brooksby to support Tom Hickey against Demons duo Max Gawn and Braydon Preuss.

Verdict: Petruccelle and Schofield for Cripps and Nelson, with ex-Suns big man Brooksby to debut in place of Naitanui.  - Travis King

Petruccelle kicked five goals in the WAFL. Picture: AFL Photos

Get them in: Father-son prospect Rhylee West was among the best afield in Footscray's seven-point win over Casey at the weekend. He attended plenty of centre bounces and finished with 23 disposals and five tackles. Veteran defender Dale Morris, with his right knee heavily strapped, was solid and with three games under his belt, is getting close to an AFL return. Bailey Dale was everywhere in the first half with 14 disposals and two goals but sat out the second half.  

Under the pump: Three straight wins for the Doggies means it's going to be hard to drop anyone, even with some stars ready to return. The forward line cops some criticism but you cannot doubt its consistency, the Bulldogs have kicked exactly 10 goals in their past four matches.

Medical room: Toby McLean is looking at some time on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring against the Demons and Marcus Bontempelli is in doubt after injuring a ligament in his left ankle in the second quarter. Mitch Wallis is set for ankle surgery after an unsuccessful return in the VFL. Coach Luke Beveridge said post-game that Tom Liberatore (knee) and Caleb Daniel (hamstring) could both be available this week, with Liberatore the more likely of the two.

Verdict: Liberatore will come in to replace the injured McLean. If Bontempelli doesn't get up, we could see a debut for West. – Josh Schonafinger

Mitch Wallis will undergo ankle surgery and will be sidelined indefinitely. Picture: AFL Photos